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2006: The year of broadband, PSP and PS3

Were we on the money?

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2006 in review Just over a year ago, Faultline made some of what we described as outlandish predictions. Partly this was tongue in cheek because we hear so many predictions from research outfits that appear ludicrous, and partly these were trends we were genuinely expecting. Some of them weren't particularly outlandish, so we admit they were safe bets.

Anyway, let's look back and see if any of them came up trumps.

The first was that the rate of global broadband installations would accelerate in real numbers, and they have, but we have yet to see any real effects from municipal wireless efforts, wireless broadband or powerline, although interestingly this week Paris has cleared the way for powerline broadband installations in the coming year.

We said broadband would accelerate to at least 280 million before growth in real numbers would begin to tail off. Well, we're approaching that number and could reach it at the end of this year, but installations are set to continue rising.

Our latest projections suggest that ADSL broadband lines will grow by around 46 million, and cable subs by 10 million, perhaps one million in total less than last year, but then again this year wireless and powerline will make a difference, and mobile broadband is beginning to become a reality.

Our second prediction was that mobile TV takeup would be monstrously huge wherever it is launched. We should have qualified that one a bit. What we meant was that where it was launched at Quarter sized VGA or better, with decent frame rates, it would be huge. To be fair in order to make that prediction right we would have had to qualify it far more.

Mobile TV takeup in Germany and the UK has not been strong. The only German system working has too few channels and uses T-DMB, while the UK uses DAB IP in its BT run Movio system and the picture is so poor as to be unwatchable.

Korea has two competing systems, and this has caused a lot of development issues, and the only two countries with huge growth have been Italy, which is on track to have 500,000 customers after six months, and Japan, which has an inferior technology which has been around for a while now.

Finland and Vietnam are about to come onstream, and during 2007 the US, France, and Germany will launch DVB-H systems and China may launch something. So we should repeat this highly qualified prediction for next year.

We also said that usage rates in the countries that get mobile broadcast TV will rise slowly, but achieve something like 20 minutes a day, up from 20 minutes a month now. They are already at this level and rising.

Predicting that big flat TV sales would double in volume, with LCD increasingly taking the mantle from plasma, was a "no brainer" and this has more than happened in 2006.

However, there has been no arrival of the ephemeral SED or similar advanced technologies at the top end and it now looks like LCD TVs are getting ready to drive up past the 50 inch level and dominate even more of the market. We also said prices would erode by around 35 per cent and perhaps faster during 2007, which is more or less on track.

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