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PVRs selling like hotcakes

Use of personal video recorder services grew more than 150 percent in 2004, study says.

The number of households subscribing to personal video recording services has grown to 9.2 million, up about 155 percent from a year ago, according to a new study from In-Stat.

In May 2004, only 3.6 million households worldwide had access to a PVR service. This phenomenal increase in PVR households has benefited service providers such as TiVo and EchoStar.

According to the market researcher, hardware vendors had a windfall in 2004, with shipment volume jumping to 11.4 million units, up from 4.6 million pieces sold in the previous year. The phenomenal growth, a result of increasing awareness about time-shifting television programming, resulted in PVR revenue more than doubling to $4.3 billion from $2.1 billion in 2003.

"The deployment of PVR products has been a success story for both pay-TV service providers and consumer electronics manufacturers," In-Stat analyst Mike Paxton said in a release. "While the current growth of PVRs is being spurred by satellite TV set-top box products and DVD recorders with built-in hard-disk drives, other product segments like cable TV set top box-based PVRs are also flying off the shelves."

North America continues to be the largest market for PVRs, followed by Japan. The two regions accounted for 88 percent of the PVR product shipments in 2004.

A recent survey conducted by In-Stat in the United States revealed that 89 percent of households were either "extremely satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their PVR service.