Thu, Jul 08, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Zinwell counts on digital tuners for sales growth

LINK-UP The company's chairman said it is planning to ship 200,000 set-top boxes and tuners this year and has a deal with Seednet to deliver TV signals over the Internet

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Zinwell Corp (兆赫電子), one of the nation's biggest satellite communications parts supplier, expects set-top boxes and digital tuners to be the major drivers for its sales as digital broadcasting takes off, a top official said yesterday.

"We hope digital broadcasting- related products will be the major source of the company's sales in the future," Zinwell chairman Jack Huang (黃啟瑞) said.

Last year, sales from set-top boxes accounted for just 17 percent of the Hsinchu-based company's total sales of NT$3.26 billion.

Zinwell, which supplies set-top boxes to Motorola Inc and Toshiba Corp, aims to ship a combined total of 200,000 set-top boxes and digital tuners this year, said Huang, noting that this would be an 88-percent rise from last year.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of a press conference in which he announced that the company will deliver TV signals over high-speed Internet links to households in the middle of next month in cooperation with Seednet (數位聯合), the nation's biggest private Internet service provider.

Zinwell and Seednet hope to attract 100,000 subscribers to their new service by the end of this year, competing against state-run Chung-hwa Telecom Co (中華電信).

The nation's largest telecom operator began offering the "multimedia-on-demand" services to its asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) subscribers in March.

"We think the business will take off in the next two years and we hope that will stimulate the demand for set-top boxes," Huang said.

Zinwell will provide free multi-functional set-top boxes for subscribers for one year.

Zinwell believes the potential market for the service will be around 1.5 million families.

Lu Chia-lin (呂家霖), an analyst with Yuanta Core Pacific Securities (元大京華證券), however, expected a longer wait before the business blooms because of inadequate digital programs and bandwidth.

Zinwell expects significant growth from its set-top boxes and digital TV tuners, which convert analog signals into digital.

"The sales of TV decorder boxes will soar to make up a third of total sales this year as more countries start to deliver digital broadcasting signals over the airwaves," Lu said.

Zinwell is expected to report NT$80 million in net profits for the second quarter of this year, up from NT$70 million in the first three months, Lu said.

Lu expects to see big growth in the second half of the year as Zinwell starts to supply TV vendors -- including Sony Corp and Taiwan Matsushita Technical Service Co Ltd -- with digital tuners.

At present, most flat-screen TVs are not equipped with built-in digital tuners.

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