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Satellite TV is poised to loosen cable’s grip on pay TV in the Asia Pacific region and Internet protocol TV and should soon offer serious competition in both, according to a report.

Satellite will have a 7.9% share of pay TV homes by 2011, according to research firm Informa Telecoms & Media, almost double December’s 4.2% share.

Report author Adam Thomas said mixed messages from China are still holding the region back from the exponential growth it is capable of achieving, despite strong progress last year.

“Satellite is giving cable a real run for its money, and the launch of a service in China later this year will see satellite’s share of the market grow even more quickly over the next five years,” he said.

He said IPTV was well placed to become a rival to both formats despite signs the technology could take longer than expected to establish itself.

The report forecast that the region will have 615 million TV households by 2011, up 137 million since 1995.

The switch to digital was also gearing up, and by the end of last year, 21.1 million homes in the region received digital signals, up from 13.7 million a year earlier and expected to hit 200 million by 2011.