HONG KONG – Rapid conversion to digital delivery will drive up the number of digital TV homes in Asia by 501 million by 2020, according to new research.

By the end of the decade over 97% of TV homes in Asia will be digitally served, according to “The Digital TV Asia Pacific Report” by Simon Murray at Digital TV Research. But 160 million Asia pacific homes will still be without a TV set.

Digital penetration in the region was 29% at the end of 2010 and 52% at the end of last year. This year it will rise to 61%.

The big growth story will come from China and India, which account for 70% of the region’s homes. China which has more households than Europe and North America combined will add 225 million additional digital homes by 2020, India 118 million.

Of the 501 million digital homes to be added between 2013 and 2020, 172 million will come from digital terrestrial television (DTT). Digital cable will contribute a further 200 million additional homes. Satellite pay-TV will supply an extra 47 million, with free to air satellite TV adding 14 million. Pay IPTV will record 69 million more subscribers.

“China overtook Japan to become the most lucrative pay-TV market in 2011. India will take second place from 2019. Together China, India and Japan will account for two-thirds of the region’s $46 billion pay TV revenues by 2020,” Murray said.

Pay-TV revenues in Asia Pacific will be $46 billion in 2020; nearly double the 2010 figure. Digital pay-TV revenues will triple from $15 billion in 2010 to $46 billion in 2020.