The need for secure, speedy and on-demand video, voice and data — the "triple play" — has propelled cable multiple service operators (MSOs), telcos and the consumer electronics (CE) industry to develop and distribute the means to transmit this information to users worldwide. The technology firm ABI forecasts that by 2008, over 15 percent of households worldwide will have some type of high speed broadband connection, with the highest share coming from North America and the second highest share from Western Europe, followed by Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world. ABI has also found that while cable broadband is leading in the US, worldwide digital subscriber line (DSL) market share as of 2002 is around 60 percent, whereas cable broadband holds about 40 percent of the market.

In the past, cable MSOs and CE vendors have had a disconnect in the way they offered their services and products to the consumer. "There always existed the 'chicken and the egg' arguments," explains Vamsi Sistla, ABI director of broadband research, "as to whether consumers should buy the products first based on the product's stand-alone features, or should the product be developed first and be made available for subscription to one or more of the triple play services. Now, the unlikely bedfellows are seeing one another as necessary for survival."

Some trends include:

While worldwide digital cable households made up less than nine percent of the cable households in 2002, this share will grow continuously to reach just over 20 percent by 2008. However, this will represent only seven percent of all the worldwide households as of 2008. The digital broadcast satellite (DBS) share of worldwide households will be over 12 percent in the year 2008.

Video-over-DSL will be the new kid on the block, with US incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) charging ahead with aggressive deployments to fend-off cable's triple play offering. Even with higher growth rates, North American household video-over-DSL penetration rates will be trailing those of the Asia-Pacific region by two million, in the year 2008.