Digital Video Applications by gaming enthusiasts and the ever increasing need for digital storage is fuelling the demand for gigabytes and terabytes of storage and in turn propelling the growth of Hard Disk Drive Units, according to one industry body.The main drivers of growth have been users of notebook PCs, set top boxes and external digital storage, providing a boon for companies like Western Digital, Seagate and Hitachi.
According to market analyst In-Stat, by 2014, HDD unit shipments will increase to over 1 billion units.
HDDs provide digital storage at a tenth of the price of Solid State Drives on a cost/megabit basis.
Drive capacities are growing at a rate of 40 percent per year, and the industry is expected to cross the 1TB/sq. inch threshold by 2013.
Norm Bogen, VP of Digital Entertainment at In-Stat said: “As video has gone digital, demand for storage is found in consumer applications including set top boxes (STBs), external drives, automotive applications, personal media players, camcorders, home servers, and video cameras.”
“Set Top Boxes have been a HDD application target since TiVo pioneered TV recordings and playback and ‘Time Shifting’. The 3.5 inch HDDs at 7200 rpm and with capacities starting from 500 GBs to 2 TBs are being offered in this DVR application market.
“Among consumer applications, external HDDs are the second largest segment behind DVRs, and will double in unit volume between 2010 and 2015,” he said.
The demand for 2.5 inch mobile and potable drives is also growing at a phenomenal pace and has outstripped the total addressable market for desktop drives, according to In-Stat.
However, as companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google move towards storage in the Cloud, the requirements for massive storage on a PC device will be eased, posing a possible future threat to HDD vendors.
The top five vendors in the HDD market include Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. In the first half of 2010, Western Digital overtook Seagate as the largest manufacturer of HDDs. Seagate, however, retains its dominant position in enterprise HDDs.