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IHS: Set-Top Box Shipments to Increase 8% This Year

15 Jul, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Netgear NeoTV set-top box

Despite a plethora of connected devices, shipments of set-top boxes linking the TV with cable, satellite, telco and the Web are projected to set a record in 2013

Global shipments of set-top boxes used for cable, satellite, terrestrial and Web-based digital TV services are forecast to climb to 269 million units this year, up 8% from 250 million in 2012, according to new data from IHS.

Shipments will grow another 6% to 286 million in 2014 and by 1% to 290 million in 2015 — the peak of the market for the foreseeable future. The growth is projected despite the pay-TV industry’s increasing focus on delivering content via alternative devices like PCs, smartphones and tablets.

Set-top boxes include those offered by MPVDs, streaming media players from Roku, Apple, Vizio, WD, Seagate, Netgear and connected Blu-ray Disc players.

Daniel Simmons, senior principal analyst for TV technology at IHS, said that while set-top boxes continue to face challenges from multiscreen devices, multichannel video program distributors continue to deploy them in order to manage the compatibility between their delivery networks and the consumer electronics devices that consumers are increasingly using to view content now.

“As pay-TV operators rush to accommodate changes in delivery platforms and in video formats — including the adoption of high-definition (HD) — [set-top box] shipments will continue to rise, hitting record levels for the next few years,” Simmons said in a statement.

However, set-top box use will peak by 2015, with multiscreen devices accounting for nearly half of all platforms obtaining television services from the largest operators by then.

With pay-TV operators focusing their attention on video delivery to multiscreen devices through TV Everywhere platforms to ward off competition from subscription video-on-demand services, IHS expects pay-TV operators to continue to deploy STBs and utilize them as a central platform for video services for years to come.

Ironically, the multiscreen phenomenon will help boost the STB market during the next few years, as operators offer multimedia home gateway STBs that can deliver services to PCs, smartphones, tablets and other devices, supporting the operator-as-an-app model.

A good example is Comcast’s ongoing rollout of Xfinity TV X1 units that offer broadband connectivity, a cloud-based DVR storage and a TV Everywhere user-interface that allows subscribers to browse the Internet and play back recorded content.


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