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Set-Top Boxes Remain Wired Despite Wi-Fi Surge

31 Jul, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Set-top Box

The majority of media set-top boxes in households continue to be hard wired despite the proliferation of wireless connectivity, according to new research.

Several manufacturers have brought to market plug-in devices that enable wired set-top boxes to operate seamlessly in multiple rooms in the home, according to ABI Research.

Moving video content around the home from device to device has become more challenging as files grow larger and more people in the home access the same home network. With people now connected via video game consoles, tablets, smartphones and TVs — many of which include an Ethernet connection for the Internet — wireless technology has mushroomed in use because it offers mobility. Unfortunately, wireless often suffers from interference with other devices and networks hampering reliability of content reception, among other issues.

Thus, new efforts using coax cabling, which was built for video and already exists in 90% of all U.S. homes, aim to network connected TVs, Blu-ray Disc players and game consoles with a hard-wired connection, according to ABI.

The most popular is Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA), an open industry standards consortium employing broadband connections and used by cable, satellite TV and telco/IPTV operators for multi-room content sharing.

Another wired solution is G.hn, the name for a home network platform that delivers digital content via power lines, phone lines and coaxial cables.

While adoption of wireless STBs continues, it will take time as many operators have already selected or are actively considering wired solutions, according to ABI.

“G.hn promises to bring added flexibility to the wired networking markets with strong supporters like Sigma Designs who is heavily invested in the technology as a follow to its HomePlug solutions,” said Sam Rosen with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based ABI. “Other G.hn chip manufacturers, Marvell and Lantiq, have a wider communications portfolio and will be less impacted should G.hn fail to gain stronger market interest.”

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