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Report: Set-Top Box Market Fluid

15 Oct, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Despite a 30-year existence, the set-top box (STB) is projected to remain vital to the consumer electronics industry for at least the next 10 years, according to a new report.

By 2012, 70% of the set-top box market is expected to include high-definition and/or digital video recorders, up from 35% in 2007 and underscoring consumer demand for time-shifted entertainment and HD, according to iSuppli Corp.

“DVRs are cheap to integrate into STBs because hard disc drive costs have plummeted,” said Jordan Selburn, principal analyst for set-top boxes for iSuppli. “With the street price of data storage just pennies per gigabyte and falling daily, the time is not far off when video storage hardware, whether at home or remote, will be essentially limitless and virtually free.”

Selburn said with cable or satellite companies charging as little as $5 a month for DVR support, the incentive to record TV shows and movies is increasing.

He said in the long term, media hubs and home theater networks would supplant the STB, resulting in lower costs and expanded video usage on displays throughout the home.

“We aren’t there yet, but it is possible,” Selburn said. “Recording a show in one room and watching it on a device anywhere — that’s the ultimate media center scenario. And with unlimited storage capacity and wireless connectivity inroads, we’ll get there.”

Separately, iSuppli said more than 125 million HD displays would be shipped in 2008, highlighting the need for HD content.


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