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Report: 4K Ultra HD Last Lifeline for Pay-TV Set-Top Box

18 May, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

With the pay-TV market shrinking, consumer demand for conventional set-top boxes is projected to drop 9% this year to less than $16 billion in revenue, according to new data from ABI Research. To make up the shortfall, ABI said the 4K Ultra HD set-top box market will quadruple from fewer than 2 million units in 2015 to more than 7 million in 2016. The market is expected to grow by 3.2 million units annually through 2021.

“Digital transitions are taking longer than initially planned and the market is experiencing significant downward pressure on set-top box pricing,” Sam Rosen, managing director and VP at ABI, said in a statement. “Value through software and services remains an opportunity. Providers should be … focusing on 4K and HDR set-top boxes.”

China, which overtook the U.S. as the global set-top box market by units in 2010, remains No. 1. India will continue to grow STB shipments and likely surpass China in 2018 or 2019, according to ABI.

Citing ongoing market consolidation, Rosen said operators worldwide are seeking new ways to deliver video services, specifically through the use of streaming media adapters and adaptive bitrate.

“It is important to note that satellite broadcast remains a significant factor in pay-TV distribution, while terrestrial platforms, augmented by set-top boxes with some storage and advanced IP services, are becoming important for select telco operators who are backing away from licensing content,” Rosen said.


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