By : John Latchem | Posted: 18 Mar 2010
Shipments of set-top boxes will continue to rise during the next few years as consumer viewing patterns shift and as television content delivered via the Internet becomes more popular, according to iSuppli Corp.
A total of 147.8 million set-top boxes will ship worldwide in 2010, up 11.5% from 132.6 million units last year. Shipments will continue to rise over the next few years and reach 193.9 million units by 2014, iSuppli estimates.
The continued growth of set-top boxes coincides with projections for a boost in worldwide subscribers to Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), or digital television delivered through the Internet and a broadband network, according to Jagdish Rebello, iSuppli senior director and principal analyst for wireless research.
Global IPTV subscribers will increase to more than 123 million by 2014, up from about 33 million at the end of 2009.
Such changes in the way consumers handle video content make set-top boxes an important factor in what industry participants call the broadband residential gateway, noted Jordan Selburn, iSuppli principal analyst for consumer platforms. The shift has resulted in a variety of service providers, from telephone companies to cable and satellite dish companies, competing to control the new revenue streams.
“Residential gateways will incorporate services for digital home management, becoming the critical battleground among various players and serving as the beachhead within the home to launch new offerings and suites of services,” Selburn said. “And if the residential gateway is successfully integrated into a consumer electronics device — such as a set-top box — that the customer values, the service provider will be difficult to dislodge.”
Other than the set-top box, however, iSuppli does not see in the immediate future any other consumer electronic device integrating the residential gateway function, stating that video game consoles and PCs can’t evolve fast enough to fulfill gateway operations.