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IHS: 31 Million Streaming Devices Shipping in 2015

11 May, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Worldwide shipments of streaming media devices linking the Internet to the television are projected to reach 31 million units this year — more than the estimated 30 million shipments of traditional set-top boxes, according to IHS.

Streaming devices such as Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV were initially considered by the consumer electronics industry as temporary measures to bring over-the-top video to the TV. Now, with the rise in OTT video services such as Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and HBO Now, streaming media devices are here to stay, according to Daniel Simmons director of connected home research at IHS Technology.

“It was assumed that smart TVs, Blu-ray disc players and gaming consoles would take the place of [cable] set-top devices; however, while consumer adoption of smart devices has grown considerably, OTT STBs have still managed to flourish,” Simmons said in a statement.

Yet, total shipments of pay-TV STBs, which include Internet protocol television, cable and digital terrestrial TV boxes, continue to outpace shipments of OTT STBs. By 2018, pay-TV STB shipments will grow to 169 million units, compared with 38 million retail OTT STB shipments, according to IHS.

Apple, Google and Roku have been much more aggressive in adding new content sources and apps to their devices than TV and gaming console vendors. Indeed, Roku offers users more than 1,300 third-party content apps — considerably more than pre-installed options found on smart TVs and connected Blu-ray players.

Pay-TV operators are increasingly relying on OTT capabilities in their STBs to enable catch-up TV, offer expanded video-on-demand libraries, as well as search, recommendation and other content features associated with subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus.

Indeed, some pay TV services — Belgacom, Dish Network, Virgin Media and others — have started providing access to Netflix and SVOD services to subscribers. As a result, total pay-TV STB shipments will decline 5% to 197 million units shipped between 2014 and 2018.

“Given the rate at which pay-TV operators are integrating OTT services alongside traditional pay-TV features on their STBS, it’s likely that pay-TV STBs will prove to be a bigger threat than smart TVs to the retail OTT STB market,” Simmons said.

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