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IHS: Apple No. 3 in Set-Top Box Sales

31 May, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Success of the Apple brand and its Apple TV streaming media device has upped the company to No. 3 in global sales of set-top box devices, according to new data from IHS. Apple was ranked ninth in STB sales in 2014.

The ranking is noteworthy as Apple TV represents the burgeoning retail over-the-top video market in the shrinking pay-TV set-top market.

IHS said more than 10 million Apple TV units were shipped in 2015, the fifth-largest volume in the world behind pay-TV STB manufacturers Arris, Technicolor, and Skyworth and ZTE. The data underscores the fact pay-TV boxes are becoming less important to access video content due to the expanding subscription streaming market driven by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and other OTT video platforms offering premium video content via devices manufactured by Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast.

“The STB market has certainly grown since 2007, when Steve Jobs originally described the Apple TV business line as a ‘hobby,’” Daniel Simmons, director of connected home technology at IHS, said in a statement.

Indeed, In 2015, global set-top box shipments grew 4.8%, year over year, to reach 353 million units. This growth was driven by Internet-protocol television (IPTV) market expansion in China. Revenue increased by 3.4% to reach $5.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the previous quarter, partially driven by next-generation device launches from Apple, Amazon and Roku.

Revenue fell 5.4% to $22.2 billion, due to reduced demand for pay-TV STBs in North America, primarily caused by declining pay-TV subscribers.

“As retail STBs have grown in the market, traditional pay-TV set-top vendors have been forced to re-position themselves, with significant consolidation at the top of the market, diversification toward software and services in the middle, and low-end vendors moving toward broader volume,” Simmons said.

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