Major demand to drive set-top box growth

9 May 2007

More than 65 million set-top boxes for cable, satellite and IPTV digital shipped globally last year and the market is tipped to continue growing at a rate of 13pc year on year to reach 120 million shipping annually by 2011.

The new figures from Understanding & Solutions exclude digital terrestrial adapters and free-to-air satellite receivers, which together drove the total worldwide set-top box market to 115 million units shipped last year.

Further growth is anticipated as over-the-air broadcast markets move towards analogue switch-off by the end of the decade.

Fuelled by the continuing global rollout of digital multi-channel TV services, set-top boxes give providers a secure platform to push value added products like high definition, personal video recorder (PVR), video-on-demand and multi-room services.

Set-top boxes are also being seen as a weapon new entrants will use to break into markets dominated by established operators.

Understanding & Solutions predicts that the pay TV set-top box market will be sustained by the upgrade of the maturing digital satellite market, high growth for digital cable and new market growth for IPTV as telcos and other broadband service providers drive into digital video services.

“The growth of online TV and video is both threat and opportunity to the STB industry,” says Andrew Carroll, Consultant at Understanding & Solutions.

“Broadband may possibly impact the need for dedicated digital TV infrastructure long term, but, for the next two to three years at least, subscription Service Providers actually see the set-top box as a way to network and integrate broadcast and IP services into one seamless ‘any content, any screen’ proposition for customers.”

Security and quality of service will remain key set-top box added value elements.

“Live” broadcasting will remain a key reason for dedicated services infrastructure for several years in a period of increasing load on the internet as video and TV traffic continues to mushroom.

By John Kennedy