SINGAPORE: In line with the global phenomenon of switching over from analog to digital TV services, set-top boxes now have a more crucial role in the home for accessing of entertainment and information services provided by television service operators.
This is especially apparent in mature high-speed Internet economies where service providers strive towards providing interactive bi-directional television, thereby leading to the growth of IP set-top boxes. According to new set-top box market data from ABI Research, IP STBs will generate a market value above $3 billion by 2014.
This analog-digital switchover has also brought about a progressive momentum towards sophisticated box types as well as advanced compression technologies.
As ABI Research industry analyst Serene Fong notes: “Shipments of basic boxes across all television platforms have declined and will continue to fall throughout the six-year forecast period. In contrast, shipments of boxes with HD capabilities and MPEG-4 compression technologies – including HD hybrids – will head north.
This is closely associated with consumers’ thirst for higher quality content which is often satisfied through HD quality videos. The increased ownership of HDTVs especially in the homes of technologically advanced nations is a good indicator of where the market is heading.
In terms of vendors’ market standing, Motorola and Cisco Systems continue to sit at the top of the cable STB vendor list with a combined market share close to 50 percent in 2008. Thomson and Panasonic ranked highest in the DBS and DTT segments respectively in the same period.
“Vendors’ strategies for retaining their market shares are targeted towards emerging technologies such as HDTV, IPTV, and digital TV, as these are expected to be the main driving forces for STB sales in the coming years,” Fong concludes.