A new report by Futuresource Consulting is predicting that demand for set top boxes (STBs) continues to climb throughout 2012 to reach 228 million units shipped globally.
The analyst says that STBs will play a fundamental role in the pay-TV industry’s service proposition as operators utilise the box to exploit existing services and look beyond the delivery of video to improve subscriber retention and grow revenues. It adds that leading manufacturers are launching a new generation of STBs labelled as media gateways or smart boxes which will offer features such as transcoding, wireless routing, multi-platform content management, media distribution and multi-room delivery.
On the video front, the reports adds that facilitated by enhanced broadband performance, pay-TV operators are beginning to incorporate IP not only to enhance existing services to the big screen, but to boost content delivery to multiple devices
including tablets and smartphones. It notes that operators are compelled to offer higher value service propositions to consumers, and the advanced features delivered by these new STBs will be fundamental to future success.
Yet despite the unbridled optimism for the prospects of the STB, Futuresource warns that as demand from maturing pay-TV markets like North America and Western Europe begins to slow, the market will start to see moderate decline over the next few years.
“The roll out of these new boxes comes at a time when the saturation of subscriber bases in mature markets is resulting in the need to develop new non-video related services. The ability to incorporate these boxes within home networking infrastructures and their compatibility with portable devices provides the ability to roll out services that allow the control of in-home lighting, temperature and security. Such offerings are expected to become increasingly widespread due to the competitive nature of the market and slowing video related revenues forcing operators to embrace new growth opportunities,” commented Carl Hibbert, Head of Broadcast Research at Futuresource.