A total of 147.8 million set-top boxes will ship worldwide in 2010, up 11.5% from 132.6 million units last year, according to iSuppli Corp. Shipments will continue to rise in the next few years and reach 193.9 million units by 2014.
The continued growth of set-top boxes coincides with projections for a big boost in worldwide subscribers to IPTV, according to Jagdish Rebello, iSuppli senior director and principal analyst for wireless research. Global IPTV subscribers will increase to more than 123 million units by 2014, up from about 33 million at the end of 2009 – rising at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of almost 30%.
“The rise in numbers in both set-top boxes and IPTV subscribers bears profound implications for consumers and OEMs, signaling a major paradigm shift in TV viewing,” said Rebello. “With IPTV, consumers are able to watch what they want at the time and place of their own choosing, and the set-top box—currently the device that brings TV content from an external signal source—will continue to be the consumer device for delivering such material.”
Given the radical change in the way consumers watch and handle video content, the set-top box sits at the critical junction of what industry participants call the broadband residential gateway, noted Jordan Selburn, iSuppli principal analyst for consumer platforms.
“Residential gateways will incorporate services for digital home management, becoming the critical battleground among various players and serving as the beachhead within the home to launch new offerings and “suites” of services,” said Selburn. “And if the residential gateway is successfully integrated into a consumer electronics device—such as a set-top box—that the customer values, the service provider will be difficult to dislodge.”