Global demand for digital set top boxes hit a new high in 2009, with worldwide set top box unit shipments increasing 11%, reports In-Stat. Record demand for both satellite and terrestrial set top boxes fueled the market growth.
The market is likely to face challenges in the future. “The set top box market will be solid for the next few years. However, there are some emerging threats that will test the market’s long-term viability,” according to Mike Paxton, an analyst at In-Stat.
Over-the-top video products, such as Apple TV or TiVo’s Premiere product, could permit consumers to “cut the cord” of their traditional pay-TV service. Another possible threat are software platforms that enable consumer electronic devices to function like, or even replace, a set top box. And other consumer electronic devices, such as video game consoles and TV sets, can increasingly replicate the capabilities of a digital set top box. (See also the E3 report in Broadband TV News)
Recent research by In-Stat found the following: unit shipments in 2010 are projected to decrease slightly, returning to 2008 levels. Hybrid set top boxes that integrate IP video with an existing broadcast platform will ship in significant numbers in 2011, particularly in Europe. Sustained demand for advanced set top box products like HD-capable set top boxes and PVR-enabled products, coupled with the continuing analog-to-digital transition, will keep the set top box market vibrant through at least 2012. Satellite set top boxes, the largest market segment, accounted for 48% of 2009 global set top box unit shipments.
Competition in the set top box market is increasing. In 2009, 17 manufacturers shipped over one million units.