Global shipments of set-top boxes (STBs) are predicted to reach 228 million units by the end of 2012, according to new research from Futuresource Consulting.
This will be followed by a moderate decline over the next few years as demand from maturing pay-TV markets like North America and Western Europe begins to slow, predict Futuresource.
Futuresource have highlighted the opportunities of media gateways and smart boxes that are now being introduced to the market: "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," said Carl Hibbert, Head of Broadcast Research at Futuresource.
Regionally, growth opportunities are still present. Asia Pacific, which is expected to represent 45% of global shipments in 2012, will see growth through to 2013, with smaller regions including Eastern Europe and Latin America growing from 16% to 18% and 4% to 6% respectively.
In Western Europe, cable represents the largest proportion of pay-TV homes and close to half of all pay-STB demand, and the continuing migration to digital services will drive cable STB growth through to 2014, say Futuresource.
In North America, the pay-TV market continues to lose subscribers quarter on quarter, resulting in a 4% fall over the forecast period. Revenue however will be sustained as operators move to more advanced set top boxes allowing for the roll-out of services that will attract new revenue streams from subscribers, according to Futuresource.
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