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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 25, 2010

For Set-top Boxes, Demand Comes From Asia

By Narayan Bhat, TMCnet Contributor

It seems North American market is saturated for set-top-boxes while they are in high demand in Asia where many countries are growing at breakneck speed. According to a latest report from high-tech market research firm In-Stat, the Asian market for set-top-boxes enjoyed 40 percent growth in shipments in 2009 while European market saw unit shipments slip 11 percent during the same period.
“The North American market was up 2.5 percent, primarily due to a temporary surge in Digital Terrestrial set-top box shipments. Across all regions, except Asia, high definition boxes are growing, while standard definition boxes decline,” said the market researcher.
The rapid growth in Asia, according to the research firm, is being driven by a surge in satellite set-top-box shipments, in conjunction with strong IPTV (News - Alert) STB growth. Europe is seeing shipment declines across all box types, including IPTV, satellite, cable and terrestrial.
The research also found that global revenues from digital set-top boxes reached $4.4 billion in the third quarter of 2009, and were on course to hit $19 billion for the full year.  Shipments of IP set-top-boxes to IPTV operators were found to be slowing down, as IPTV subscriber growth matures and moderates.  Meanwhile, In-Stat (News - Alert) estimates that shipments of cable TV set-top boxes fell by more than 3mn units in North America during 2009, relative to the previous year.
The year 2009 is also marked as the year of transition for digital terrestrial television, or “DTT,” set top boxes. The completion of the analog switch-off in the United States occurred in June 2009, creating a ‘substantial bubble’ for DTT shipments in 2008 and early 2009. 
According to the research, worldwide digital set top box product revenue was $18 billion in 2008.
This research is part of In-Stat’s Set Top Box Database which tracks set top box unit shipments, revenues and average selling prices on a quarterly basis. Regional segmentation includes North America, Europe, Middle East/Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Four major STB technologies include cable, satellite, telco IPTV and digital terrestrial TV.

Narayan Bhat is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Narayan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison