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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 22, 2012

Cable TV Digitization Spurs STB Shipment in India - Huawei Leads the Market

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributor

Leading Chinese equipment maker Huawei (News - Alert) leads the Indian set-top box (STB) market with 24 percent share, says a report from ABI Research. Indian STB market has been increasing at a steady pace over the last few years, and the mandate set by the government for Cable TV digitization will spur the STB shipment in India in the coming years. The research agency predicts that 19.3 million set-top boxes will be shipped in India during 2012 alone.

Satellite platforms now represent 80 percent of the Indian television market. Despite the strong surge of customers moving to satellite platforms during 2011, satellite TV growth will slow somewhat from the 10 million consumers that added services last year, according to ABI Research’s new study: “Indian Set-Top Box Market.”

HDTV adoption is increasing in India, yet currently accounts for only 11 percent of overall shipments. There is huge potential for HDTV STBs in the country, though. “The increasing adoption of HDTV sets and cable TV digitization is expected to bring more HD channels and HD services in India,” confirms research analyst Khin Sandi Lynn.

As per the government’s policy, cable TV digitization will occur in four phases by December 2014. This initiative is likely to drive cable STB deployments as larger operators begin their digital STB deployments. The cable digitization process will progress far slower than the government mandate specifies, the report stated. Otherwise, consumers will be forced to abandon cable in favor of satellite as cable operators struggle to procure the set-top boxes.

In addition, nearly 70 percent of set-top boxes installed in the country are imported from foreign manufacturers, especially from China, the report finds. While Huawei leads the STB market with 24 percent market share, Pace follows closely with a 12 percent market share. Other leading foreign STB vendors selling set-top boxes in India include Chang Hong, Cisco (News - Alert), and Skyworth.

ABI Research predicts domestic STB production will increase in the coming years. Leading overseas STB manufacturing firms are likely to set up factories in India while Indian companies will focus on manufacturing low-cost STBs. Earlier in December, ABI Research (News - Alert) predicted that global Pay-TV market is set to grow and forecasted to reach $236 billion by the end of 2012. The research also showed that cable TV operators are facing increasing competition from IPTV (News - Alert) and over-the-top (OTT) services.

Subscriber growth in IPTV and OTT services is driven by increasing broadband penetration and a growing number of people using Internet-connected devices, according to ABI Research.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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