German STB market shows strong growth
By Robert Briel
Published: December 17, 2010 11.20 Europe/London

The German market for set-top boxes is continuing to show strong growth with the average price increasing from €90 in 2007 to €117 in 2010. Contrary to the usual consumer electronics trend, the average value of STBs is still increasing with a pricepoint of €124 predicted for next year.

In the past four years the market volume in Germany rose from €390 million to €710 million. For the coming year, an increase of an estimated 7% to €760 million is expected. The number of units sold has grown steadily since 2007 to 6.07 million this year, according to German high-tech association BITKOM, based on the latest data from the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO).

“In Germany, set-top boxes used to be just simple TV receivers. Today, many additional functions are integrated, such as the reception of Internet content, high resolution pictures, or a high-quality hard disk recorder,” said BITKOM president August-Wilhelm Scheer in a statement. “Nowadays most customers rely on set-top boxes with extensive features and high quality. Therefore, these devices do not suffer from price drops as in many other areas of consumer electronics. “

The market for digital set-top boxes is benefiting from five technology trends: the introduction of high definition television, the convergence of set-top boxes and hard disk recorders, the introduction of electronic programme guides (EPGs), the merging of Internet and TV, and especially the digitisation of the pathway for the TV reception.

Set-top boxes with hard disk recorders are very popular and are increasingly replacing the traditional VCR. “With the new set-top boxes, viewers can simultaneously watch one show and record a number of other parallel programmes,” said Scheer.

Merging television and the internet into hybrid TV is another major development. With set-top boxes can all Tv sets can become internet-enabled televisions. Scheer: “The integration of Internet and TV is one of the most important trends in consumer electronics.”