Hybrid STB set for mainstream penetration

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 20-10-2011

Hybrid set-top boxes (STBs) are now rapidly being deployed by pay-TV operators worldwide to help them fend off competition and support advanced services across multiple platforms, according to new research from ABI Research.
The devices which have the ability to decode online video sent over the Internet or over two types of networks, such as satellite and terrestrial, and are seeing use in managing bandwidth scarcity in broadcast networks,
“Satellite operators are looking to Internet-enabled set-top boxes to deliver advanced services over-the-top (OTT) in regions with strong broadband penetration,” said Sam Rosen, senior analyst for the digital home at ABI Research. “In addition, operators in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa are looking at hybrid satellite – Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) platforms to offer national and international feeds integrated with local programming in a bandwidth-efficient way.”
In 2010, only 40% of STBs worldwide featured hybrid capabilities, with many not yet enabled by software as operators were not ready to deploy IP video services. Hybrid box penetration will rise above 60% by 2016 as operators look at IP-based video on demand (VOD) and advertising solutions, as well as interactive content.
Vendors are already jockeying for market share position. “Huawei has powered to first in IPTV set-top box market share from a distant fourth – a sign that APAC IPTV growth will outpace that of Europe in the coming years,” said Jason Blackwell, practice director for the digital home at ABI. “Pace is once again the worldwide leader for set-top box shipments, with Motorola remaining in second place, and Technicolor a close third.”