Video gateways provide huge opportunity for cable

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 31-10-2011

The current received wisdom may be that the cable industry, especially in the US, is trouble but a new ABI Research report has indicated a source of opportunism: video gateways.
ABI Research's report, "Worldwide Set-Top Box Markets: CATV, DBS, IP, DTT," suggests that Cable video gateways shipments will grow from less than 700 thousand units in 2010 to over 10 million in 2016.
The analyst believes that gateways, used in conjunction with IP-only thin-client set-top boxes, will give operators the ability to centralise costly cable tuners, hard drives used to offer DVR functions, and network processors at one location in the home. In addition, it adds that such centralised architectures will help to provide operators with a migration strategy from traditional QAM broadcasting to IP video.
ABI suggests that the set-top box market today is showing increasing polarization between high-end models with 3D user interfaces and low-cost boxes used to bring millions of customers pay-TV services for the first time in their lives.
Looking regionally, ABI sees cable operators in North America and Europe working with a number of CE firms - such as Pace, Samsung, and Technicolor - to develop architectures that will help to provide a migration strategy from traditional QAM broadcasting to IP video and instead delivering advanced services and content to every device in the home, including TVs, media tablets, and smartphones. By contrast it believes that operators in Asia are looking at the gateway as a low-cost way to get triple play to new audiences.
"Cable gateway boxes can be more cost-effective, especially in homes with three or more TV screens, compared to traditional set-top box architectures," commented Jason Blackwell, practice director, digital home.
"Surprisingly, the feature-rich devices that many manufacturers are showcasing today account for only 30% of the total market – with low-cost devices used to deliver triple play services in an integrated fashion in Asia accounting for a larger component of the video gateway forecast," added Sam Rosen, senior analyst.