August 18, 2013 11.37 Europe/London By Julian Clover

The global market for set-top boxes within the pay-TV sector remains healthy with demand expected to peak at 180 million units in 2016.
Futuresource Consulting says the majority of the growth will come from the Asia Pacific and Latin America, as the regions expand their cable digitalisation programmes and new services continue to appear. Similar research from MRG agrees.
“Despite the overall STB market topping out this year, this is entirely due to erosion of the free-to-air segment. We’re going to see the trinity of cable, pay satellite and IPTV continue to perform, growing by 2% CAGR between 2012 and 2016,” says Carl Hibbert, head of entertainment content and delivery at Futuresource.
The analysts say that vendors are adding value and differentiating their products through multiple tuners, integration of IP services and content, and by introducing sophisticated middleware for the multi-platform environment.
“The proliferation of internet enabled devices, OTT services and cloud-based systems has been pushing the threat of cord cutting up the agenda for multi-system operators like Comcast, UPC and Virgin Media. Multimedia home gateways are increasingly a new weapon of choice for operators to stem subscriber churn, offering subscribers new services and more efficient delivery of video to secondary screens in the home and on the move,” says Hibbert.
Although the the cost of the new breed of new set-tops is roughly double that of their predecessors, Hibbert says the sophisticated devices can open the doors to home automation, security, energy management and e-health, reinventing the multi-system operator as a whole house enabler.