Gateways offer bright spot in tough STB market

Editor | 22-01-2014

Advanced functionality designed to offer enhanced user experiences, increased responsiveness and improved DVR functionality will be key to the future of the currently tough set-top box market, a new report from ABI Research suggests.

The analyst says that feature-rich gateway boxes were first shipped in small quantities in 2010 but by the end of 2013 North American and Western European operators shipped 4.5 million units in a market which is conservatively estimated to grow 84% to 8.5 million by 2018. At the vanguard of this revolution, says ABI, will be devices such as DirecTV's Genie, Liberty Global's Horizon, Dish's Hopper and the boxes that power Comcast's X1 service.

"Operators have made decisions to move to gateway boxes for economic reasons, but more and more they are leveraging the power of those boxes to improve the quality and consistency of the experience they offer to consumers," explained ABI practice director Sam Rosen. "Advertising campaigns highlighting unique features will supplement price and bundle oriented campaigns and target higher-end customers. US satellite operator Dish networks, for example, will highlight the uniqueness of its watch anywhere model, which is less subject to rights agreements than other operators."