Streaming dongles to lead STB revenue

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 30 July 2015

The global set-top box (STB) market which includes IP/cable/satellite/DTT STBs, over-the-top (OTT) media servers and HDMI dongles totalled $4.2 billion in Q1 2015, slipping 3% from the previous quarter.

Unit shipments of STBs worldwide improved 2% sequentially, and were up 3% from the year-ago first quarter, according to the IHS Infonetics Set-Top Boxes report.

Going forward, IHS expects particularly strong unit growth for high definition multimedia interface (HDMI) streaming dongles, which allow viewers to stream online movies, music, games, photos and apps to a TV using a smartphone, tablet or laptop. IHS expects the number of HDMI dongles sold worldwide to top 27 million by 2019.

HDMI dongles, such as Google's Chromecast, Roku HDMI sticks, Amazon's Fire TV Stick HDTV and virtual set-top boxes, will see the highest unit growth of all the digital media adapters tracked by IHS, and could siphon away business from OTT servers.

"We expect unit shipments of set-top boxes to improve in 2015, but price competition for higher-end devices and growth among less expensive boxes for emerging markets will bring revenue down for the year," said Jeff Heynen, research director for broadband access and pay TV at IHS.

Cable STB sales fell 2% worldwide in 1Q15, to $1.5 billion, as declines in traditional digital boxes, media players and client devices offset gains in headed gateways and hybrid IP/QAM devices.

And, a slowdown of sales in North America was to blame for global satellite set-top box revenue being down 3% in Q1 from the prior quarter.

Arris claimed the worldwide STB revenue market share lead in the quarter, and is far and away North America's leading STB supplier to cable operators.