Set top box sales to 'pass 200m by 2013'

By Andrew Laughlin, Technology Reporter

Annual worldwide shipments of set top box receivers will reach 200 million by 2013 due to the growing demand for more complex digital TV services, new research has said.

According to a report by Parks Associates, the ongoing global transition to digital TV and the growth of new distribution channels such as IPTV and over-the-top video on demand will "intensify competition" in the television industry.

In response to this, carriers and manufacturers will be pushed to upgrade their existing install base to more advanced set top boxes that are capable of offering greater functionality such as timeshifting and high definition. This, in turn, will significantly boost the number of set top boxes being distributed worldwide.

The research also indicates a growing appetite for internet-connected TV receivers as consumers increasingly want to utilise a wider breadth of interactive services via their TV sets. However, it was also discovered that only 10% of those surveyed would be willing to pay a monthly fee of between $5.99 (3.55) and $2.99 (1.77) to access this feature.

"Consumers are attracted to the concept of connected CE (consumer electronics), with one-third of US broadband households very interested in a set top box that connects to their PC and internet service as well as their TV," said Parks Associates research analyst Jayant Dasari.

"While less than ten per cent are willing to pay a monthly fee, demand is still on an upward trend, especially as the set top [box] connects to more and more services."

Meanwhile, Pace recently reported a tripling in its profits due to the buoyant demand for pay TV set top boxes despite the global recession.