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Set-top box market will evolve to “remain stable”

Media box market value rose to $21 billion in 2016

The traditional pay-TV set-top box (STB) will remain a fixture in consumer homes worldwide, while operators counter the threat posed by media streamers by adding features such as SVoD services, voice search and smart home functionality, according to the latest Futuresource Consulting report.

‘Worldwide Media Box Market: The Outlook for Set-Top Boxes and Media Streamers’ said that worldwide media box shipments, which include both STBs and media streamers (such as Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast and Apple TV), totalled 339 million units in 2016, with STBs comprising 86 per cent of demand, while the total value of the media box market rose to $21 billion in 2016.

However, the report stated that traditional STB remains under threat from many competing connected devices, including media streamers, games consoles and smart TVs – all of which can provide access to content from a variety of sources.

“In order to compete and remain as the centre of the living room, new features are being added to STBs – notably SVoD and voice services, along with upgrades concerning 4K UHD,” said Futuresource market analyst and report author, David Tett.

By 2021, Futuresource concluded that over 80 per cent of media box demand will still be accounted for by STBs, the result of operator roll-outs of upgraded boxes to their current subscribers and to new subscribers in less mature markets.

“Despite the costs, pay-TV STBs have the advantage of offering a one-stop shop to a wide range of curated content that is easily accessed via a single remote control and using a single HDMI port,” added Tett.

“Operators will continue to deploy STBs for their full-service subscribers, but increasingly roll-out pay-TV lite services to media streaming boxes in order to extend the reach of their content.”