Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hybrid STBs follow Digital Video Player Adoption

Digital video players, blu-ray disc players, game consoles, and now television sets are connecting to the Internet. Moreover, everything online is becoming accessible on smartphones and other connected mobile devices.

Internet video streaming is the new service that's in high demand. However, most TVs are not enabled to display these offerings. The hybrid Web-to-TV set top box (STB) will deliver over-the-top services to these TV sets -- by integrating Internet access capability into cable, satellite, telcoTV (IPTV), and digital terrestrial STBs.

Work is underway to create hybrid services that bring apps and widgets to TV programming, along with advanced advertising, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

The market value of Hybrid STBs will reach $1.3 billion worldwide by 2014.

"TV programs have come to the Internet. Now, the Internet is coming back to TV, and savvy software engineers and smart TV producers are finding ways to create new hybrid services that bring it all together," says Gerry Kaufhold, Principal Analyst for In-Stat.

Most set top box manufacturers are scrambling to create designs that facilitate all these new features. The next 12 months will be important, since mainstream consumer adoption trends will likely surface that demonstrate where the greatest opportunity exists. Purpose-built low-cost digital video players have gained the market lead with early-adopters.

In-Stat's latest market research findings include:

- Hybrid-capable STBs are shipping today, but only a small percentage are using the capabilities.

- Digital terrestrial boxes will be the hybrid-box growth leader, with a CAGR of 42 percent between 2010 and 2014.

- Western Europe will be the hot bed for development of hybrid services, and the leader for early hybrid STB shipments.

- Intel’s x86 Instruction Set promises to be a key enabler, as Adobe FLASH, Windows Media, Microsoft Silverlight, DiVX, and VP8 appear first on an x86 Instruction Set.

- To date, each category of set top box and each geographic region is developing along unique trajectories.