Without a doubt, 2010 was a challenging year for the worldwide digital set-top box (STB) market, as total unit shipments decreased by 7 percent. It is likely that 2011 will also be a disappointing year, but there may be better news on the horizon.
Fueled primarily by the analog-to-digital transition as well as upgrades of older devices to newer HDTV versions, HD and PVR versions, and Hybrid STBs with PVR capability and a broadband connection -- digital terrestrial STB unit shipments will approach 45 million units by 2015, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.
"Digital set-top boxes continue to be key pieces of equipment for pay-TV service providers. For many service providers, the digital STB functions as their gateway into the home," says Mike Paxton, Research Director at In-Stat.
In addition to their important position in the digital TV or pay-TV ecosystem, digital set-top boxes continue to offer an attractive market opportunity for STB manufacturers and semiconductor suppliers, alike.
In fact, during 2010, digital set-top box revenues were greater than the combined revenues of video game consoles and Blu-ray players.
In-Stat's latest market study revealed the following:
- Europe is expected to account for over 50 percent of worldwide unit shipments of DTT STBs through 2011.
- There are some 30 DTT STB manufacturers with significant market shares.
- In 2010, revenue from semiconductor components inside digital set top boxes was $4.8 billion.
- Latin America remains a relatively immature market for STB products accounting for only 11 million unit shipments last year, although annual unit shipment growth topped 50 percent.