Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

IPTV STB Designs Require Significant Enhancements

The early implementations of IPTV service deployments mirrored the legacy cable and satellite service models -- they were channel-centric offerings with the same strengths and weaknesses. None were inherently designed in preparation for the transformation to on-demand video applications.

Infonetics Research released the results of its latest market study which captures service provider updated requirements for IP-based set-top boxes (STBs) -- to deliver pay-TV video entertainment services that can compete with Over-the-Top offerings.

"Although low-cost set-top boxes designed to deliver basic video services over broadband infrastructure were the hallmark of IPTV services, strong competition and the need to increase ARPU have led to significant changes in STB design over the years, says Teresa Mastrangelo, directing analyst for video at Infonetics Research.

The STB remains the most visible point of interaction between subscribers and IPTV providers and is a key component to an operator's success. In the recent Infonetics STB survey results, service providers rated the STB features that are most important to them.

Those feature requirements include support on HDMI inputs for 1080p picture quality, integrated hard drive for PVR support, USB inputs for external memory, the use of SoCs (system-on-a-chip) in the design, and environmentally friendly features.

Highlights from the latest Infonetics market study include:

- While video conferencing is an application sometimes mentioned for IPTV services, it is not rated highly by many survey respondents.

- Ethernet is the preferred technology for delivering video to multiple devices in the home.

- In an open-ended question asking carriers which vendors they consider to be the top three IP STB manufacturers, Motorola finished at the top of the list, followed by Cisco.

- Amino is the most installed IP STB vendor, illustrating its long history as an IP-STB vendor, particularly among operators that were early pioneers in IPTV.