"Contrary to popular opinion, the set-top box market is alive and well," says Julien Blin, directing analyst for consumer electronics and mobile broadband at Infonetics Research.
STB revenue grew almost 10 percent in 2012, and that's a considerable rebound from a year ago. The global market will remain healthy in the near term as operators in China, India, and Latin America add new digital video entertainment services.
Video gateways and media players will be the real standouts moving forward, as North American and European cable and satellite providers transition away from digital STBs.
Infonetics says that they expect video gateways to grow from just 1 percent of total cable and satellite STB shipments in 2012 to 16 percent by 2017.
They also expect to see strong double- and triple-digit annual growth in media player shipments every year at least through 2017.
Highlights from the latest market study include:
- The global set-top box (STB) market, including IP, cable, satellite, and DTT STBs, totaled $4.6 billion in 4Q12 -- that's up 3 percent sequentially.
- Sales of over-the-top (OTT) media servers spiked by 25 percent in 2012, with much of the growth coming from Apple TV.
- Thanks to a 28 percent bump in revenue, Cisco led all STB vendors for the full year 2012, edging out Motorola and Pace.
- Motorola's sales declined by double digits in 2012, largely a result of new entrants in the North American market, particularly Pace and Samsung.
- Infonetics has increased its long-term STB forecast, due to updated shipment guidance from vendors and the addition of cable and satellite video gateway and media player forecasts.
- Infonetics forecasts that the global STB market will grow to $26 billion in 2017.