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Satellite TV Set Top Box Design Innovation

As the satellite television market continues to grow and mature, the set top box (STB) industry as a whole is slowly rolling out new features and services, reports In-Stat.

Interactivity, HD, and DVR functions are growing facets within the satellite industry as a means to increase average revenue per user (ARPU) and reduce customer churn, the high-tech market research firm says. These are, in turn, being addressed by STB manufacturers.

At the risk of belaboring this point, I will add that there's still significant opportunity to re-imagine the design of the STB consumer experience. Over time, the typical remote control design has become less people-friendly, and the addition of more tiny buttons with cryptic labels leaves many users scratching their heads.

Simplicity, by design, is apparently a foreign concept to the technology-centric designers within the STB industry. I wonder how many actually perform usability tests on their new designs, and how many actually attempt to redesign products that are deemed unduly complex to use?

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

- The worldwide satellite set top box market will eclipse 81 million units (both free-to-air and pay-TV) by 2010.

- For the next several years, as the transition to HD occurs in mature markets, sales of new boxes will offset, to a point, slowing gross subscriber adds.

- More Ethernet connections will appear in satellite set top boxes in the future as more providers offer services in partnership with broadband providers.

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