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Ascension of the Asia-Pacific IP-STB Vendors

The latest release of ABI Research's set-top box (STB) research report shows that Samsung, Coship and other Chinese and South Korean STB vendors collectively account for over 55 percent of the Asia-Pacific STB market, which is growing faster, in terms of subscribers, than the rest of the world. Moreover, they are using their growing clout and market share to address overseas markets.

New in this edition of the study is a regional breakdown of STB market share for various video platforms. Principal analyst Michael Arden says, "We are seeing more Chinese vendors gaining market share, and not only because of the growth in the domestic market for IPTV, digital cable and satellite there. They are also getting some traction outside their home market, as are South Korean manufacturers, particularly in the IP-STB sector."

Samsung, Arden notes, has done "a pretty good job of getting into North America and other markets; the South Koreans are really positioning themselves to get into Europe. They're making a lot of hybrid STBs for IP-DVB-T, the terrestrial standard that is widely used in Western Europe and some other regions, but not in their home market."

Should their European and North American competition be worried by these trends? To a degree, says Arden: "They should be a little concerned, because due to the Asian vendors' good traction in their home markets, they are gaining the advantages of high-volume production, delivering the cash to develop more competitive products."

And then there's the Beijing Olympics: The Chinese are doing a big expansion of their communications network in anticipation of the games, including their rollout of digital video. That will have an impact on STB markets because China is beginning an aggressive switch to digital video.

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