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European Digital Terrestrial TV STB Demand

While the global recession has dampened growth in new digital set top box (STB) deployments in 2009, the market potential still remains a tremendous opportunity for STB equipment vendors, according the the latest study by In-Stat.

From 2001 to 2008, the overall digital set top box market grew from 37 million units in 2001 to nearly 190 million units in 2008. Growth turned mixed across STB markets in 2009, with cable set top box shipments declining, while satellite, IP and digital terrestrial segments continued to see some unit growth.

"Looking forward, the transition from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD) set top boxes will continue to provide STB vendors a solid growth opportunity," says Mike Paxton, In-Stat analyst. "The integration of Personal Video Recording (PVR) capability is also creating growth opportunities."

The big unknown factor is still the growth of over-the-top (OTT) Internet video service adoption and the effect on hybrid STB demand, combined with the further integration of wired and wireless broadband interfaces directly into consumer digital television sets.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- Worldwide digital set top box product revenue was $18 billion in 2008.

- IP STB shipments to Telco TV service providers are slowing down as Telco TV subscriber growth matures and moderates.

- 2009 is a year of transition for digital terrestrial (DTT) set top boxes. The completion of the analog switch-off in the U.S. occurred in June, 2009. This created a substantial bubble of DTT shipments in 2008 and early 2009, but U.S. DTT STB shipments will likely plummet in 2010.

- It's anticipated that the growth in DTT shipments to Europe will partially offset the declining U.S. STB sales.

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