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Growth of HD STBs in North America is Subjective

As the world continues to migrate from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD) television, the impact on the pay-TV digital set-top box (STB) market is somewhat subjective.

There will likely be a reduction in SD STB revenue from current levels of 1.4 billion, eventually declining to 438 million by 2014. Meanwhile, HD personal video recorder (PVR) set top box revenues could potentially increase by 61 percent over the same time period, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

However, I believe that the continued adoption of purpose-built low-cost IP video players, such as Roko, could have a very significant negative impact on demand for traditional STB devices. Particularly in North America, where pay-TV service fees are very high and continue to rise.

In-Stat's market study findings include:

- Total worldwide digital STB unit shipments will decrease by 10 percent from 2009 to 2014.

- Digital PVR STB unit shipments will increase 57 percent by 2014.

- Of the worldwide total of all digital STB unit shipments, only Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe will see increases over the next 5 years.

- With a market share of 36 percent, Asia dominates the worldwide digital set top box market.

- Among the major geographic regions growth of HD set top boxes will be strongest in the Western European market.

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