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Why IP STBs Require Consumer Electronics Design

In the competitive and rapidly evolving pay-TV market, broadband service providers are now planning to add complementary online video services that require the installation of new hybrid IP set-top boxes (STB).

In many cases, service providers are now reacting to the market entry and adoption of low-cost on-demand pay-TV offerings.

The legacy pay-TV providers hope that the addition of more HD channels and new Over-the-Top (OTT) video services will be strong contributors to demand for their entertainment offerings over the next few years, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

"Since telcos in most geographic regions have significant competitors for TV services, many are working in concert with set top box manufacturers to develop new boxes," says Michelle Abraham, Industry Analyst for In-Stat.

Vendors are also enhancing their STBs to make installation and remote management of boxes easier for telcos.

Moreover, most of the traditional pay-TV STB design characteristics typically do not compare well with the more design-savvy consumer electronics (CE) devices that are common in the digital home environment.

Therefore, given the raised bar of customer expectations, pay-TV service providers must now improve the functional design and operational user interface of in-home products -- in order to compete more effectively with the CE market leaders.

In-Stat's latest market study found the following:

- The IP set top box market will grow 24 percent in 2010.

- Motorola remained the market share leader in 2009 with 27 percent.

- There is some vendor consolidation taking place with ADB buying Pirelli in 2010.

- Excluding the Middle East/Africa and Latin America regions, which are growing from a small base, the North American market will see the strongest growth over the forecast period.

- In-Stat expects slower price erosion on STB silicon, since many SoCs have already eliminated other discrete ICs.

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