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Satellite Pay-TV Set Top Box Shipments Decline

Satellite pay-TV providers in North America haven't added many new subscribers. Competition for subscribers has been an issue, and the fundamental value of all pay-TV services is being questioned by prospective customers.

In particular, the U.S. market for video entertainment has also evolved -- due to the rapidly growing adoption of low-cost on-demand over-the-top (OTT) video services.

In Europe, the market has less need for set-top boxes, because more TV sets have integrated satellite tuners and CI+ slots. As a result, according to the latest market study by In-Stat, shipments of satellite set-top boxes declined in 2010 by 8 percent -- in both the North American and Western European.

"The decline in North America shipments moving forward will be a result of a movement to residential media servers, first by DirecTV, and then by other providers," says Michelle Abraham, Principal Analyst at In-Stat.

The move to IP video clients will impact Europe as well, though multi-room penetration is much lower, so the impact on shipments will be lower.

Markets like Latin America and the Mid-East/Africa regions will see the highest growth percentages as rising household incomes and lower cost pay-TV packages will enable more satellite pay-TV subscriber growth in those markets.

In-Stat's latest market study findings include:

- Saturation in some satellite markets will result in a stall in satellite set-top box unit shipments for the pay-TV market.

- The switch from connecting a satellite set-top box to every TV for satellite viewing to using IP clients will impact the satellite box market.

- HD and DVR boxes continue to gain at the expense of SD boxes.

- Both Colombia and Argentina plan to launch satellite services to complete their DTT coverage.

- The worldwide satellite HD box forecast shows growth each year through 2014 with the exception of 2011 as a result of DirecTV's use of IP set-top boxes.

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