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Pay-TV Set Top Box Upside in Developing Countries

There's been numerous recent reports of financial turbulence within the traditional pay-TV sector, but there are still valid instances of some meaningful revenue and profitability progress in the global ecosystem.

Despite the fact that actual device shipments remained relatively flat over the last year, worldwide set-top box (STB) revenues were actually up in 4Q10 over 4Q09.

Total revenues for the quarter were $5.7 billion -- as compared to $5.3 billion in 4Q09, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

"Even though overall growth in the market was not dramatic there were certainly regional nuances that are worth noting," says Norm Bogen, VP Digital Entertainment at In-Stat.

For instance, there was a significant migration from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD) in the larger and more advanced markets -- such as North America and Asia-Pacific.

While in the developing regions -- such as the Middle East/Africa and Latin America -- there has been a surge in standard definition boxes with high definition just beginning to make an appearance.

In-Stat's latest market study findings include:

- In North America, satellite set top box unit shipments approached 18 million in 2010.

- European cable set top box revenues are forecast to be $212 million in 1Q11.

- Worldwide IPTV set top box unit shipments increased by 3.7 million in 2010.

- During 2010, in Latin America, 8 million more SD set top box units were shipped than HD boxes.

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