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Pay-TV Market Transition Impacts Set-Top Box Needs

The volatile pay-TV industry is going through a period of transition, as low-cost video entertainment services gain new subscribers -- and thereby further fragment the global markets. As a result, traditional pay-TV service providers are evolving their offerings, which directly impacts their systems and CPE device suppliers.

Infonetics Research released excerpts from its first quarter 2011 (1Q11) Cable, Satellite, IPTV, and Over-the-Top (OTT) Set-Top Boxes and subscribers market share and forecast report.

"Despite a quarter-over-quarter decline in the global set-top box market, all major segments are up from this time a year ago in both revenue and shipments, indicating that the pay-TV market is rebounding after two years of significant declines," said Teresa Mastrangelo, directing analyst for video at Infonetics Research.

In 1Q11, evidence continued to mount that pay-TV service providers are in the early stages of implementing hybrid IP networks that offer both OTT and traditional on-demand services -- combined with linear broadcast TV channels.

As such, the hybrid segment of the market will experience the strongest growth over the next few years.

Infonetics' latest market study highlights include:

- The global set-top box market declined 10.2 percent in 1Q11 to $3.1 billion, primarily attributed to normal seasonal trends.

- The cable STB segment continues to contract as subscriber growth remains limited across the lucrative North America and EMEA markets and demand slows for advanced services.

- The cable STB segment experienced the strongest sequential revenue declines, down 12.9 percent in 1Q11.

- Lower than expected demand for IPTV services in EMEA during 1Q11 resulted in strong declines in shipments into this region, causing an 11.7 percent drop in global IP STB revenue.

- Demand for OTT media services remained strong in 1Q11, but challenges lie ahead for this category.

- During 1Q11, hybrid STBs represented 8 percent of revenue and 7 percent of shipments; Netgem leads in hybrid IP/OTA STBs, Motorola leads in hybrid IP/QAM STBs, and ADB leads in hybrid IP/DVB-S STBs.

- Motorola and Pace continue to battle it out for overall STB market leadership, with Motorola leading in revenue and Pace leading in unit shipments.

- Cisco is the market share leader in both revenue and shipments in the IP STB market.

- Echostar leads in worldwide satellite STB revenue, in a tight race with Technicolor.

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