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Can Re-Designed IPTV Services Regain Momentum?

The initial development plans for telco IPTV was introduced with great fanfare and anticipation -- launched by service providers who promised to re-invent the traditional pay-TV experience. Instead, what they delivered was an unimaginative replica of the channel-centric legacy cable TV offering.

Regardless of the anticlimax, those new IPTV services have gained some traction in the marketplace. But the sustainability of that growth has always been in question -- and still is with some skeptical industry analysts.

The pay-TV sector is going through a transition, and therefore somewhat volatile. Worldwide set-top box revenue, as a whole, will decline slightly in 2011 over 2010, with Latin America and Middle East/Africa markets being the only regions showing any increase in shipments.

However, despite the general maturation and stagnation of the market, IP set-top box (STB) shipments are forecast to increase by over 1 million units in 2011, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

"The most interesting development in the market is service provider solutions to distributing content throughout the home," says Norm Bogen, VP Digital Entertainment at In-Stat.

Direct TV, for example, supplies a satellite STB as the center-piece the home media space while providing IP STBs -- now referred to as thin IP clients -- for delivering content to different rooms in the home.

Can the re-designed IPTV solutions regain momentum and stimulate new growth?

In-Stat's latest market study findings include:

- North American IP set-top box revenue will increase by 22 percent in 2011.

- In 2011, 17 percent of all set top boxes will include a DVR.

- In 2011, 72 percent of all satellite set-top boxes in Europe will be high definition.

- Nearly 670,000 cable set top boxes will be shipped in Latin America in Q3’11.

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