Set-top box market set to explode, led by video gateways


Ericsson’s purchase of Microsoft’s Mediaroom underlines the growing importance of the video-on-demand market market for mobile operators. Demand for set-top boxes is set to skyrocket during the next five years, according to the latest research from Infonetics. The research firm says the global set-top box market grew 10% last year. In the fourth quarter alone, $4.6 billion worth of set-top boxes were sold, an amount that includes IP, cable, satellite and digital terrestrial television boxes, which enable the broadcast of terrestrial television in digital format.

“Video gateways and media players will be the real standouts moving forward, as North American and European cable and satellite providers transition away from digital STBs,” said Julien Blin, directing analyst for consumer electronics and mobile broadband at Infonetics.

While fewer than 3 million video gateways were sold last year, Infonetics projects sales of roughly 33 million units by 2017. “We expect video gateways to grow from just 1% of total cable and satellite STB shipments in 2012 to 16% by 2017, and to see strong double- and triple-digit annual growth in media player shipments every year at least through then,” said Blin.

The Infonetics research is consistent with data from IDC which found that the set-top box market is one of the bright spots in the semiconductor market, along with smartphones, tablets and automotive electronics.

Cisco was the leading STB vendor last year, according to Infonetics. Competitors include Motorola, which saw sales decline, and Samsung and Pace, both of which saw sales increase.

Microsoft’s Mediaroom is the leading maker of software for set-top boxes, with an estimated 25% of the market. Mediaroom customers include AT&T’s U-verse, Deutsche Telekom’s Entertain, Telefonica, TELUS Optik TV and Swisscom.

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Martha DeGrasse

Wireless Martha DeGrasse has been creating content for RCR Wireless News since 2011. Recent feature reports include Building Tomorrow's Neworks, Outdoor DAS and Small Cell Case Studies, Wireless Infrastructure Service Company Review, and Investing in HetNets. (All of these can be found by clicking on Reports at the top of this page.) At RCR, Martha also developed the 5 Things to Know Today series and the Mobile Minute. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her on Twitter @mdegrasseRCR