Most STBs to remain hard wired through 2017

Wi-Fi remains the preferred home networking technology for most consumers, but wired home networking solutions such as Multimedia over Coax (MoCA) and HomePlug are gaining traction, especially for bandwidth-intensive devices such as multi-room DVRs, according to a new report from US firm ABI Research.

MoCA is described as the go-to wired technology for most cable and satellite operators in North America, (with trials in Western Europe), while HomePlug continues to do well in Western Europe.

This is believed to be creating good opportunities for companies like Broadcom which offer integrated MoCA SoCs and HomePlug solutions, and Entropic (MoCA IC provider) which recently acquired Trident Microsystems to climb the set-top box value chain.

“, with successful chipset plugfests held and certification underway, offers the potential to unify the home networking market in the long term,” commented Sam Rosen, practice director at ABI Research.

“The technology promises to bring added flexibility to the wired networking markets with strong supporters like Sigma Designs who is heavily invested in the technology as a follow-on to its HomePlug solutions.  Other chip manufacturers, Marvell and Lantiq, have a wider communications portfolio and will be less impacted should fail to gain stronger market interest.”

Wi-Fi has started to win interest amongst some pay-TV operators however: along with 802.11n MIMO solutions, next-generation 802.11ac is predicted to add further incentive to explore wireless networking.

The adoption of wireless STBs on a wider scale is expected to take time however, as many operators have already selected or are actively considering wired solutions.

Michael Inouye, senior analyst at ABI Research, added: “Strong support for mobile devices could also convince service providers to add wireless connectivity to their STBs, particularly to support new standards like Wi-Fi Direct and Miracast; although these solutions would likely service households where wired solutions are less optimal or as a complement to wired networking.

“In the end with all of these technologies vying for operators’ attention, standards like IEEE 1905 might garner additional attention to better help consumers navigate the home networking marketplace.”

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