Despite experiencing some significant challenges, the global set-top box market continues to expand, according to US analyst firm Multimedia Research Group, which adds that demand for digital set-top box products is rising, especially in Asia, Latin America, and a number of countries in Europe.
In particular, the expansion of pay-TV services in developing markets, along with the ongoing shift from standard-definition products to high-definition products in developed markets, is believed to be fuelling market demand.
Overall, MRG projects that the annual growth rate for unit shipments of digital set-top boxes in 2012 will exceed 15%, with total worldwide unit shipments ending the year at 250mn, a new record high. However, there are some significant challenges to the set-top box market looming on the horizon, according to MRG.
Chief among these is the potential “virtualisation” of the set-top box, which could shift the functionality of the set-top box into a software platform or even the Internet cloud. MRG comments that while it is closely watching this potential shift, the company’s analysts do not see it having any significant impact on the market for the next few years.