Though the promise of a la carte and streaming programming is beginning to be realized through services such as Netflix and Hulu, cable companies still rule the living room. That transition could speed up in the coming years, though, as sales connected set-top boxes are now forecasted to ramp up significantly in the coming years.
Market research firm IHS today released its prediction for future set-top box (STB) sales, stating that sales of connected set-top devices will reach 125.6 million units by the year 2017. This is nearly double the 65.8 million connected set-top boxes the firm estimates were sold during 2012. IHS' estimates also include cable boxes that are connected to the internet.
“Consumers increasingly are demanding connectivity from their electronics devices, and STBs are playing a central role in the networking of products,” said Daniel Simmons, senior principal STB analyst at IHS. “Connected STBs perform all kinds of useful functions, including distributing digital video recorder (DVR) streams to televisions in multiple rooms, as well as delivering video on demand (VoD) and web content to various platforms. Furthermore, MHGs (multimedia home gateways) and their associated thin clients, which also employ connectivity, are being used by pay-TV operators to provide advanced services and content to all kinds of IP-connectable devices, including mobile products like smartphones and media tablets.”
As mobile devices (specifically tablets) become a greater part of consumer's viewing habits, the MHGs that Simmons mentions are set to become the new central hub for household viewing habits. While companies providing IPTV services now make up a large portion of STB providers, IHS predicts that cable companies will soon see the light, raising their STB shipments to become more than one-third of the STB market by 2017.