Set-Top Boxes Will Get Apps, Eventually

IT Management

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Though most Americans still get their TV through traditional methods, streaming and downloaded media is beginning to make a strong impact on the industry. Streaming boxes from Roku and Apple are popular ways to access such content, as are video game consoles and smart TVs. Most of these devices, however, share living room space with a set-top box, most often rented from a cable company. Anyone who has used set-top boxes will know how antiquated they feel next to other devices full of apps.

This could be set to change in the coming years, though it still appears that traditional set-top boxes will lag far behind other more innovative devices. A new report out from market research firm ABI Research today predicts that only around 40% of households with some form of pay TV box will have access to apps. This is up from the estimated 10% of pay TV customers that currently have access to apps on their set-top box.

ABI points out that IPTV services are already leading the way for pay TV services when it comes to set-top box apps. With the amount of control monopolistic cable companies demand over their content, however, it will take a bit longer for streaming services and game apps to appear on traditional set-top boxes beside basic cable.

“While a number of operators garner significant media attention, a great deal of activity is happening behind the scenes in the B2B market,” said Sam Rosen, practice director at ABI. “Companies like Accedo, ActiveVideo, Alticast, ES3, FourthWall Media, Myriad Group, TiVo, and Zodiac Interactive have partnered with numerous operators to help bring applications and interactivity to traditional pay TV services.”

Image courtesy Motorola