The future of the set-top box has come under
increasing scrutiny in recent months, with a senior to appear on the latest SoC solutions from
semiconductor companies. However, in line
cable company executive suggesting it will become with the general industry trend, we have seen
extinct, and uncertainty surrounding the ownership of very limited demand from our customers.
Arion: All HD-ready. No 3DTV planned yet.
leading vendors. Euromedia finds out how the market EchoStar: Vast majority HD, some SD in
and products have developed, and how sector players South America. MPEG-2/MPEG-4 supported.
see the future panning out. 3DTV is somewhat ‘pass through’ for STB man-
ufacturers, but indeed features in our plans.
Euromedia: What markets do your STBs Hybrid DTT/IP Set Top Boxes, and are ranked Entone: All products support HDTV, 3DTV
address? #3 worldwide for STBs. and are compatible with MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.
Albis Technologies: IPTV-only STBs and TechniSat: Cable, satellite, DTT, and hybrid. Humax: The majority of products are HD,
Hybrid DVB-C/IP or Hybrid DVB-T/IP. Euromedia: What about PVRs and storage about 20% by value are SD. The majority
Amino: IPTV single stream and PVR set top capacity? of products are
boxes plus broadcast hybrid options using ST Albis: PVR via an external HDD. Standard size MPEG-4 but
Micro and Intel-based platforms. of Disc 2.5” and Capacity 320 GB or 500 GB. MPEG-2 is
Arion: Cable, satellite and hybrid. Amino: This functionality is provided by fit- still shipping.
EchoStar: Complete range of connected ting HDD and the capacity increases as the Demand for 3D
devices from entry level ‘zappers’ through to default offering of the HDD supplier changes. is not significant.
fully functioning ‘media gateways’ that distrib- Currently, our standard size is 320Gb but this Motorola: Majority of
ute multiple, independent streams of TV to can be customised according to customer STBs are HD-ready sup-
different rooms and devices. EchoStar requirements. porting both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.
Technologies designs and distributes cable, Arion: Yes, with 500GB. Motorola has developed an innovative soft-
satellite, DTT, IPTV and hybrid STBs and EchoStar: Yes. We are finding that the ware enhancement for its commercially-avail-
DVRs to digital TV operators and directly industry de facto size is 500GB in both able set-top products to bring value-add 3D
Set-top box Survey 2012
into retail markets under the EchoStar operator and retail markets – there are processing to the home. Americas: updated
and Slingbox brands. some products on the market with 1 TB 3D processing has been incorporated into the
Entone: Pure-IPTV set-top boxes as well drives. DCX and QIP platforms and will include sup-
as hybrid devices supporting IP plus Entone: Our standard DVR is 320GB port for MPEG-4, MPEG-2 and 1080p24/30
cable, DTT or satellite. with options for 1TB. output. EMEA/APAC: similar capabilities will
Humax: Cable; Cable + Hybrid; Humax: 160GB, 320GB, 500GB, 1TB, be incorporated into the VIP product line
Satellite; Satellite + Hybrid; Terrestrial 2TB. depending on customer demand.
(T); Terrestrial (T/T2) + Hybrid; IPTV; Motorola: Many of Motorola’s set-tops Netgem: All STBs support full HD and are
OTT. offer DVR capabilities and storage capaci- both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 compliant. We
Motorola: All-Digital QAM Set-tops ty ranges from[ 160GB up to 1TB] in some have not integrated 3D as yet, however it is on
(DCX series, DCT series and DCH STBs. our roadmap and we would look to deploy this
series); Analogue/Digital QAM Set-tops Netgem: The N8000 Series Media Centre if there was sufficient demand from our
(DCT series and DCH series); Hybrid PVRs ship with 160GB/320GB internal customers.
QAM-IP Set-tops (QIP series); IP Set- storage, this can be extended to 520GB Pace: North America and Latin America are
tops (including hybrid models) (VIP and 1TB should the customer wish. The our two strongest regions; North America pre-
series). models in the N7700 and N5000 Series do dominantly HD Zapper, HD PVR and Media
Netgem: N5000 Series Internet TV not include an integrated PVR, but offer Server products; Latin America predominantly
adaptors – No PVR functionality and sin- external PVR capability via USB. SD Zapper, HD Zapper and HD PVR products.
gle tuner option, connects the television Pace: Yes – 320GB, 500GB, 1TB. Technicolor: We offer MPEG2 and MPEG4,
to the Internet for streaming IPTV and Technicolor: We offer PVR, Storage whereas the portion of SD boxes diminishes
on demand content and other services. depends on customer request. We can also over time, it does represent an attractive
Can also connect to the local media serv- support external storage to expand entry- entry-value for emerging countries.
er to access the user’s own stored con- level STBs. TechniSat: No, not all – there is still demand
tent; N7700 Series Hybrid STB & Media TechniSat: Yes, 320 GB and 500 GB and for DVB-C SD boxes on the markets. But there
Centre. Includes PVR and blends broad- 1 TB. are only 2-3 models in the range which are
cast (Cable, Terrestrial and satellite) with Euromedia: What about HD? Do you only SD. 3DTVfor STBs is not a priority one
broadband (IPTV, OTT) services and offer both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4? Does for us.
content; N8000 Series Media Centre 3DTV Euromedia: Which regions do you identify as
STBs Provides advanced networking feature in your plans? the strongest regions in terms of sales and for
functionality; this includes serving con- Albis: All STBs are HD and offer both which products? Who are the major customers?
tent from the PVR, internet or broadcast MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. 3D Graphics and Albis: Our main customers are in Europe,
world to another room. It offers multiple 3D TV are supported on our next genera- with a focus in Eastern Europe, predominant-
tuners, a high capacity Hard Disk Drive tion STBs. ly with IPTV-only STBs.
and home network connectivity. Amino: All devices are HD, MPEG 2 and Amino: Our Aminet A140 set-top box is a
Pace: Complete range of cable, satellite, MPEG 4 capable. We can provide 3DTV very strong performer in a range of markets –
DTT, IPTV and hybrid STBs. functionality – frame compatible formats particularly in North America and Western
Technicolor: We offer Cable, Satellite, are no issue to support and MVC is beginning Europe where a number of tier two operators
Slovenia, H1 Telekom and many more.
Netia as customers in Motorola: Middleware providers include
Eastern Europe and Microsoft Mediaroom, and Motorola’s open
Iusacell in the LATAM set-top software platform KreaTV supports a
market. Netgem’s operator variety of open source middleware solutions,
customers for its high end including Dreampark/Dream Gallery – Now
N800 media centres STBs part of Motorola Mobility; Alcatel
include incumbent Lucent/MiView TV; Orca interactive/RightTV;
Australian telco Telstra and Nokia Siemens Networks /HES (Home
Monaco Telecom. Other Entertainment System); SeaChange;
operator customers include Latens/Eco; Espial /Evo; BeeSmart; Ericsson/
Viaplay, Elisa, Melita, P&T IAP/ NanguTV; Smartlabs.
Lux and Netplus. In the Netgem: We have developed our own
B2C space, customers include middleware, NetgemTV. This offers three key
Toshiba, and Virgin Mobile France. elements: Client/Server middleware;
Technicolor: We sell everywhere in the Embedded/online applications and Heavy
world, with main US references including client STBs. In 2011 the company also intro-
DirecTV, Comcast, Insight, MediaCom, main duced nCloud, its own connected home solu-
use LATAM references including Net Servicos, Sky tion. This allows consumers to experience a
our prod- Brazil and Mexico, TV Globo, DirecTV, Cloud type environment within their home.
ucts. We’re see- TeleCentro and Telefonica, main European nCloud uses a hybrid STB as a hub to aggre-
ing increasing trac- references including Bouygues Telecom, gate broadcast content with OTT and the
tion in Latin America where TopupTV, Sky, R-Mundo, Euskatel, Sogecable, user’s own stored content and blends it into a
we’ve been active for some time and see very Viasat, RiksTV, ZON, Cabovis_o, UPC, single EPG. Content can then be served to any
interesting developments there in terms of CanalDigital, Hot Israel, Telenor, main APAC connected devices as HTML5 pages.
broadband rollout and regulatory change that customers including Austar, Bharti, TataSky, Technicolor: We partner with most middle-
is starting to drive IPTV deployments. Astro, StarHub, etc. ware vendors in the marketplace.
Arion: Our strongest region is India and TechniSat: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, TechniSat: As we are doing customised
LatAm. India was the major customer for SD Eastern Europe (PO, HU, Baltic, Balkans), solutions also there is no problem in
products but forecasts this year India will be Spain and BENELUX. implementing any middleware – for Retail we
the major region for HD products. LatAm will Euromedia: What level of support do you do also have our own middleware as well as
be a major region for hybrid STBs for next few give to CI+? S&T, OpenTV and Opera.
years. Our HD major region is Europe. Albis: We currently do not support CI+. Euromedia: What role can the STB play in a
EchoStar: Europe: Cable – Unitymedia; Amino: We can support CI+ on certain cloud-based future?
Satellite -Freesat (UK/retail); Telefónica products within our portfolio - typically the Albis: STBs can still play a role for OTT based
(South America); DTT – Freeview (UK/retail); hybrid IPTV/broadcast devices. cloud services.
IP – Slingbox (retail). Americas: Satellite - Arion: CI+ v1.1 Amino: The nature of content changes con-
DISH Network (USA), Bell TV (Canada), EchoStar: Supported. stantly - whether it is locally stored or in the
DISH Mexico; IP – retail distribution of Entone: Later this year, we will introduce the cloud. This requires a platform that can evolve
Slingbox (North America). Amulet 560 Hybrid TV Media Hub that will to meet those demands and we believe that
Entone: Entone has a strong track record and support DVB-CI+. the set-top box will continue to play critical
is ranked #2 in North America for IPTV STBs. Humax: Humax supports CI+ where role in the future. Examples of this include
We have over 100 deployments alone in North appropriate to the product and the market. Flash, HTML 5, MPEG 2 – MPEG 4 and
America, with a significant presence in Europe. Netgem: Not supported currently. HTTP streaming to HLS.
Humax: US 46%, EU 29%; DirecTV in the US. Technicolor: Supported. Arion: STBs can play a smart hub role in a
Motorola: Americas: AT&T, Bell Canada, Euromedia: Which middleware providers do cloud-based future.
Telus, TBay Tel, Surewest, Hawaiian Telecom, you partner with? EchoStar: A vital one! No one doubts that the
SDN Communications, Hotwire, Farmer’s Albis: Nokia Siemens Networks, Zappware, long term future of entertainment delivery lays
Telephone Co; EMEA: Altibox, Deutsche Beenuis, Dreampark (Motorola). On Project in the cloud, however, most industry commen-
Telekom Group, KPN, Telia Sonera, ComHem, specific requirements, we have also partnered tators and analysts forecast that ‘total’ cloud
Lyse, Maxisat, Portugal Telecom, Rostelecom, with Ericsson and Nordija. delivery remains a way off. Presently we are in
Vimpelcom, TTNET; Asia Pacific: ABN, KDDI, Amino: Use partner board. a phase of partial cloud-based or ‘hybrid’
SingTel (this is not an exhaustive list). Arion: OpenTV and Cubiware. entertainment delivery with purely cloud-
Netgem: The company is currently growing EchoStar: Alticast (MHP), Open TV/Nagra, based entertainment providers (including
its business outside of the core domestic mar- Latens, also offer own embedded software Netflix, LOVEFiLM etc) leveraging relation-
ket and aims to double its international rev- solution where middleware is not required. ships with portal providers to deliver their
enues over the next three years. Netgem’s Entone: Partners include Cubiware, Conklin, paid-for content through third party Smart
strategy targets tier one operators looking to Ericsson, Espial, Hibox, Minerva, Nokia TVs and set-top boxes. There are real techni-
upgrade their service offering and tier two/tier Siemens Networks, Nordija, SyncTV and cal, business, economic and social barriers to
three operators that can take advantage of Zappware. services being migrated fully to the cloud –
Netgem’s end-to-end solutions and short Humax: NDS, ANT, Opera, Soft@Home, including broadband capacity and line speeds.
time to market. Netgem counts Telekom OpenTV, S&T (MHEG), Alticast (MHP), and Device providers and broadcasters are looking
towards the gateway set-top model where cycle for TVs remains stubbornly around the
broadcast is used to deliver entertainment seven-year mark, while operators continue to
into the home and a ‘local cloud’ is used to innovate over shorter time frames in terms of
serve entertainment to multiple rooms, and improved set-top box performance and func-
devices inside or outside the home. Gateway tionality. We see the set-top box evolving to
remains the next step to the fully cloud-based provide more of a media/home gateway role,
future, though even in a 100% cloud-based distributing content to multiple screens around
delivery world a connected device will still be the home. All Amino products will support
required to watch content on the big screen be IPv6 – it’s a feature that has to be delivered on
it a connected TV, STB or PC etc. any connected device; and is no more of an
Entone: As more content and services become issue for STBs than for anything else.
available in the cloud, STBs will continue to Arion: Internet STBs find a place in the
have a crucial role in the home because STBs crowded world of smart devices. Subscribers
are necessary to support advanced user inter- need various smart devices and Internet STBs
faces and recommendation engines that enable will be one of their choices. IPv6 implementa-
consumers to navigate, discover and enjoy but the most developed markets is a tion technology grows quickly and it will be
huge libraries of on-demand content. These pipedream – at least for the time being. The stable for integration. Also remote control
devices will also enforce access control and huge demands Pure Cloud TV would place on changes to user-friendly design so subscribers
security measures to give content owners the bandwidth means that a Cloud infrastructure will not feel any uncomfortable to use their
confidence to make high-value content avail- will be impractical anywhere for between five Internet STBs.
able for cloud-based delivery. and twenty years, depending on the market. EchoStar: Purely Internet STBs do have a
farncombe: The cloud-based future is This means that STBs will be present in living role to play. The STB has been effectively
already here with Smart TVs offering features rooms for some time. Even when Cloud deliv- migrated to be a hybrid IP or ‘Internet’ device
like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. But even ery becomes more widespread, STBs will still combining broadcast with on demand content
in a cloud-based environment, pay-TV opera- have an important place at the centre of the delivered over the IP channel. Major brands
tors will continue to provide managed devices connected home as media servers, the most like Apple and Google have invested heavily in
– a ‘STB’ with a new name – to their sub- cost-effective way for operators to aggregate Internet TV offerings, In order to gain a high-
scribers to ensure security and to manage the and deliver content for multi-screen services. er level of market share, such Internet-only
user experience and quality of their service. S3 Group: In a cloud-based future, we expect devices need to approach the hybrid world
Humax: Legal and regulatory issues are the the STB to become more powerful and capable and deliver multichannel television in addi-
greatest threat to cloud-based products. of running full hardware-accelerated browser tion to Internet only on-demand services.
However, the idea that the IDTV will replace functionality. It will also serve as a gateway That’s certainly the way in which EchoStar is
the STB is probably erroneous. There is mas- between home content and cloud content from taking its Internet TV/Android development.
sive fragmentation in the TV market from a the web. Content will flow both ways as the What remains key is making the consumer
technology perspective and in addition to this user requires. experience a simple and seamless one with
TV manufacturers want to maintain their Technicolor: STBs will keep playing a key such Internet services available through an
control over the user experience. The operator role in the future, from final decoder up to aggregated platform.
will likely still maintain set-top boxes in order whole-home video distribution server combin- Entone: Internet STBs are optimised to sup-
to control the user experience but they will ing personal, pay-TV, and OTT content. port high speed, rich graphical user interface
become greatly simplified products. TechniSat: STB can be used as remote centre and navigation, and advanced content for-
MoCA: The STB can be the hub or gateway for the whole house to have access to the mats. Blu-ray players, game consoles and TVs
for edge devices providing in-home capabili- cloud and all the content – but we think that have some similar capabilities but carry signif-
ties closer to the CPE. tablets and mobiles will become more impor- icant cost overhead attributed to their other
Motorola: The STB is getting smarter and tant in this area if it is not in connection with functions. As such, it is more cost-effective to
more connected, its role is rapidly evolving. VOD or OTT. upgrade an Internet STB to support new con-
This evolution will see a transition from hybrid Euromedia: Can ‘Internet STBs’ find a place tent formats, super high-resolution displays,
IP video gateway leading to an all IP Gateway. in the crowded world of connected Blu-rays, 3D, etc. Much like today’s mobile phone, we
We see this type of gateway becoming the Smart TVs, and provider-based OTT packages? see consumers upgrading Internet STBs on a
entertainment hub in the Living Room, the Is IPv6 implementation an issue for STBs? regular basis and much more often than other
centre of IP connected home of future. It will Albis: Service providers’ business models can more costly devices. All of Entone’s Hybrid TV
feed content from a variety of sources to a mul- still benefit from STBs in order to bundle, devices support IPv6.
titude of devices, allowing consumers to view, differentiate and brand their services. This is farncombe: We believe the real change will
record, or play video on any networked device always not the case for consumer electronic be the decline of the retail STB market as the
– TV, tablet, smartphone, gaming console – in devises. For Linux based STBs, IPv6 functions these devices offer become widely
any room, seamlessly. Our service provide cus- implementation is not an issue. available through smart TVs, connected games
tomers understand how a powerful combina- Amino: Certainly. Our customers see the STB consoles and Blu-ray players.
tion of hardware and software maximizes as a critical element in securing and retaining Humax: Internet STBs can find a place in the
infrastructure investment to deliver anytime, customers. Consistent quality of experience connected TV environment, although the issue
anyplace, on any screen content experience will remain a key factor in service provider of content fragmentation remains. Not every-
consumers crave. offerings – alongside the continued strong con- one wants to own a Blu-ray and the majority
Netgem: We recognise that rationale for the sumer demand for quality content. Despite the of the population has already purchased a
broadcast industry moving to a pure Cloud continued growth in smart TV sales, usage non-smart TV. IPv6 needs better support from
model makes a lot of sense. However, this rates of ‘connected’ functionality remain low – ISPs in order to progress.
becoming a mass-market reality in anywhere particularly in the UK. Plus the replacement Motorola: See above.
Netgem: The current generation of connected tomer demands and thus reduce churn. complement the current pay-TV packages. The
CE devices do not offer the slickness or the S3 Group: Internet STBs are cheap, simple ability to combine both in a consistent, inte-
ease of use that are provided by pay-TV servic- and disposable items which can be upgraded grated, and rich consumer experience would
es. Although there have been some develop- regularly by the user and can support multiple bring significant value to the consumers. IPv6
ments, it is still incredibly inefficient for rooms at a low cost. Smart TVs have a basic is a natural trend for the whole devices world-
developers to have to create apps for each and issue in that they attach a rapidly evolving wide. Technicolor has been at the forefront on
every platform and making multi-screen serv- component (Internet STB hardware and soft- integrating IPv6 in its home gateways, paving
ices work still demands a high level of techni- ware) to a component with a much longer the way for a good return of experience to
cal competence that is beyond all but the most lifespan i.e. the TV display panel. Most Smart apply to the STBs.
committed AV geeks. By comparison, the plug TV functionality will be obsolete long before TechniSat: Connected Blu-Rays will not
and play STB technologies offered by pay-TV the TV reaches end of life. We recommend become very successful in regard to VoD serv-
operators offer a far superior experience and that customers consider IPv6 for all new STB ices available with SmartTV or Internet STB.
access to a range of premium content that is deployments. It depends on the geography but Pure Internet STBs are fine but only on FTA –
not available through OTT services on other in the next few years IPv6 may well become a in regard to Operator business I think they
devices. Our hybrid STBs have been designed necessity and it is better to be prepared than will be more work with limited access to get a
specifically to offer operators the best of both to miss the boat. higher ARPU with their own offers of V0D,
worlds, they offer a fully controllable, branded Technicolor: The advent of ‘OTT boxes (e.g. OTT etc. – in this perspective the SmartTV is
and curated environment that can be updated Vizio, Google, Apple) prove the need to better also more useful for non – operator dominat-
with additional online services to meet cus- embrace the OTT offering (apps, content) to ed markets or the CAM does limit some func-
IHS: End of STB television services on the will represent only about one more recent distributions.
device of their choosing, third of the 849m in 2015. Among the other platforms,
domination rather than being limited to Multiscreen is defined as a Microsoft’s Xbox has also
looms using STBs,” said Tom service that allows the view- been a focus for the pay-TV
The set-top box is not set to Morrod, senior principal ana- ing of video on multiple plat- companies, along with Smart
be on top for very much lyst, TV Technology, for IHS. forms beyond the traditional TVs from Samsung and LG.
longer—at least for one seg- “Consumers desire greater mode of televisions connect- By 2015, 11 pay-TV opera-
ment of the pay-TV industry, flexibility, demanding access ed to STBs. The multiscreen tors will be supporting con-
according to analyst firm IHS to entertainment on any plat- device category comprises a tent and subscribers on more
Screen Digest. form, in any location and at range of products, including multiscreen devices than on
In 2015, 49% - or nearly any time. Because of this, smartphones, media tablets, their own set-top boxes.
half of all devices obtaining cable, satellite and IPTV oper- portable media devices, video For example, Bell Canada,
television services from 43 of ators are shifting their focus game consoles, personal com- which has a very strong
the largest global pay-TV away from the STB and puters and Internet-enabled strategy for delivery of servic-
operators that have com- toward multiscreen deploy- televisions (IETVs). es to its mobile subscribers,
menced deployment of multi- ment. For the 43 major opera- PCs in 2011 were the most will be supporting almost
screen services—will be PCs, tors tracked by IHS Screen common devices associated eight times as many phones
smartphones, tablets and Digest that have deployed with multiscreen pay-TV and tablets in 2015 than
other so-called multiscreen multiscreen services, this deployments. In second place STBs. Multiscreen devices will
devices, up from just 18% in means that multiscreen were devices based on Apple account for 89% of Bell
2011, according to the IHS devices will supplant STBs as Inc.’s iOS operating system, Canada’s total consumer end-
Screen Digest TV Multiscreen the leading pay-TV access i.e., iPhones, iPads and the points, defined as the number
Intelligence service at infor- devices by 2016.” iPod touch. However, by of devices used by sub-
mation and analytics provider The global installed base 2015, the number of iOS scribers of the Canadian oper-
IHS. Meanwhile, STBs will of pay-TV STBs associated devices accessing pay-TV ator in order to access its
decline to just 51% of pay-TV with multiscreen operators services will rise by nearly pay-TV content.
operator devices in 2015, will amount to 321.7m units 800%, while PCs will expand Operators with larger STB
down from 82% in 2011, as in 2015, up 17% from 274.5m by only about half that rate. installed bases, such as BSkyB
presented in the figure on in 2011. Meanwhile, multi- Hot on the heels of iOS will in the U.K., also are expected
page 22 . screen devices actively receiv- be Android, whose base of to perform well, tipping the
This means that in 2016, ing pay-TV services will rise to devices connected to pay-TV scale with approximately 1.5
STBs will relinquish their 310.1m, up more than 400% will grow by more than devices per STB installed in
customary position as the from 60.1m in 2011. 1,200%. In the Android mar- 2015. The strength of BSkyB’s
near-exclusive video con- The total installed base of ket, the increasing availability Sky Go and Now TV strategies
sumption device among the STBs is actually much larger, of smartphones with larger will make the company a
43 major cable, satellite and when incorporating pay-TV screens and the rising ship- majority IP-to-multiscreen
Internet protocol television providers that aren’t engag- ments of tablets will propel device operator by that time.
(IPTV) providers that are ing in the deployment of mul- the expanding use of pay-TV. In the US cable market,
proceeding with multiscreen tiscreen services. The multi- The leading pay-TV opera- where STB deployments are
deployments. screen operators accounted tors so far have focused on most widespread, Comcast
“A new era is dawning in for only about one half of the PCs and iOS in their first- will be nudging toward having
the pay-TV industry, one in global total of 538.8m phase multiscreen deploy- one Xfinity or Streampix
which subscribers can access installed STBs in 2011, and ments, followed by Android in device per set-top box.
tions as well – foremost cable operators are Technicolor: We have a dedicated team at
not very interested in a full internet access to the forefront of the energy efficiency, pushing
their customers as they will not earn money recommendations for standardisation.
on their additional offers. In regard to purely TechniSat: Our STB are already compliant to
IPTV, we are not sure as some countries are EU regulations – most of them are do not
not really prepared in regard to infrastructure need <0,3W in Standby.
an FTTX so that pure IPTV offers can become Euromedia: Any other observations and
the dominant way of transmission on the mar- predictions for the STB market?
ket (think about 40m people watching football Albis: Managed operator environments bene-
at the same time via Internet only!). fit from the customisation and feature differ-
Euromedia: What steps have been taken to entiation enabled by STBs, plus STBs still play
ensure energy efficiency and device sustain- Motorola: We have designed our new a key role for QoS and QoE.
ability? generation of global television set-tops to Arion: STB markets will be more diversified.
Albis: Our STBs comply with two key direc- meet our customers’ needs for reduced energy It is meaningless to distinguish between STB
tives: Code of Conduct on Energy Efficiency consumption, less packaging and easier recy- and TV or blue rays because the convergence
V8 (IEC 62301:2011, mod. and EN cling. Our latest VIP Series IPTV set-tops use between them has already happened.
50564:2011) and Voluntary Industry advanced power management technology, EchoStar: In general, the market remains in
Agreement to Improve the Energy which saves almost a quarter of the power good shape with great anticipation surround-
Consumption of Complex Set-top Boxes with- required by the previous models. We also ing the launch of media gateways.
in the European Community. reduced CO2 emissions in distribution by Entone: Entone believes the future TV experi-
Amino: We are a signatory to the Voluntary shrinking the size and weight of the unit and ence will combine the best of linear TV, DVR,
Agreement: our STB products conform to the providing online instructions instead of paper premium content delivered via IP, personal
latest specification requirements. This ensures manuals. Overall, based on an independent media sharing and management, and content
that products are designed to be energy lifecycle assessment, we achieved an estimated mobility. As such, STBs are evolving from
efficient. 12% to 20% carbon footprint reduction for the being simple terminal devices to the hub of the
Arion: All products are certified by the CE QIP range compared with the previous gener- networked home. The key is to enable a seam-
association. Our R&D has managed the inde- ation, factoring in all stages of the product less user experience – making it simple for
pendent department for improving device sus- lifecycle, from manufacturing through trans- users to access a wide variety of professionally
tainability. portation and use. produced content and personal media via a
EchoStar: EchoStar follows applicable Netgem: All STBs offer power consumption consistent UI and a single remote control.
European legislation to reduce power consump- of 13W or lower and 1W or below in stand-by farncombe: The STB is evolving will one day
tion in connected devices. EchoStar’s latest mode. bear little resemblance to the boxes we are
product launched in retail – the Ultra Slim Box Pace: Pace is the leader in promoting energy familiar with today. Even the name is likely to
– operates below 1 watt in low power mode. efficient STBs, being one of the instigators in change – and this is not just a marketing ploy
Entone: Our DeepSleep technology greatly the European Voluntary Agreement on energy but a true reflection that these boxes rarely sit
reduces power consumption by over 95% efficiency of STBs, the EU code of conduct on on top of our TV sets even today. Most likely
when a device is in standby mode. This energy efficiency of STBs, the US Energy Star the STB will be re-branded as its role includes
amounts to significant savings in energy costs programme for STBs and the current initiative becoming a ‘home gateway’ or ‘wireless gate-
and further reduces carbon emissions. to set up a voluntary programme in the USA way’ and perhaps it will take on this moniker.
Humax: Humax is a core member of the for energy efficient STBs, all of which drive But when an operator provides the device as
CSTB EC VA which strives to drive down down energy consumption. We have a Pace part of its package, pay-TV will remain a core
power consumption of pay-TV products. ‘banned substances’ list which exceeds the services offered through this device.
Humax has already exceeded the targets for requirements of the RoHS and similar Humax: The home gateway server will proba-
standby efficiency set by government and con- Directives and our supply chain complies with bly become a ‘headless’ product instead of a
tinues to maintain interest in beating targets. the Dodd-frank act on conflict minerals. big digital TV recorder.
MoCA: We have focused on the availability of S3Group: Energy consumption is a system MoCA: The STB does not go away in terms of
power modes - including on/off, sleep, stand- design issue for a networked STB and must be functionality, though it may eventually cease
by – as well as a general integration with solved by making sound decisions about the to exist as a specific product category. It
other devices in use, all of which must address total end-to-end network design rather than evolves into a gateway or some other hub or
energy efficiency. just one component such as the STB. central receive and distribution point. It can’t
APAC 50% of access to hundreds of Operators in these ecosystem of set-top box
STB market international channels and a developing markets are for manufacturers, coupled with
A jump in cable and satellite few HD services for the first very low costs boxes. Set-top CAS vendors China Digital TV
set-top box shipments in time. Asia-Pacific and Eastern box manufacturers are look- and Sumavision,” according
Asia-Pacific markets is being Europe’s growth in set-top ing to decrease BOM costs by to Rosen. “Meanwhile, India is
driven by cable digitisation in box units will outstrip those using in-house CAS solutions struggling to enable an
India and China, as well as of the rest of the world in the and low cost SoCs optimised ecosystem of local manufac-
China’s rollout of digital next five years,” suggests with lower-powered CPUs that turers, as well as to get
satellite boxes to its rural Sam Rosen, practice director support HD video, but only adequate supply of boxes to
households. “Digital transi- of TV and video at ABI simpler graphical user inter- meet an unrealistic digitisa-
tions are bringing consumers Research. faces. “China has a robust tion timeframe.”
go away entirely, even with a move to the the expense of traditional middleware. Value gy-advanced, whole-home solutions to con-
cloud, as too much functionality and services will still be added to the STB through custom sumers who are very sensitive to the quality of
are being demanded by subscribers from the functionality and enhancements aimed at the content and the experience.
service providers. There will always have to be improving the quality of experience, as well as TechniSat: Smart functionality becomes more
some CPE in the home to access, process, cap- by the addition of comprehensive content pro- and more important – but the average con-
ture, monitor and distribute services as need- tection features. Increasingly we will see oper- sumer only interested in Linear TV and maybe
ed and demanded. ators benefiting from interoperability with some kind of additional value such as HbbTV
Netgem: Advances such as adaptive bitrate other user devices rather than focusing purely or MHEG5 should not be forgotten – the chal-
streaming mean that Internet delivery of on the traditional walled garden approach. It lenge for all industry partners is that the con-
streaming content is now becoming a mass- will become a must-have to enable access to sumer does not take care where his content
market proposition for broadcast services. content through other devices such as tablets, comes from, but that it is available – and that
Recent deployments such as the Viaplay Box, Smart TVs and PCs. This implies a strong the UI can be navigated as easy as possible
that uses OTT to deliver premium linear chan- gateway function for the STB in the future. without differentiating if you are in the Internet
nels, highlights that the broadcast and tele- Technicolor: STB is and remains an attrac- or using content via DVB-C/S/T. Also, the
coms industries are starting to converge. tive market, and is poised to evolve by taking Multiroom/Multiscreen topic will be more and
S3 Group: Web and browser technologies into account the seamless inclusion of OTT more important as well as the usage of a STB as
and open standards will begin to dominate at content and applications, delivering technolo- Mediaserver for the whole connected home.
Global shipments services. The ability to incor- growth through to 2013, to sustain global growth.
will flatten out porate these boxes within with smaller regions including In Western Europe, cable
home networking infrastruc- Eastern Europe and Latin represents the largest propor-
Following several years of tures and their compatibility America growing from 16% tion of pay-TV homes and
healthy growth, demand STBs with portable devices pro- to 18% and 4% to 6% close to half of all pay-STB
continues to climb this year, vides the ability to roll out respectively. demand, and the continuing
on track to reach 228m units services that allow the control Asia Pacific has witnessed migration to digital services
shipped globally, according to of in-home lighting, tempera- tremendous demand and will drive cable STB growth
research from Futuresource ture and security. Such offer- growth, with India’s satellite through to 2014. However,
Consulting. However, as ings are expected to become industry and growing digital cable operators are losing a
demand from maturing pay- increasingly widespread due cable base and China’s cable proportion of their analogue
TV markets like North to the competitive nature of sector driving much of the subscribers to alternative pay
America and Western Europe the market and slowing video volume in the region. Asia platforms and FTA services.
begins to slow, the mar- Overall cable
ket will start to see subscribers will fall over
moderate decline over the forecast period, in
the next few years. turn negatively affecting
Despite this, STBs long-term demand for
will remain a core com- STBs.
ponent of the pay-TV In North America, the
industry’s service saturated pay-TV mar-
proposition as opera- ket continues to lose
tors utilise the box to subscribers quarter on
exploit existing services quarter, negatively
and look beyond the affecting demand for
delivery of video to improve related revenues forcing oper- Pacific however represents a STBs, resulting in a 4% fall
subscriber retention and grow ators to embrace new growth short term opportunity for the over the forecast period.
revenues. opportunities,” says Carl STB industry as subscriber Revenue however will be sus-
Leading manufacturers are Hibbert, Head of Broadcast growth is beginning to slow tained as operators move to
launching a new generation of Research at Futuresource. in comparison to previous more advanced set top boxes
STBs labelled as media gate- On the video front, facili- years, although with India’s allowing for the roll-out of
ways or smart boxes, notes tated by enhanced broadband cable digitalisation initiative, more sophisticated services
Futuresource Consulting. This performance, pay-TV opera- demand will continue to be that will attract new revenue
new generation of STBs offers tors are beginning to incorpo- high. streams from subscribers.
features such as transcoding, rate IP not only to enhance Latin America represents a The brave new world of the
wireless routing, multi-plat- existing services to the big long-term growth opportunity next generation STB will
form content management, screen, but also to boost con- for the STB sector with an undoubtedly be the key driver
media distribution and multi- tent delivery to multiple abundance of new pay-TV in this market moving
room delivery. devices including tablets and services rolling out in the forwards. Operators are
“The roll out of these new smartphones. region, analogue to digital compelled to offer higher
boxes comes at a time when Regionally, growth oppor- conversion of cable value service propositions to
the saturation of subscriber tunities are still present. Asia subscribers and the roll-out of consumers, and the advanced
bases in mature markets is Pacific, which is expected to new free to air digital servic- features delivered by these
resulting in the need to devel- represent 45% of global es, but the region is unlikely new STBs will be fundamental
op new non-video related shipments in 2012, will see to provide sufficient demand to future success.