Report: STB sales soften; pockets of opportunity exist

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 10:43am
Mike Robuck

Despite setting a record last year for global shipments of set-top boxes, the softened economy has caught up with the set-top box sector, although there are still some growth opportunities out there.

According to research firm In-Stat, set-top box growth slowed significantly last year despite the record, and this year sales are on track to decline for the first time since 2002.

Despite the chilling effects of the economy, the report said regional markets in Europe and Latin America were poised for growth. In Europe, the growth is due to the demand for HD set-top boxes, while analog-to-digital conversions are spurring the unit shipment growth in Latin America.

"Even in a soft year, the cable set-top box market continues to offer solid growth opportunities for cable set-top box manufacturers," said In-State principal analyst Mike Paxton. "This is particularly true if manufacturers target emerging regional markets or if they focus on high-margin product categories like HD or PVR-enabled cable set-top boxes."

New research by In-Stat revealed the following:

  • Worldwide digital cable set-top box unit shipments were forecast to decrease to 44.1 million in 2010, down 8 percent from 2009.
  • Low-cost digital terminal adapter (DTA) devices are having a big impact on the U.S. cable market. In-Stat is forecasting that more than 7 million DTA devices will ship in 2010.
  • The value of semiconductor components used in cable set-top box products was $2.8 billion in 2009, only fractionally higher than in 2008.
  • In 2009, the top three digital cable set-top box manufacturers in total unit shipments were (in rank order) Motorola, Cisco Systems and Technicolor (formerly Thomson).
  • However, the combined market share of the top three manufacturers decreased to 41 percent of total worldwide unit shipments, down from 50 percent in 2008.



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