Thanks to reduced capital expenditures by cable operators, 2002 will mark the first time digital cable set-top shipments and revenue will drop since the boxes were first introduced in 1996, In-Stat/MDR discloses in a new report.
Specially, In-Stat (a sister company to CED) forecasts that worldwide digital set-top unit shipments will drop 30 percent this year to just north of 10.1 million, compared to 14.4 million units shipped in 2001. Likewise, revenues will dip to $2.3 billion this year, compared to $2.9 billion in 2001. Falling unit prices are also contributing to that figure, In-Stat notes.
North America, the research firm adds, will remain the primary market for the equipment, representing 80 percent of all unit shipments this year. In-Stat also projects that Motorola Broadband will hold onto its market-leading position, and actually increase its share to 55 percent in 2002, compared to 50 percent in 2001. Scientific-Atlanta Inc. will also retain its No. 2 ranking with 29 percent of the market.
The drop hasn't stopped set-top makers from introducing a spate of new products and plans for new set-top models. Several box makers, including Motorola Broadband, S-A, Pace Micro Technology and Pioneer Electronics, have announced products that include hard drives for on-board digital video recorders and enhancements that enable the boxes to handle high-definition television signals. Motorola Broadband and S-A are also collaborating with Digeo Inc. on a new breed of "media centers" designed to deliver digital interactive applications and services to multiple televisions in a household.