While fourth-quarter spending on infrastructure equipment by cable and IPTV operators was down overall, VOD server and edge QAM sales were still robust.
Infonetics Research recently released its fourth-quarter reports on market share and forecasts for video infrastructure and set-top boxes.
“In the ongoing battle between cable and telco IPTV operators, both continue to spend furiously to add video-on-demand and streaming content server capacity to support the rollout of on-demand HD content and provide start-over and remote storage-digital video recorder services, all of which require the delivery of unicast streams to set-top boxes,” said Jeff Heynen, Infonetics Research's directing analyst for broadband and video. “This aggressive move to full unicast models for video delivery is driving strong growth in video-on-demand and streaming content servers.
“While telco, cable, and satellite operators all saw sustained video subscriber growth in 2009, it certainly was not at the growth rates of years past, so operators held off on more significant infrastructure investments, resulting in a down year for video infrastructure overall outside of VOD servers and edge QAMs,"
Worldwide video infrastructure revenue held steady from the third quarter of last year to the fourth quarter at $625 million, with all segments up except for video content protection.
For the full-year 2009, video infrastructure revenue decreased 11 percent to $2.5 billion. Worldwide video-on-demand and streaming content server revenue increased 60 percent from 2008 to 2009, and Infonetics said they would continue to increase over the next four quarters.
Segments that were up included VOD and streaming content servers, video encoders, IPTV middleware and content delivery platforms, edge QAMs, digital cable middleware and satellite video middleware.
Other video infrastructure findings included:
- While 3-D TV is expected to be popular for particular content, primarily movies and sporting events, it will have little impact on how operators spend to deliver 3-D content, except for devices that improve access network bandwidth, such as edge QAMs for cable operators. Set-top boxes and displays will have to include increased processing power to correctly display 3-D video.
- Huawei leads the video-on-demand and streaming content server market, followed by Cisco.
- There were 417 million cable video subscribers worldwide in 2009; that number is expected to hold steady through at least 2014 as standard cable video subscribers switch over to digital cable video.
As for set-top boxes, Infonetics said Motorola was the worldwide set-top box market share leader, followed by Cisco and Pace. Worldwide total set-top box revenue grew 7 percent in the fourth quarter, following a dismal third quarter.
For STBs, Infonetics’ findings included:
- The number of video subscribers increased across the board in the fourth quarter, and more existing subscribers also upgraded to premium HD and DVR set-top boxes, a trend likely to continue.
- For the full-year 2009, worldwide STB revenue reached $11.2 billion, a 5 percent decrease from 2008, as macroeconomic conditions tempered subscriber growth, especially among North American and European cable operators.
- Infonetics predicts the STB market will bounce back this year.