According to a recent report, last year one out of every 10 pay TV households had access to applications on set-top boxes, including apps for news and information services, service provider specific apps, over-the-top (OTT) video, games, and music services.

By 2019, nearly 40 percent of pay TV households should have access to similar services and features, according to ABI Research’s report on set-top box applications. The report said that video would still be the primary focus for entertainment apps and that consumers’ appetite for OTT video underscored the importance of video and how operator application libraries would evolve.

Currently IPTV operators, such as AT&T, Verizon, Free, and Orange, have the early market advantage for applications on set-top boxes, but the report said the cable operators and satellite providers were starting to gain momentum, thanks to technologies like HTML5.

The report mentioned that Comcast’s X1/X2 platform was expanding the role and penetration of application platforms to households across the nation. Comcast has X1 deployed across its entire footprint and has been updating it with X2. Comcast could further that penetration via licensing deals similar to Comcast and Cox’s recent talks, or through the acquisition of Time Warner Cable

Liberty Global’s Horizon platform was another noteworthy service with wider regional presence, according to ABI.

“While a number of operators garner significant media attention, a great deal of activity is happening behind the scenes in the B2B market,” said practice director, Sam Rosen. “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.”

“In addition companies like Opera and ACCESS, which have established strong positions in the CE and mobile spaces are also targeting the pay TV markets – helping developers reach a wider audience,” added senior analyst Michael Inouye.