Set-top Box Shipments Up 9% in 2009 Despite Global Slowdown

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010
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Shipments of digital set-top boxes (STBs) and DVRs topped 200 million in 2009 as close to 50 million TV households adopted free-to-air (FTA) and pay-digital services. According to the recently-published IMS Research report The World Market for Digital Set-top Boxes & iDTVs – 2010 Edition, the official count of 204 million STBs shipped in 2009 is within one percent of the shipment number originally forecast by IMS Research in the 2009 Edition of The World Market for Digital Set-top Boxes & iDTVs.

Growth in 2009 set-top box shipments can be attributed to analog terrestrial switch-off (ASO) in the United States and strong demand in emerging markets such as China and India. More than 27 million digital terrestrial set-top boxes, or 13% of world shipments, were shipped to the United States in 2009. Close to 30% of STBs shipped in 2009 went to Brazil, China, India, and Russia.

The world STB market has shifted slightly in response to the global economic slowdown, notes analyst Anna Maxbauer, co-author of The Worldwide Market for Digital Set-top Boxes & iDTVs. “Contractions of disposable income meant fewer households were able to adopt digital TV or upgrade to advanced services in 2009. Many operators delayed equipment upgrades, modified pricing, or focused on enhancing bundled offerings as a result.”

Demand for set-top boxes will remain strong in 2010, notes Maxbauer. “China’s digital cable and FTA satellite projects, digitization of TV households in emerging markets, and imminent ASOs in Europe will require tens of millions of additional set-top boxes in the next 18 months.”