Report: STB shipments expected to rise through 2017

By Jim O'Neill on Dec 09 2016 at 6:00 AM

New research says worldwide set-top box shipments will increase slightly this year to 273 million from 269 million in 2015.

In addition to the growth of satellite units, cable shipments are also expected to increase modestly. DTT and IP STB demand remains relatively flat, according to researcher SNL Kagan in its annual look at the STB market.

Demand for STBs is projected to rise slightly in 2017, with shipments reaching 275 million before tapering off in 2018 as growth in pay-TV households slows and the use of alternative devices -- including smart TVs and streaming media devices – continues to increase.

While SNL Kagan is projecting total STB unit shipments to decrease further in 2018 and 2019, the company also acknowledges that demand for STB products will remain robust for the next several years, with global shipments forecast to exceed 261 million in 2020.

But the era of high-cost STBs is coming to a close as production efficiencies and decreasing component prices lower average sale price on high-end units; that’s going to mean lower revenues. For 2016, forecasts show a decline in worldwide STB revenue of about 6% on sales of $16.4 billion.

Chinese vendor Huawei has become the world’s largest STB manufacturer, shipping about 26 million units last year. Skyworth had the second-largest total at 25 million units. Both moved ahead of 2015’s largest vendor, Technicolor, which has seen demand for its satellite boxes decline slightly. ARRIS saw a 13% drop in shipments in 2016, moving into 4th place, hit hardest by reduced demand in the North American cable market. Pace, Changhong and Yinhe rounded out the top seven manufacturers.

Stay tuned.

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