Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Europe and Hybrid Set-tops

The market for set-top boxes (STBs) in Europe has gotten a major boost from the transition to digital services. Terrestrial television is still a major source of video for viewers in major Western European markets, including France, Italy, Spain, and the U.K., where over 40% of television viewership rely on terrestrial services.

Healthy adoption rates of DTT (digital terrestrial television) in Europe, where Spain in particular has been at the forefront, are opening new markets for STBs. These aren’t standard STBs but hybrid receivers capable of receiving signals from multiple sources and providing access to paid content. The most popular STB version so far offers a mixture of IPTV and DTT, which European telcos have been employing to offer low-cost television service for consumers not interested in bundling pay television with other services.

As noted in the Parks Associates report Set-top Boxes: Outlook, the growing presence of the STB is an important step in the development of the digital home ecosystem, as this device is evolving into the primary point of entry for television services, and service providers worldwide are upgrading equipment within their installed bases to support advanced digital television services.

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