Pay TV Operators are at the top of the set-top box food chain, with
hardware OEMs and semiconductor vendors both functioning in a supporting
role. The largest operators are responsible for the functional
definition and direction, and have significant ownership over at least
the logical layers of the implementation. Multi-source supply
agreements, in which operators purchase functionally equivalent units
from multiple vendors, are the norm today. Therefore, operators have
multiple bids whenever they need to purchase new units.
"The current large scale pay TV operators we are seeing, including
Comcast-Time Warner, AT&T-DirecTV, and Liberty Global's acquisition of
Virgin Media and Ziggo, will in the long term better align set-top box
requirements across larger markets," notes ABI Research practice
director Sam Rosen. "Hybrid set-top boxes, which leverage cable or
satellite as well as IP capabilities, have largely become the norm in
mature markets - but will be more important from a service delivery
perspective especially as the result of the AT&T-DirecTV merger." ADB
Global and Netgem, two European OMs collectively responsible for only
3% of the market, are two vendors who have led truly multi-network boxes.
RDK, a joint venture of Comcast, Time Warner and Liberty Global, is
developing a shared source operating system for set-top boxes. "Similar
to the impact of Android in the smartphone market, RDK will improve
compatibility between different hardware boxes and even down to the
set-top box chipset level," continued Rosen. "While today's set-top box
market is highly fragmented, these common platforms will enable
efficiencies leading both consolidation through further mergers and
acquisitions, but will also force some natural consolidation."
These findings are part of ABI Research's "Set-top Box Opportunities and
Leaders" and found in the Set-Top
Box and Home Networks and Multiscreen
Video Middleware and DRM Market Research.
ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of
trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From
offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research's worldwide team
of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and
advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com,
or call +1.516.624.2500.
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