Arris' Stanzione: Set-top isn't getting 'ditched' anytime soon

While Arris executives definitely prefer the NCTA-backed "Ditch the Box" counter-proposal over the FCC's "Unlock the Box" NPRM, the company messaged emphatically during its second-quarter earnings call Wednesday that the pay-TV set-top box isn't getting ditched anytime soon.

"Set-top boxes are not going away," Arris CEO Bob Stanzione said. "We've said that, and we've had trouble getting folks to believe that, but I think the evidence right here is that set-top boxes are not going away. We are designing new next-generation set-tops for major cable operators around the world as we speak, and we believe that video set-tops will remain a significant component of our business for quite some time into the future."

Arris executives touted their recent deployments of 4K-capable set-tops, specifically noting the launch of the HEVC-capable ZD4500 with NOS in Portugal.

Arris CPE-division President Larry Robinson voiced support for the pay-TV industry's app-based "Ditch the Box" counter-proposal.

"It looks as if a more reasonable approach is being considered by the FCC with respect to the original unlock the box proposal," he said. "And while the headlines remain challenging at times, it seems that a framework is gaining traction and as we previously discussed, is aligned with our thinking around the evolution of CPE within the home and the required investment in the network."

That evolution into an apps-based paradigm is going to take some time, Stanzione added.

"There's clearly an evolution going on within video devices, and a lot of new things have been shown recently such as the app-based approach using other devices than traditional set-tops," he said. "Nevertheless, those have not penetrated the market very much yet. Over the next three, four, five years, we expect that evolution to continue."

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