IPTV service providers are not content with just any wireless connections coming from their set-top boxes. They're demanding 802.11ac, a potent version of the current 802.11n Wi-Fi standard that can deliver speeds from 433 Mbps to multiple Gbps.
The emerging standard, which works in the 5 GHz band, could replace wired gigabit Ethernet networking, its proponents say.
According to Infonetics Research's latest service provider survey, that promise is enough for IPTV service providers, which showed an increasing interest (from 6 percent today to 67 percent in 2015) in moving to 802.11ac.
This presents something of a conundrum for set-top box makers, who can never afford to be too far ahead of the adoption curve, the research firm pointed out.
"For set-top box vendors the challenge is finding the right balance between adding new technologies and features while reducing costs to meet service providers' demands and remain competitive," Jeff Heynen, principal analyst, broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics said in a press release. "Vendors need to build standard solutions instead of custom ones for each service provider."
Aside from advancing technologies, the STB vendors also need to customize, to an extent, offerings targeted to specific markets.
"In China and India, low-cost IP functionality and more localized content are enough to meet customers' needs but in North America and Western Europe there's a growing appetite for more advanced STBs, like video gateways which require a higher bill-of-materials cost and the addition of more advanced features," Heynen said.
Once the technology is built, it must serve a purpose. Infonetics said that 67 percent of respondents--up from 61 percent in 2013--believe that remote programming via tablet or mobile device is the top application for an IP set-top box.
- see this press release
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