Set-top box future remains present concern

Following last week's IPTV World Forum in London, the Financial Times offered an analysis of the evolving (or is it still dying?) set-top box market, and discussed the growing threat presented by Internet-connected TVs.

The concern about the future of set-top boxes will sound like nothing new to the cable TV industry, where set-tops have been seen for years as having a limited future potential amid the rise of Internet TVs, residential gateways and other offerings. Yet, the set-top box, while far different from the set-top box that sat atop your 19-inch living room TV 20 years ago, often can still be found in its accustomed spot.

In part, the new talk about the death of the set-top box is being inspired by rumors that companies like Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) (which acquired Motorola's (NYSE: MMI) set-top box business) want out of the market. The Financial Times also points out that some set-top box vendors may not be so lucky as the market gets squeezed, though it is clear that companies like Amino are embracing the hybrid TV trend, while traditional set-top box giants like Pace (LSE: PIC) fortify themselves with acquisition of technologies that will be increasingly important to keeping set-tops viable. The last line of the Financial Times story, in any case, should read like an affirmation for anyone in this sector.

For more:
- here's the Financial Times report (reg. req.)

Related articles:
FierceCable put Cisco on the hot seat last week
Amino debuted its Freedom Live gateway last week

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