The global market for set-top boxes (STBs) for IPTV and other services may still have a few years of growth left, but after 2012, annual STB shipments probably will begin to decline, according to a new report from ABI Research. Sales of basic STBs are already sliding, and with more functions, such as ad insertion, likely to be embedded in network gear, the STB may gradually--and rightly--lose its center of power over digital TV services.
Possible evolving alternatives to traditional STBs include residential gateways and highly-functional gaming devices like the Xbox 360. Also, the funneling of Internet video directly to TVs out-fitted with Internet access also may play a role in the STB's demise.
- Telephony has this report
ABI Research earlier predicted IPTV operator investments will shift
Microsoft has long been positioning the Xbox 360 as a set-top box