Survey: Operators looking for more robust STBs as consumer demand evolves

High-definition TV has become so ubiquitous for consumers, that service providers now rank it as one of the top features required in a set-top box, a new survey  from Infonetics Research said.

The survey also debunked a common belief that video conferencing was a necessary feature of STBs, saying "although we often hear about video conferencing as an application for IPTV services, it is not rated highly by many respondents."

It is clear, however, that STB vendors are being asked to up their game as operators look to increase their ARPU in an increasingly competitive environment by offering add-on services.

"Although low-cost set-top boxes designed to deliver basic video services over broadband infrastructure were the hallmark of IPTV services, strong competition and the need to increase ARPU have led to significant changes in STB design over the years," said Teresa Mastrangelo, directing analyst for video at Infonetics. "The STB remains the most visible point of interaction between subscribers and IPTV providers and is a key component to an operator's success. In our recent STB survey, service providers rated STB features most important to them, which include support for HDMI inputs for 1080p picture quality, integrated hard drive for PVR support, USB inputs for external memory, the use of SoCs (system-on-a-chip) in the design, and environmentally friendly features."

The survey also found that:

  • Ethernet is the preferred technology for delivering video to multiple devices in the home;
  • In an open-ended question asking carriers which vendors they consider to be the top three IP STB manufacturers, Motorola finished at the top of the list, followed by Cisco; and,
  • Amino is the most installed IP STB vendor, illustrating its long history as an IP-STB vendor, particularly among operators that were early pioneers in IPTV.

    For the study, Set-Top Box Features and Vendor Leadership: Global Service Provider Survey, Infonetics asked carriers about their preferred IP STB features, including those related to video codec support, container and wrapper format, picture and photo format support, and audio codec support.

    Respondents also weighed in on IP STB tuners, overall IP STB features, home networking and media sharing technologies, IP STB hard drive capacity, and manufactures

    For more:
    - see this release

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