4K STB market to reach 7 mn in 2016: ABI Research

The size of the 4K set-top box (STB) market will quadruple to more than 7 million in 2016 from less than 2 million units in 2015, said ABI Research.

4K set-top box market size will grow by 46 percent annually through 2021. However, the overall set-top box market is expected to drop by about 9 percent in 2016 to less than $16 billion in revenue, with both Pay TV and free-to-air boxes losing value.

Sam Rosen, managing director and vice president at ABI Research, said: “Providers should be looking to take on logistics and lifecycle challenges, in addition to testing and integration, to help the overall market flourish as well as focusing on 4K and HDR color set-top boxes will in the years ahead.”

STB providers are increasing in scale due to recent mergers and acquisitions, including market leader Arris taking over Pace and Technicolor acquiring Cisco’s STB unit. Huawei, at just more than $1 billion in revenues, leaped ahead of a number of vendors that faced a difficult year with drops of 25 to 40 percent in revenues, including EchoStar and Humax.

China is continuing as the largest STB market by units. India beat out the U.S. just last year as a failed digital cable transition spurred a large amount of satellite STB shipments. India will continue to grow its STB shipments and likely to surpass China as shipment leader in 2018 or 2019, said ABI Research in a statement on Wednesday.

Telecom operators worldwide are carefully considering new opportunities to deliver video services, specifically through the use of streaming media adapters and adaptive bitrate, better known as ABR, IP-based protocols.

ABI Research says satellite broadcast remains a significant factor in the global Pay TV distribution while terrestrial platforms, augmented by STBs with some storage and IP services, are becoming important for select telecom operators who are backing away from licensing content.