iDTVs edging out STBs?

Stephen Froehlich, Senior Analyst, Consumer Electronics, noted that in Japan, iDTVs already displace about 1.7 million satellite set-top box shipments each year, having reduced that market from 2 million unit shipments in 2003 to just 0.3 million in 2007. “While the conditions in Japan that allow this are unique, it is clear that US cable operators are working towards the creation of an even more compelling situation in the hopes of eliminating most of the $200 cost of a DVR,” he stated.

However, according to US cable industry trade body the NCTA, despite the fact that CableCARD iDTVs have been available since 2004, at most 372,000 cable set-top boxes (out of an estimated installed base of 55 million) have been displaced by iDTVs as of June 2008. Results have been similar in Europe, where every iDTV includes a similar DVB-CI interface in accordance with an EU mandate.

Forthcoming tru2way iDTVs are likely to change this situation. According to Froehlich, the fact that the same level of interactivity is available on Japanese satellite boxes and iDTVs is a significant contributor to the iDTVs success in Japan. “Forthcoming tru2way iDTVs will be designed specifically to add interactive functions, presenting a real risk of reduced cable set-top box volumes in the US. In addition, parallel efforts are under way to deploy the same technologies in Europe, specifically iDTVs with support for MHP or MHEG-based interactivity and improved CI+ content security,” he said.

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