"Cable, broadcast and telco TV are all highly competitive markets for video servers," noted ABI Research industry analyst Zippy Aima. "Cable and broadcast are the more traditional modes of entertainment for consumers, but cable providers and telcos have been quicker to adapt to market trends and to offer innovative consumer services. But to remain competitive, even the broadcast segment has tried its hand at hybrid deployments and similar initiatives."
ABI suggests in its study – Video Server Market Analysis – that after a slow start in North America, telco TV is now growing quickly there as it is in the rest of the industrialised world. As the latecomer to the television distribution game, telco TV has the advantage of employing the most current technology and the least legacy infrastructure. This, in part, explains the stronger growth in this segment. The hardware side of the equation is largely commoditised; vendors aim for differentiation via the accompanying software applications.
According to ABI, most video server vendors address at least two out of these three markets, and increasingly their goal is to offer an end-to-end platform. This plays to the advantage of some of the newer, larger, entrants to the market, such as Cisco, Sun, Motorola and Arris. They have the resources to fit these servers into larger, more comprehensive solutions. However Aima notes that, "even the smaller, more specialised video server vendors are doing well in this buoyant market."