Cisco VP: STBs will die in a decade

Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of Cisco’s Video & Collaboration Group, predicts that Internet TVs and other consumer IP devices will be powerful and ubiquitous enough within about 10 years to receive any pay-TV service directly – eliminating the need for service providers to deploy set-top boxes.

The hardware side of the equation is becoming a commodity, he said in an interview at the Cisco campus, and the company’s strategy from here on out is to be “set-top agnostic.”

The increasingly software-based nature of TV services was a primary driver behind Cisco’s $5 billion purchase of NDS, according to De Beer. Until that ‘set-top-boxless’ future happens, STBs and DVRs will remain a key piece of business for Cisco, he said.

“We are not going to leave our customers in the lurch,” De Beer said, speaking to Todd Spangler in an interview for Multichannel News. “We are not going to de-emphasise set-tops… But what we are going to do is work hard to make sure our software works across any platform.”

“If we were only playing in set-tops,” De Beer summarised, the shift toward software pay-TV clients “would be a problem.”

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