Screen Digest forecasts that the global pay TV set-top box (STB) market will peak within the next four years, reaching annual shipments of 127 million units in 2012, before the market declines in 2013.
The continuing thrust by pay TV operators to convert their customers from analogue to digital and upgrade them to high definition and PVR services is driving the demand for new set-top boxes. Screen Digest forecasts the market will grow from 104 million units in 2008 to 127 million units in 2012, in this time reaching over E10 billion in value. However this will be followed by a decline to 119 million units in 2013 although market value will be largely unchanged. In addition to the pay TV market, there will be almost 70 million units shipped in the global free-to-air market in 2013. Much of this new unit demand will be driven by service extensions and digitisation of pay TV platforms in Eastern Europe and the major emerging BRIC markets.
Although growth to 2012 will be driven by all platforms, the decline in 2013 will be primarily caused by a drop in demand from Chinese cable operators following the rapid growth in the next few years. These low-value boxes will impact the global volumes but will have little impact on revenues which will continue to grow across all other regions. In addition, IPTV is expected to experience a significant decline in 2013 from 12 million units shipped to 10 million units. Between these two trends the global industry volume will fall by almost 7 million.