The Indian set-top box (STB) market has been increasing at a steady pace over the past few years, according to ABI Research, with a strong surge of consumers moving to satellite platforms during 2011, representing 80 per cent of the Indian market. Despite the large cable TV subscriber base in India, the firm anticipates that satellite TV growth will slow somewhat from the 10 million consumers that added services last year.
“The cable TV digitisation, mandated by the government, will spur set-top box shipment increases in India for the next several years,” says Sam Rosen, principal analyst. 19.3 million set-top boxes will be shipped in India during 2012.
The government’s cable TV digitisation policy now specifies that cable TV digitisation willccur in four phases by December 2014. Therefore, cable STB deployments will surge from 2012 as larger operators begin their digital STB deployments. The cable digitisation process will progress far slower than the government mandate specifies – otherwise, consumers will be forced to abandon cable in favour of satellite as cable operators struggle to procure the set-top boxes.
High definition (HD) STB adoption in India currently accounts for only 11 per cent of overall shipments. “The increasing adoption of HDTV sets and cable TV digitisation is expected to bring more HD channels and HD services in India,” comments research analyst Khin Sandi Lynn. HD STB adoption in India will accelerate in the coming years.
Nearly 70 per cent of set-top boxes installed in Indian households are imported from foreign manufacturers, especially from China. In 2011, Huawei was the top STB vendor in India with 24 per cent market share, followed by Pace with 12 per cent market share. Chang Hong, Cisco, and Skyworth are also selling set-top boxes in India. Domestic STB production is likely to increase in the years to come with some overseas manufacturing set-top box factories in India, as well as Indian companies focused on building low-cost set-top boxes.