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4K set-top box market growing quickly and will be worth nearly $4 billion by 2020s

by on May 6, 2016
 

Stephan Jukic – May 6, 2016

While global 4K TV sales continue to surge even in the midst of a general home entertainment market that seems to have at least partially slumped for the beginning of 2016, another major component of the ultra HD home entertainment technology ecosystem is also moving forward nicely.

This is the market for set-top boxes and according to recent findings and predictions by Grand View Research, the set-top box (STB) market is expected to grow to a size of more than $3.65 billion in sales by 2024.

The existing landscape of growing demand for 4K video content in any convenient format, rapidly expanding sales of 4K TVs of all types and demand for more 4K display devices of other kinds are all contributing to the formation of the ultra HD set-top box segment of the 4K market as a growth industry.

4K-friendly set-top boxes come in all shapes and sizes from a number of different brands but what all such devices share in common is the ability to deliver streams or VoD offerings of 4K UHD home entertainment in the form of movies, TV shows, documentaries and other programming through the TV apps installed on or downloaded to these boxes built-in smart interfaces, which are much like smart TV OS platforms but packed into an external device.

Makers of existing STBs include Roku, with its Roku 4 box, NVIDIA, with its Nvidia Shield, Sky, Amazon.com, DirecTV and a number of others. All offer assorted 4K content options in their particular devices. Other major brands, with Apple being a particular example, sell their own set-top boxes but for the time being only offer Full HD content support on them, though this is expected to change in the near future as the market demand for 4K capacity heats up.

Amazon's Fire TV 4K set-top box with its own smart TV interface

Amazon’s Fire TV 4K set-top box with its own smart TV interface

Content providers in general have begun to offer a larger quantity of 4K content options in the form of streaming internet sources, satellite broadcasting and even live sportscasts of 4K programming. For all of these content types, set-top boxes are a key mechanism for content delivery to an ultra HD TV. Now in 2016, even the latest 4K Blu-ray media players also serve as partial set-top boxes since they offer their own smart interfaces with many of the same apps for 4K and non-4K content from sources like Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and others alongside their ability to play back content from 4K Blu-ray discs and other HD or SD media formats.

Large-scale penetration of smart TVs in general has also been instrumental in augmenting the demand for STB devices because industry vendors have worked on providing set-top boxes with enhanced broadcast capacities with Digital Video Broadcasting-satellite standards such as DVB-S/DVB-S2.

According to more specific details from the Grand View Research report, IPTVUHD set top boxes (STBs with 4K internet and OTT content capabilities) have contributed to more than 20% of the market revenue in 2014 and likely to continue growing heavily in popularity over the next several years leading up to 2024, where the predictions from the research company terminate. These STBs enable smart TV programming, allow viewers to access multiple and often exclusive content sources in 4k and allow for access to existing or new 4K and HD content through cable, terrestrial, satellite and internet channels. Many STBs also include Video on Demand services, numerous internet apps and even offer streaming gaming applications in most cases.

DirecTV offers live satellite 4K content through its Genie set-top box

DirecTV offers live satellite 4K content through its Genie set-top box

Grand View has also predicted that hybrid STB devices are likely to see annual growth rates of more than 5% leading up to 2024 and the manufacturers of most newer set-top boxes are also working to make sure their devices come with the latest 4K-friendly technologies like HDMI 2.0a, high dynamic range, HDCP 2.2 and multiple USB ports for non-4K content connectivity.

Of the global market for STBs, Asia Pacific accounted for 25% of all sales with expectations for much larger growth in the next few years. Furthermore, set-top box delivery of content is becoming the method of choice for satellite TV operators who are expanding into live and canned 4K content broadcasts via OTT (internet content delivery, in a nutshell).

Story by 4k.com

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