The Set-top Box: Thick or Thin Client?

This report analyzes the trend in the set-top box market related to feature-rich set-top boxes, thin-client set-top boxes, and the technologies and systems that will affect CPE devices in the future. The report assesses the feature and tradeoff decisions faced by pay-TV providers and set-top box makers in the set-top architecture. It evaluates new technologies that will impact set-top box growth and virtualization of features to the cloud or to operator networks. It also includes a forecast for set-top box growth through 2018.

“Investment in set-top box technology is no small decision for any pay-TV provider,” said Brett Sappington, director of research, Parks Associates. “Service providers must assess the future growth of cloud services, CPE systems, and consumer appetites for future services as they define their service and capital expenditure plans. Similarly, makers of retail set-top boxes must decide which architecture and which features will have the greatest market appeal.”

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Download Table of Contents (PDF)

The Bottom Line

1.0   Report Summary

1.1 Purpose and Scope of Report

1.2 Data Sources

2.0   Moving Towards Change

3.0   A Change in Architecture

3.1 Motivations

3.2 Inside the Box

Master Gateway Set-top Boxes

Thin Client Boxes

4.0   Current Deployments

5.0   Technologies

5.1 Set-top Box Middleware

5.2 Virtualized Set-top Boxes

5.3 DLNA Premium Video and CVP-2

5.4 Push for the Smart Home

5.5 HEVC and DOCSIS 3.1 - Drivers for New CPE

6.0   Implications and Recommendations

7.0   Forecasts

8.0   Glossary

Index

Traditional Topology for Subscriber Home
The New Topology for Set-top Boxes
Comparison of Virtualized Options
Weekly Video Consumption by Platform – U.S. Market
Global Pay-TV Share by Technology
Spectrum of Feature Distribution for Set-top Boxes
Features Considered for the Master Gateway Set-top Box
Features of the DISH Network Hopper / Joey Set-top Boxes
Features of the DirecTV Genie DVR / Genie Mini Client Set-top Boxes
Features of the Liberty Global Horizon Set-top Box
Features of the Comcast X1 Platform
The Change in Middleware
The RDK Architecture
Hybrid and Cloud Service Set-top boxes
Global Digital Pay TV Set-top Box Forecast Methodology
Global Pay TV Set-top Box Annual Forecast (2012-2018)
Global Operator-Provided Set-top Box Annual Forecast (2012-2018)
Global Retail-Purchased Set-top Box Annual Forecast (2012-2018)
Global Unified Gateway Annual Forecast (2012-2018)

Publish Date: 4Q 2013

Pages: 47


Authored By:
Brett Sappington - Senior Director of Research

© November 2013 Parks Associates
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Printed in the United States of America.

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Parks Associates has made every reasonable effort to ensure that all information in this report is correct. We assume no responsibility for any inadvertent errors.

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