The trend of allowing consumers to take their broadcast video content out of the living room to other screens also works in the reverse: cablecos are starting to realise that bringing the Web to the big screen is just as important.
Hence, the move to all-IP transport and IPTV continues apace in the cable MSO space, according to new research from U.S.-based analyst firm In-Stat.
The cable TV industry is turning away from its MPEG-based digital-over-circuit transport method for pushing video down to homes, and is beginning to instead embed support for IP delivery into its set-top boxes.
In-Stat researcher Mike Paxton chalks it up to three primary reasons: the cost-efficiency of IP as a transport mechanism; the presence of integrated DOCSIS cable modems within digital cable STBs; and the availability of IP video content. The latter is, as we know, expanding exponentially, from user-generated content like YouTube, traditional broadcast offerings from telcos, and “over-the-top programming flowing in from the Web. Leveraging and monetising that trend by Web-enabling the living room will become an important differentiator for cablecos, whose large telco rivals have historically embraced IP and IP content.
“When it comes to IP transport, the cable modem is the perfect conduit of IPTV to the cable TV household,” says Paxton. “In fact, cable modems are already performing this task in millions of households, just not through the digital set top box to the TV set. Instead, this IP video is commonly being displayed on the PC.”
From a stats perspective, In-Stat expects the percentage of cable set top boxes with integrated modems to double from 2009 to 2014, even as worldwide digital cable set top box unit shipments are forecast to decline by 8% in 2010.
Regional markets poised for growth include Europe, where the demand for high-definition cable set top boxes is fueling growth. Revenue from digital cable set top boxes in Latin America will approach $200 million by 2014.