OYSTER BAY, NY -- Worldwide set-top box shipments are expected to peak at 265 million this year before softening, ending a three-year growth run.

Unit shipments of basic boxes grew an aggregate 12.8% from 2012 to 2015, says ABI Research, fueled by demand in China (44 million), the United States (29 million), and India (23 million).

Significant demand exists in basic boxes (both SD and HD DTAs and zappers) with low processing power, which will drop from about 53% of shipments in 2012 to 43% of shipments in 2018. At the high end of the market gateway boxes (which include more than four tuners and are intended to be used with thin-client set tops) are providing significant profits for set-top box manufacturers.

Set-top box shipments will decline through 2018 in North America and Western Europe (especially in saturated cable platforms that are losing subscribers to telco and satellite alternatives), while growing strongly in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, where subscribers are gaining access to pay-TV platforms for the first time. Major trends in the STB markets include digital terrestrial transitions, digital cable transitions, HD service offerings, hybrid (CATV-IPTV, DBS-IPTV, and DBS-DTT) set-top boxes, and the adoption of cable video gateways.

Home network software standards, including UPnP, DLNA, and HNAP, are working to solve these issues and create the home network of the future alongside other alternative networking technologies, enabling the distribution of data and video content over coax and power lines

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