A new report from IMS Research is projecting increased demand for hybrid settop boxes that can access both free and pay TV services, with shipments for these boxes hitting nearly 87 million by 2015.
Such boxes have been particularly popular in Europe, where there are many popular free digital terrestrial services like Freeview in the U.K. that operators often combine with pay or VOD content. In the U.S., hybrid settop boxes could find a wider audience as IP delivery of video becomes more prevalent.
"While some doubted how quickly it would happen, augmenting traditional video delivery methods with additional content and services over IP has finally come of age," potentially changing the competitive landscape for both pay and broadcast TV noted Paul Erickson, senior analyst at IMS Research, which has just released The World Market for Hybrid Set-top Boxes-2010 Edition.
Erickson points to the fact that Entone is delivering hybrid solutions to smaller multichannel providers and that Google TV is making continued progress in the consumer electronics market as examples of the move to augment traditional TV delivery with services and content delivered over IP.
"Hybrid TV viewers enjoy greater depth and value from pay and free TV than ever before," he argued in a statement. "With broadband adoption accelerating, the hybrid concept will continue to spread quickly."