Even though operators continue to deploy more TV Everywhere services that challenge the supremacy of the set-top box as the primary way to deliver multichannel packages into the home, set-top box sales are holding up reasonably well, with IHS predicting shipments will increase 8% this year to 269 million.
That should produce global revenue of about $22.2 billion in 2013.
The researcher is also predicting increased shipments in 2014, when they will increase by 6% to 286 million, and 2015, when they will see a modest 1% rise to 290 million.
"STBs are facing a mounting challenge to their role at the dominant pay TV video consumption device because of operators' growing emphasis on supporting multiscreen devices," said Daniel Simmons, senior principal analyst for TV technology at IHS. "However, operators are continuing to deploy STBs in order to manage the compatibility between their delivery networks and the consumer electronics devices that consumers are increasingly using to view content now. As pay-TV operators rush to accommodate changes in delivery platforms and in video formats - including the adoption of high definition (HD) - STB shipments will continue to rise, hitting record levels for the next few years."
IHS argues that the move to push more content to more devices via TV Everywhere offerings will actually increase demand for set-top boxes as operators deploy more multimedia home gateways (MHG) that can deliver services to PCs, smartphones, tablets and other devices.
The ongoing tradition to HD and growth in emerging markets will also fuel demand, the research noted.
However, after hitting a record high in 2015, global shipments are expected to slump, with a 5% drop in 2013 and a 2% slide in 2017.
The report also found that Pace shipped 11.3 percent of all pay-TV units in 2012, the most of any vendor.