IBC announcements confirm strong gateway trend

The increasing numbers of new television gateways and related applications I saw this month at IBC seem to suggest that the set-top box industry and digital TV as a whole is going in a whole new direction. At the moment, consumers’ demands for increased functionality, access to over-the-top content, applications, and multi-device connectivity tax the capabilities of most current HD DVRs.

11/22/2011


IMS research: excellence in market intelligneceThe increasing numbers of new television gateways and related applications I saw this month at IBC seem to suggest that the set-top box industry and digital TV as a whole is going in a whole new direction.  At the moment, consumers’ demands for increased functionality, access to over-the-top content, applications, and multi-device connectivity tax the capabilities of most current HD DVRs.  In order to meet increasing demand, set-top box manufacturers are positioning more advanced gateway devices as media servers that manage content distribution in addition to conditional access restrictions. In this fashion, content is delivered from the gateway to an IP-based client box or compliant CE device. 

Several major pay-TV operators, including Canada’s Shaw Cable, US-based DirecTV, US-based Comcast, and several Western European subsidiaries of Liberty Global, already have gateway projects in the works.  I think that Liberty Global’s commitment to the Horizon gateway deployment is a strong indication of the industry’s direction. Their promotion of an open platform and extensive application catalog at IBC underscores the strength of the gateway trend.  The Samsung-manufactured Horizon box is expected to deploy in the Netherlands in early 2012 before launching in the Swiss, Irish, and German cable markets.

I believe that this year’s gateway announcements at IBC also indicate that the previous gateway prototypes have sufficient substance and support to become a new content distribution platform.  Smaller volume set-top box makers such as Arris, AirTies, and Netgem are establishing a market presence alongside major manufacturers such as Pace, Samsung, and Technicolor. The number of set-top box and component manufacturers moving into this space means strong opportunities for MSOs looking to meet consumer demands for superior content access and management.



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