Set-top box market headed for decline

Screen Digest says peak will come in the next four years

LONDON -- The global set-top box market is set to decline after 2012, according to new research from Screen Digest, which said declines in the Chinese cable market and the overall completion of converting a generation of consumers from analog to digital in the region will contribute to the decline.

The media analysis firm said "the global market will peak within the next four years," forecasting that it would hit annual shipments of 127 million units in 2012, before falling back to 119 million units in 2013.

"The decline in 2013 will primarily be caused by a drop in demand from Chinese cable operators following the rapid growth in the next few years," said senior analyst Tom Morrod, adding that unit sales would decline as analog customers were converted to digital.

In the mature markets of Western Europe and North America customers are transitioning to high definition, IPTV and PVR services, which are maintaining growth levels.