Magazine focus

BroadVision

An IPTV/OTT business publication

Infomir’s marketing and technical specialists unravel the secrets of the IPTV/OTT industry.

Expert opinions

Coverage of technology, solutions, and everything else you need to launch a successful business

Interviews

First-hand accounts from our own top managers and guest specialists

Analysis

Insight into the latest trends and preferences of today's viewers

Success stories

Case studies of projects we completed for operators with audiences of 50k–100k subscribers

New issue:

BroadVision #12

TRENDING: WHAT SET-TOP BOXES ARE NOW BEST-SELLING AND WHY

Which set-top boxes are currently popular with viewers and operators? Discover the benefits of voice control, how hotels can use IPTV, and the use of Infomir’s free course for operators.

BROADVISION
#12

Your personal IPTV/OTT business advisor

TRENDING: WHAT SET-TOP BOXES ARE NOW BEST-SELLING AND WHY

Which set-top boxes are currently popular with viewers and operators? Discover the benefits of voice control, how hotels can use IPTV, and the use of Infomir's free course for operators.

BroadVision's audience

Our readers consist of managers and communication specialists
in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Business owners and senior officers

They study the IPTV/OTT industry
to keep their businesses competitive.

Technical specialists

They read the hardware and software vendors' views
on today's flagship technologies.

Marketing specialists

They discover how to attract and
retain viewers nowadays.

Our readers

In this issue:

Preview before you download

Trending: which set-top boxes are now best-sellers and why

This article spells out which STBs are the most popular among retail customers and which are most commonly purchased by operators.

Author: Alexey Kuznetsov

To better understand the market situation, Infomir’s experts looked into the main features of IPTV set-top boxes available in 2021. The study included Android TV devices and Linux/RDK devices.

In the first half of 2021, all the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers faced a global shortage of microchips. The crisis affected the manufacturers of PCs, tablets, smartphones, household appliances, and even cars. As a result, the companies had to optimize their production and reduce or discontinue the release of their products. Furthermore, this shortage affected the manufacturers of IPTV/OTT equipment as well.

Pandemic and sanctions

In 2020, most countries worldwide imposed lockdowns due to a pandemic caused by COVID-19. As a result, many people switched to remote work or education, and lots of them had to buy some additional equipment—more powerful computers, laptops, and convenient monitors—to make working from home more comfortable. A surge in demand for electronics gave rise to a higher demand for the components, i.e., chipsets. Unfortunately, chip manufacturers could not handle the rush of orders, while the major device manufacturers ran out of components for their devices.

 

In May 2021, the chip lead time achieved 18 weeks, which was four weeks longer than the previous peak in 2018.

Source: Susquehanna Financial Group

The chipset industry was also affected by the sanctions imposed by the US on one of China’s largest electronics manufacturers—Huawei.

The U.S. government’s actions resulted in a halt of cooperation between the Chinese company and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company)—the largest microchip supplier. At their facilities, Huawei made HiSilicon chipsets used by other manufacturers in their smartphones, computers, and IPTV set-top boxes.

Which devices are trending?

At the beginning of 2021, Infomir researched how the “semiconductor crisis” affected the market of IPTV/OTT equipment. For this purpose, the company’s experts examined the characteristics of more than 300 operators and 100 retail devices available in the market released between 2014 and 2021.

We analyzed characteristics such as the chipset, RAM and ROM amount, device form factor, remote control, Wi-Fi adapter type, and connectors and interfaces. The result was a summary specification of set-top boxes for operators and retail customers that are the most popular in 2021 and will be in demand in 2022.

Characteristics. The basic characteristics for retail and operator devices are similar in 2021: S905X set-top boxes are the most common. The most popular amount of RAM is 2 GB, with ROM being 8 GB. 

These characteristics enable users to view content conveniently. Operators, in turn, won’t be overpaying when purchasing large quantities of devices.

Operating System. Most devices are designed to be powered by Linux OS or RDK platform only. However, some manufacturers offer the same model powered by the two OSs (Linux or AOSP.) Linux devices are preferred thanks to their seamless operation, easy maintenance, and usage. 

Form factor. Mainly, the devices are still manufactured in a standard STB (set-top box) casing. However, dongles are becoming increasingly popular among end-users. These devices are cheaper and easier to use as they can be connected to a TV like a regular USB drive. Yet, such solutions are unsuitable for the growing operator: the devices can be unstable and do not have the basic network interfaces, e.g., Ethernet and USB ports.

Remote control. To understand what a trending remote control for an IPTV box looks like in 2021, we examined the standard sets of the devices offered by ten popular manufacturers, including Nvidia Shield, Roku, Mecool, Xiaomi, Apple TV, and others. 

The analysis revealed that an ideal remote control for a consumer is a convenient and simple gadget featuring Bluetooth and voice recognition. Besides the standard functional buttons, the remote control must have dedicated and programmable buttons for the following: 

• Streaming services (retail boxes)
• Operator services (operator boxes)
• Voice search
• Bookmarks

The remote controls made from environmentally friendly materials—recycled products with buttons with antibacterial coating—are becoming increasingly popular.

«A stable client device and a convenient remote control are not only key to the subscriber loyalty but also your free marketing communication channel. Additionally, set-top box customization enables operators to retain their audience, stand out from competitors, and strengthen their brand.

Using the device daily, subscribers will always see your brand’s logo. However, the logo position on the device casing may vary depending on the model.
Therefore, we recommend paying attention to this option when choosing the equipment supplier,” said Irina Omelchenko, Product Marketing Manager at Infomir.

BroadVision team

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