MRG: Market for Broadcast Contribution Encoders Looking Up

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—After a soft 2013, the market for broadcast contribution encoders will grow in 2014 and worldwide demand could value the market to $320 million worldwide by 2017, according to research firm MRG.

Contribution encoders are used to compress video and audio streams from the camera, truck, or venue before it is transmitted to the studio. Contribution encoders are also used for compressing the stream as it is moved between studios. Encoding systems can range from PCs with capture cards costing sub-$1,000 to 4:2:0 8-bit encoders with dual audio channels costing several thousand dollars to high-end 4:2:2 10-bit 1080p encoders with 16 audio channels costing tens of thousands of dollars. PC systems are not included in MRG’s estimates, which is based on more than 20,000 units shipping in 2017.

MRG is basing its optimism for 2014 on “seasonal patterns” with greater demand in even-numbered years due to the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, as well as the influx of bonded-cellular ENG systems in the broadcast market. Broadcasters moving from SD to HD ENG is also a factor, with MRG estimating that SD encoders will comprise 13 percent of the market compared to 35 percent in 2013.

MRG also notes that the rollout of HEVC will influence the future market for contribution encoders. MRG expects that the mobile and fixed segments of the market will deploy HEVC encoders in different time frames than those using bonded cellular ENG systems. Other factors influencing the market include the increased transmission of content over the unmanaged Internet, improvements in satellite transmission technology, 4K content production and budgets.