Shipments of over-the-top set top boxes — also known as streaming media players and digital media adapters — have seen sizable growth over the past two years and will finish 2011 with more than 3.6 million units shipped, according to In-Stat.
Future growth, however, will be a little more difficult as other Internet-connected devices, such as Blu-ray players and video game consoles, become even more common and compete for their share of consumers interested in streaming entertainment online.
A new In-Stat report, “Streaming Media Players: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?,” finds that streaming IP video is quickly becoming a common feature in consumer electronics rather than a core function. As a result, some suppliers of streaming media players are de-emphasizing their stand-alone OTT set-top boxes in favor of concentrating development on streaming media software platforms.
The In-Stat research points out that:
• North America is the largest market for streaming media player products, accounting for 82 percent of all worldwide product unit shipments in 2010.
• Apple TV remains the leading streaming media player product on the market.
• The increasing availability of Internet-connected TV sets and hybrid set-top boxes will also impact the long-term viability of the streaming media player market.
Despite the challenges, In-Stat forecasts the worldwide installed base of streaming media players will surpass 15 million by 2015.