Despite the bearish economy, global set-top shipments are set to grow 4.2% this year to 136.7 million units on healthy demand for HD and digital video recording features, according to research firm iSuppli.
The set-top market will continue to experience solid growth over the next few years, with iSuppli forecasting shipments rising to 201 million by 2013, a compound annual growth rate of 9% over the forecast period.
Cable set-top boxes in particular have shown very strong growth,
driven by rollouts in China and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region,
iSuppli said. IPTV set-tops continue to ramp up, with units shipped
50% higher in 2008 than the year prior, according to the research
"In the fourth quarter [of 2008], when the wheels were literally coming off of the world's economies, the leading [set-top box] makers were reporting surging sales," iSuppli principal analyst Jordan Selburn said.
Premium set-tops, including DVR-enabled and HD products, are expected to grow 28% in 2009, a substantially higher rate than the overall category, Selburn added. Shipments of premium boxes almost doubled in 2008, to 22.4 million systems.
According to iSuppli, DVRs are becoming more affordable thanks to plummeting costs of hard disk drives and other hardware components. At the same time, an expected increase in sales of whole-home DVRs will continue to push sales of non-DVR boxes that act as clients to a primary set-top with a hard drive.