Predictions for 2030: Set-top box trends in the next decade
February 28, 2020
The 2020s find the set-top box market at a pivotal point in its history, with shifts in media distribution and a contracting market posing existential questions about the role these devices will play in the future. The previous decade was defined by the coexistence of streaming and broadcast. Service providers launched hybrid STBs and multimedia home gateways to offer catch-up and major streaming services inside their user interface and alongside their own content. Consumer preference for OTT streaming will see this story reach its inexorable conclusion in the ‘20s: the primacy of streaming and the abandonment of broadcasting. The main function of STBs will evolve from tuning channels to launching apps. 5G will hasten the move from broadcast, as governments repurpose terrestrial and satellite TV spectrum for mobile data services, and cable operators convert their bandwidth from TV broadcasts to more valuable broadband capacity.