Cable box demand continues to drop in North America: report

Cable providers in North America have reason to worry as demand dropped significantly in 2011.

Demand for cable set-top boxes in North America were on the decline in 2011, further signaling a major shift away from cable TV subscriptions in favor of video on-demand content.

A new report from NPD In-Stat revealed that demand for cable boxes in North America is dropping due to the declining number of cable TV subscriber households along with cable TV operators tightening their budgets.

Despite the slip in North America, cable box manufacturers still have growing customer bases elsewhere.

Although cable box shipments are on track to surpass 55 million units globally in 2011, which is down just 1 percent from 2010, NPD found that there is particularly robust demand in Asia. Furthermore, HD cable boxes are holding strong and steady as almost 11 million HD cable set top boxes will have shipped worldwide this year.

NPD In-Stat research director Mike Paxton argued in the report that the long-term outlook for the cable box market is positive.

Although we are projecting global unit shipments to decrease slightly in 2012 and 2013, the ongoing shift from analog cable services to digital cable services in the developing world will boost demand again in 2014.

While this trend overall might be uneasy for cable box manufacturers, cable providers also have plenty of reason to worry.

Another recent report from NPD In-Stat posited that if Internet-connected devices can sustain current growth levels, then revenues for online video on-demand platforms could double by 2015. Thus, competition for cable providers is blooming into what could be a major battle in the entertainment industry over the next few years.

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