India’s Set Top Box Market by the Numbers

Author: Andrew Spivey

The set top box market in India, given its enormous population, is a key region for product managers and marketing teams are keen to assess it. A recent Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India report indicated that the Average Time Spent (ATS) watching TV in the country is 4 hours and 2 minutes a day. This combination creates a recipe for a market that’s primed for new set top box shipments.

Annual Set Top Box Shipments in India

In 2021, a total of 20.7 million set top boxes (STBs) were shipped countrywide, which was about on par with 2020 shipments. By 2028, the India set top box market will see more than 51 million annual shipments and grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.9% over 2021 and 2028.

India’s Set Top Box Market Breakdown by Platform

While China is further along in the cable digitization process, India is also in the midst of a rapid digital transition. As no surprise, digital cable TV and digital satellite TV set top boxes dominate the Indian market, with more than 20 million combined STB shipments in 2021. And that number will balloon to 45.9 million shipments by 2028, the end of the forecast period. Another way of looking at it is that these digital platforms make up 99% of all set top boxes bought by consumers in India.

Breaking it down further, digital cable TV accounted for 8.5 million set top box shipments in 2021 and will grow at a CAGR of 17.7% between 2021 and 2028—reaching 26.5 million shipments in 2028. For the digital satellite TV segment, 11.5 million STBs shipped in India in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 7.7% over 2021 and 2028—eclipsing the 19.4 million annual mark at the end of the forecast period.

What about the Other Set Top Box Platform Types?

The only other platforms to see traction in India’s set top box market are Free-to-Air (FTA) Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). Overall, demand for FTA DTT set top boxes is declining in the Indian market. While more than 541,000 FTA DTT set top boxes shipped in 2021, only 249,623 units are expected to ship annually by 2028.

IPTV platforms like ULKA TV enable users to turn their TVs into smart TVs, providing access to Over-the-Top (OTT) media apps, 4K live streaming, personalization options, and even one-click payment. Unlike FTA DTT, IPTV set top boxes are anticipated to grow in demand. More on IPTV will be discussed in the next section.

Meanwhile, ABI Research expects no market demand for FTA Digital Broadband Satellite (DBS) or pay DTT set top boxes in India.

Pay TV Set Top Boxes in India

Digital cable TV, digital satellite TV, and IPTV all see reasonable demand in the Indian pay TV space. For digital cable TV and digital satellite TV, there were 9.1 million STB shipments and 12.6 million shipments, respectively, in 2021. By 2028, those shipments will see a modest increase to 12.1 million STB shipments and 13.9 million shipments.

At the same time, the growth rate for IPTV will soar at a CAGR of 59.7% between 2021 and 2028. By 2028, India’s set top box market will experience 4.7 million more annual pay IPTV STB shipments than in 2021—reaching 4.9 million total shipments in 2028.




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Do Indian Consumers Care about High Definition or DVR?

While Standard Definition (SD) boxes will continue to carve out a sizable slice of the Indian set top box market, High-Definition (HD) set top boxes will ship at a more rapid pace in India than SD boxes. Last year, 8.7 million HD STBs shipped in the country, compared to 9.3 million SD boxes shipped. But 2022’s totals will be more than 10 million HD boxes and 9.4 million SD boxes. Through 2028, SD set top box demand will remain stagnant, hovering around 10 million to 11 million shipments each year.

The Digital Video Recorder (DVR) is another key technology adoption for product managers to consider when marketing to the Indian market. Both HD DVR and SD DVR-supported STBs are going to grow in demand over the coming years. More than 28.5 million HD DVR STBs will ship between 2021 and 2028, and 3.3 million for SD boxes.

India Is a Shining Light in a Recovering Technology Market

In 2021, set top box shipments saw a decline worldwide, and the Indian and greater Asia-Pacific region was no different. Indeed global supply constraints, market saturation, migration to streaming, and cord-cutting all represent clear threats to set top box vendors, such as Huawei, Skyworth, and others. However, the Indian market appears to be less affected by some of these factors, notably streaming apps, as demand is expected to be healthy.

Whereas countries like China are seeing drastic decreases in STB shipments (from 18.4 million in 2020 to 8.9 million by 2028), India is set to more than double its 2020 shipments. As it currently stands, India represents one of the greatest revenue opportunities for set top box market players, outpacing the more mature markets in North America, Western Europe, and even other Asian markets.

To learn more, download ABI Research’s Set-Top Boxes and Broadband CPE market data report. This report is part of the company’s Consumer Technologies and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth & Wireless Connectivity Research Services.