Worldwide, the set-top box market was 236 million units in 2012 and is expected to peak at 265 million in 2015 before softening. Strong unit shipments of basic boxes in China (44 million), the United States (29 million), and India (23 million) dominated the market in 2012. Significant demand exists in basic boxes (both SD and HD DTAs and zappers) with low processing power, which drop from about 53% of shipments in 2012 to 43% of shipments in 2018. At the high end of the market gateway boxes (which include more than 4 tuners and are intended to be used with thin-client set tops) are providing significant profits for set-top box manufacturers.
Set-top box shipments through the period decline in North America and Western Europe (especially in saturated cable platforms that are losing subscribers to telco and satellite alternatives), while they grow strongly in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, where subscribers are gaining access to pay-TV platforms for the first time. Major trends in the STB markets include digital terrestrial transitions, digital cable transitions, HD service offerings, hybrid (CATV-IPTV, DBS-IPTV, and DBS-DTT) set-top boxes, and the adoption of cable video gateways.
Home network software standards, including UPnP, DLNA, and HNAP, are working to solve these issues and create the home network of the future alongside other alternative networking technologies, enabling the distribution of data and video content over coax and power lines.