Cable TV prediction: US to phase out STBs by 2015

MUMBAI: The year 2013 was a big year for the Indian cable TV industry. The country that was till now running on analogue signals opened up to digitization, even if it was in few regions. While we can celebrate this achievement as we enter into 2014 and also gear up for the phase III and phase IV of digitisation, there is some food for thought coming from the US cable industry for the Indian cable TV industry. 

According to the CEO of TV Predictions, Inc Phillip Swann, the Americans will see phasing out of cable TV set top boxes (STBs) by 2015 and witness an upsurge in USB dongle or CableCard like products that can be connected to a TV and signals can be received from the operator’s facility. And all this to reduce the expenses incurred due to huge sums paid to the box manufacturers.

The predictions suggest that consumers would anytime prefer the simplicity and convenience of cable dongle over the set top boxes. That apart, the cable TV operators will also appreciate the savings.

When the Google Chromecast Net TV device was launched, it was surely a step ahead in the cable TV industry. The dongle is one of the best-selling electronic products at currently.

Some of the dongles available in the market currently are Boxee’s Live TV dongle and TBS USB DVB-C TV Stick amongst others.

The predictions make it pretty obvious that the Americans are moving at a faster pace in the sector. Another point to ponder over here is that while in India the cable TV operators are still struggling to seed the STBs, another country is in the process of its phase out and switch to a compact technology.

It’s not that in India, technology hasn’t improved. The direct-to-home (DTH) operators by introducing new and better facilities like recording as per preference, authority to choose channels with their high-definition (HD) boxes has already become a threat to the Indian cable TV operators who have just started seeding the standard definition STB with no added feature.

With the world shrinking, it would not take the consumers much time to get exposed to the advancement happening in the TV/Cable industry the world over. The Indian consumers would soon wish for a compatible technology like the dongle. The New Year seems to be an alarm for the cable operators to start preparing for the huge shift.

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