The Development and Trend of Smart Set Top Boxes for STB White Papers in 2014

1. Definition of smart set-top box and diversification of product form

The set-top boxes that set up the operating system can all be called intelligent set-top boxes. Currently, most of them are built android operating systems.

The intelligent set-top box cooperates with the ordinary TV to realize the function of the intelligent TV, users can install and unload each kind of TV application software by oneself, and can expand and upgrade to the application continuously. With the support of a smart set-top box, users can freely access a variety of required information. The smart set-top box is expected to become the third type of information access terminal after computers and mobile phones.

Gran research shows that the current smart set-top box brands on the market come mainly from the following channels: 1) self-owned branded smart set-top boxes, such as Xiao Hong, that are licensed by the licensees themselves; 2) Internet manufacturers or set-top box manufacturers rely on The license holder’s content resources are self-owned smart set-top boxes, such as Xiaomi; 3) the operators’ own set-top smart-top boxes, such as Yueme, launched by the licensee’s content resources. Before the third quarter of 2014, there were still a large number of smart set-top boxes (also called network set-top boxes or high-definition players) that could illegally aggregate network video resources and set-top boxes of network video companies' own brands.

If the function of smart set-top boxes in 2013 was similar to that of lack of innovation, since 2014, smart set-top box products have been continuously introduced in the tide of industrial convergence, and the concept itself has been continuously improved. The product types of smart set-top boxes that appear on the market today mainly include:

1. Network set-top box: As the most common product form of current intelligent set-top boxes, the typical features are an operating system, and the main functions are access to network video and application download;

2. Network set-top boxes and game consoles: The superposition of game boxes on the basis of TV boxes has become a bright spot for smart set-top boxes in 2014, and is expected to bring about an increase in the Arpu value of users based on games.

3, network set-top boxes + routers: also known as smart routers, the typical feature is the operating system and WIFI functions, the main function for access to network video and wireless routing capabilities. According to Gran Research, smart routers are still in the start-up phase of the vendor education market. The typical feature is that the number of incoming vendors has gradually increased, and sales volume has been slowly increasing. The general public has begun to recognize commodities, and some technology enthusiasts have tried to use them one after another. Since June 2014, more than ten new products have been launched in succession. Smart routers are in hardware competitions including processors, memory, storage capabilities, signal coverage, and penetration capabilities.

4, network set-top boxes + gateways: also known as smart gateways, the typical feature is the operating system and interconnection capabilities, the main function is to allow a variety of receiving devices through the smart gateway to interconnect and accept commands.

5, network set-top box + multi-mode: a typical feature is the operating system and multi-mode demodulation, multi-mode demodulation to receive cable TV, Internet TV, terrestrial digital TV, etc., currently on the market this set-top box also supports multi-screen interaction turn.

6, network set-top boxes + wearable devices: access to network video and multi-screen mutual conversion is its main function.

Gran research and analysis believe that the smart set-top box on the market is forming the trend of “video + X” from the product form. Smart set-top boxes can not only deliver video content, but also more in the future in professional services. These specialized areas can include services such as health, education, and community, as well as specific age groups such as the elderly and children. A trend has become more apparent. 1) In the August 2014 Internet TV terminal workshop, Mango TV suggested that OTT set-top box manufacturers should increase their investment in differentiated competition based on providing video services to users, and adopt the "video + X" model to develop services. In "video + games", "video + karaoke", "video + shopping", "video + smart home." In the box field, differentiate development from the different needs of users. 2) LeTV released the news in September 2014. It will cooperate with, an online education platform, to jointly create educational box products. In November 2014, Le Xiaobao's products were released. 3) China Telecom initiated the establishment of the Smart Home Industry Alliance for the Elderly in July.

2, from crazy to rational smart set-top box market

The smart set-top box market in 2014 was like a roller coaster.

In the first half of 2014, the speed of development reached a high point. Both the set-top box and chips, and even license holders and operators, were pursuing market and technology speeds. In the set-top box market, the license market is busy with enclosures, and the white card market is busy endorsing books. In the chip market, mainstream smart set-top box chip companies have all launched four-core products, and some chip companies have even launched eight-core products, and the technology has turned to 28nm. In the operator market, Telecom, China Unicom, Mobile, Dr. Peng, and Broadcasting and Television are busy planning and deploying tasks to catch up with the hardware configuration of the retail market, and the market has been refreshed and the market landscape has been constantly refreshed. On the operating system, android has a unified trend, but can not stop the pace of enterprise self-built platform, slightly successful companies are eager to try, SARFT has begun to promote TVOS operating system. In video technology, 4K, DRM, AVS+, and H.265 continue to have new bright spots and create new profit points. Intelligent technology, human-computer interaction, human body recognition, voice search, private cloud technology, etc., the industry chain is unprecedentedly active.

In the second half of 2014, the market for intelligent set-top boxes was changed. In early 2014 to mid-year, the smart set-top box market evolved arbitrarily, and APP non-compliant video applications took precedence, leading directly to the out-of-control of intelligent set-top box EPG management. In the third quarter of 2014, SARFT continued to interview 7 major licensees and reiterated No. 181 In order to strengthen the control of Internet content dissemination, after a series of regulatory policies continue to ferment, illegal video aggregation software continues to delist from the TV application market. The impact of regulatory policies has spread from the license market to the white card market, resulting in the shipment of the entire Internet set-top box market. The overall decline in volume. Industry chain vendors have begun to redefine product boundaries, gradually returning to Internet TV platforms with licenses as their core, and the battle for the entrance of digital homes with intelligent set-top boxes as entrances has come to an end.

Smart set-top box shipments in the first three quarters of 2014 (Source: Gran Research)

Gran research and analysis believe that the impact of macroeconomic policies of the SARFT, the smart set-top box market in the third quarter of 2014 into the wait-and-see period and adjustment period, the third quarter Internet set-top box market has shrunk dramatically, it is expected that this situation will continue to the fourth The quarter will affect the first half of 2015. The supervision of the Internet market by the General Directorate has become the norm. All aspects of the intelligent set-top box product chain will more clearly define its own industrial location and product boundaries. As more and more users need to access the Internet through powerful intelligent set-top boxes and high-speed mobile networks, Enjoying rich data services and Internet services, smart set-top boxes after 2015 will gradually recover in the second half of the year. It is expected that the number of smart set-top boxes in the market will reach about 85 million by the end of 2017, and the BtoC market is still the main market for smart set-top boxes. It accounts for 60% of the total.

Gran research and analysis believes that although the smart set-top box underwent a process of development from madness to reasoning in 2014, the market diversification pattern that has experienced the baptism of smart set-top boxes has already taken shape. This diversified pattern can be divided into two major markets: operator market and retail market. Gran research and analysis believes that both the operator market and the retail market will influence each other. The retail market product market will have a significantly faster market than the operator market, which will affect the replacement rate of operators' market products, while the operators' market products will continue to change. It is hoped that the smart set-top box will eventually be launched into the retail market.

Schematic diagram of the market diversification of smart set-top boxes (Source: Glan Research)

3. Considerations arising from smart set-top boxes 1) The use of intelligent set-top boxes to make accurate advertisements based on big data is becoming one of the key development goals for operators. However, data problems are still the major challenges for personalized services, according to the mid-2014 survey of ExpertianDataQuality. Obtaining rapid and in-depth understanding is the biggest obstacle to the implementation of personalized services. The availability of sufficient data and the accuracy of data are still second only. The data problem depends on the further development of intelligent technologies such as human body recognition to further solve.

2) How deep does the smart set-top box affect the closed system of broadcasting and TV? The smart set-top box will become a fuse and igniter for a series of profound changes in the broadcasting and TV industry: At the micro level, 1) The concept of video content extends from the content of television stations and video websites to TV applications, and promotes wide-area top-box search for TV applications. Resources and form a bundle; 2) Promote the development of STBs from traditional middleware platforms to smart operating system platforms. As more than 200 million traditional STBs have been accumulated over the past decade, these set-top boxes will be prepared during the conversion process. Replacement; 3) Promote the diversification of the product form of the wide-area set-top box and speed up the update. From the macro perspective: 1) The broadcasting and TV industry will change from a relatively closed system to a relatively open system; 2) The continuous convergence of TV applications will eventually drive the industry towards platformized operations; 3) The continuous integration of traditional and new media Promote the industry to the Internet.

3) For the manufacturers of wide-area STBs: 1) A large number of Internet companies and new technology companies rushed into the set-top box industry. These companies are accustomed to the rhythm of consumer electronics, and promote the rapid development of the set-top box product form, while traditional radio and television operators have been How does the operator market, which is a slower product form, continue to maintain its leading position in the technology and market of the set-top box industry? 2) There are many specialities in the broadcast system, how to plan the intelligent path of the wide-area set-top box? 3) Wide-area set-top box manufacturers and TVs How is the business relationship of the application bundled? In the process of platform operation, if you establish a platform for television applications?

4) For industry supervision: 1) The rapid development of television applications has produced TV application products with great development prospects such as TV education and video games. Since these applications are all subject to cross-jurisdiction of the departments, the future management is defined? 2) The typical feature of the smart set-top box is that it has an operating system. The current operating system has already been popular android, but based on considerations such as security stability, the SARFT is making great efforts to promote TVOS. On the chaotic situation? 3) The most important issue is that the industry as a whole needs a detailed reference path for the development of the whole board.

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