The end of the Set-Top Box?

Share this...

After the Swiss telecom operator Salt, the French TV operator Canal+ launches a new offer and provides his subscribers with an Apple TV as a terminal, replacing then its own decoder by an App that will give access to Canal+ pay-TV programs and services (see the link below). Is this the coming end of the STB business?

Indeed, for broadband TV (i.e. xDSL, Fiber and Cable – Satellite being of course a different story), in countries where Network PVR is legal, this is a smart way to go : no investment in developing a new terminal, faster – and cheaper – time-to-market, no dependency on a middleware vendor, use of the Apple brand, relying on a first-class partner for a high quality terminal… In the case of Canal+, it allows the pay-TV operator to reach the subscriber independently from the broadband service provider.

What’s wrong then? sharing its subscriber base with Apple? this is already done. The caveat could come from the UI ownership: the subscriber will be first in the Apple UI before entering the Canal+ world. And last but not least the App needs to be approved by Apple. More generally, in one word, Canal+ et al. could simply become “Netflixed”… but we know that business model can fly, especially when new watchers are less TV screen addict and more tablet/smartphone users.

Next step will be to apply the same model with Android dongles or Android TVs (such as TPV/Philips or Sony): this is in a certain way already possible by the use of Google cast feature when supported. With App scheme or Cast feature becoming available on most of the TV OS this could be extended to Samsung, LG and others.

I have always been a great promoter – and manufacturer – of STBs… but I really believe this new model will grow further. For Telco and Cable operators, the battle will then be, in terms of terminals, about the home gateway.

About the author: Didier Zwierski

Didier has 30 year experience in management of high-technology business (Digital TV and Telecommunication industry):
– Successful experience in creating new company, with fast value creation and profitability
– Demonstrated talent in high tech Business Units and general management, dealing with major international key accounts
– Proven ability to develop business strategies in B2B and B2C high tech domains. Initiation, management and leverage of major partnerships and alliances
– Senior experience in landing successful innovation to the market
– Extensive experience of installing, changing and managing international organisations through market and customer driven culture, leadership and teamwork

 To view Didier’s full short bio, click here

Leave a Reply