Chances are high that your next TV set-top box will have features like a multi-room DVR, Internet access and home networking — even if you’re a cable TV customer, says Michael Inouye, a TV industry analyst with ABI Research.
In a new report, Inouye projects that there will be 15 million next-generation set-top boxes in the market by 2014. These 15 million boxes will have MoCA, a technology that uses existing coaxial cables to send video to devices throughout the home. While other home networking technologies like Powerline (uses electrical lines) and HomePNA (uses phone lines), are gunning to be in the next set-top box, Inouye said that MoCA is attracting the TV companies that actually provide the hardware to consumers.
My first thought? Cable companies have long offered set-top boxes with advanced features. But they haven’t enabled them. The USB and eSATA ports on my cable TV box don’t work so I can’t add a hard drive to store more TV shows or view photos. I asked Inouye to tell us what really might happen with future set-top boxes.
“Indeed, you are spot on in regards to cable providers’ previous practices of limiting STB (set-top box) functions. But in many cases just because it’s not ‘active’ doesn’t mean it’s not there, so when we established the forecast we focused on estimating the number of boxes that could support MoCA (e.g. hardware in place) but not necessarily active,” Inouye said in an e-mailed response.
Ahh… so, no MoCA features for cable customers. No, not quite, Inouye said. Read the rest of this entry »