1.7bn 'over-the-top' enabled devices shipped this year

10 December 2013

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

More than 1.7 billion devices capable of using over-the-top (OTT) broadband will be shipped worldwide by the end of this year.

This is according to IHS's latest Consumer Electronics Topical Report, which classifies OTT devices as those capable of streaming broadband services, such as on-demand content subscriptions. The term comes from the fact such media is sent on top of a data or internet connection.

It includes the likes of Blu-ray players, smart TVs, game consoles, computer devices and smartphones.

IHS claims this is an increase of 20 per cent from the 1.43 billion units sent out in 2012. It predicts the figure will grow by the same amount next year, ultimately reaching 2.67 billion gadgets by 2017. Compared to 2012's figures, this would be an improvement of 86 per cent.

Senior principal analyst for consumer platforms at IHS Jordan Selburn said the drive for OTT is coming from consumers, operators and those providing the media. He added: "Content owners want to expand the market for the films, music and videos they own. Meanwhile, operators wish to use OTT in order to add value to their services and keep subscribers from cancelling TV subscriptions in favour of purely broadband connections - preventing what the industry calls 'cutting the cord'."

The study suggests the majority of OTT models are currently PCs or smartphones, as they equalled a combined 836 million units of the 1.43 billion shipped last year.

Smartphones are becoming a leading area of technology. The most recent quarterly survey from NPD DisplaySearch concluded 1.8 billion smartphones will be shipped in 2017, the same year IHS forecasts 2.67 billion OTT units. As such, phones may prove to have a more dominant role to play in the future of the OTT market.

A similar argument can also be made for the popularity of tablets, as they feature very similar designs and both can be used to stream media and access various OTT services.

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