Hybrid set-top boxes are rapidly being deployed by pay-TV operators worldwide to help them deliver advanced services and manage bandwidth scarcity. In 2010, only 40 percent of set-top boxes worldwide featured hybrid capabilities, with many not yet enabled by software as operators were not ready to deploy IP video services, according to ABI Research’s “Set-Top Box Market Data." But hybrid box penetration will rise above 60 percent by 2016 as operators look at IP-based video on demand (VOD) and advertising solutions, as well as interactive content.

Hybrid set-top boxes have the ability to decode video sent over the Internet or over two types of networks (such as satellite and terrestrial).

“Huawei has powered to first in IPTV set-top box market share from a distant fourth – a sign that APAC IPTV growth will outpace that of Europe in the coming years,” said Jason Blackwell, ABI practice director/Digital Home, in a statement. “Pace is once again the worldwide leader for set-top box shipments, with Motorola remaining in second place, and Technicolor a close third.”

“Satellite operators are looking to Internet-enabled set-top boxes to deliver advanced services over-the-top (OTT) in regions with strong broadband penetration,” added Sam Rosen, ABI senior analyst/Digital Home.

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ESPN is activating its MegaCast production for the NFL Wild Card presentation (taking place Jan 9 or 10). ESPN and ABC will simulcast the Wild Card game, and ESPN2 and Freeform

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