TVs Will Not Replace STBs, Says Kaon

We had an interesting discussion about the future of the TV industry with an employee of Kaon Media. He – and Kaon – realise that UltraHD and HEVC are the major trends in the market, with Android TV, open-source frameworks and advanced content delivery as lesser trends. LTE Broadcast is also important for emerging markets.

All European operators are seeking to future-proof their service and product offerings with UltraHD, so Kaon is rolling out several boxes that will help them with this. Because aesthetics are important, one of the boxes – still under development and not at the show – will be much smaller than the others. This is difficult to do with UltraHD STBs, as heat output can be very high compared to conventional units.

Kaon was showing a hybrid UltraHD Android TV STB, with IPTV and DVB-C support. It has 8GB of storage, 2GB of DRAM and Bluetooth, HDMI (supporting UltraHD at 60fps), USB and RJ45 connectivity. A pure IP version was also on show, as was a model running Linux.

STBs will remain relevant, at least in the near future, despite the rapid spread in connected TV sets, said our contact. This is for two main reasons: first, the ease of upgrades. STBs are much cheaper to replace than a TV set when a new technology is rolled out, and have a shorter average lifespan, anyway. Second, operators prefer STBs because they offer a fully curated and branded experience for the end-user; whereas with TV sets, an operator’s app could be one among hundreds, and the TV’s UI can be changed by the vendor at any time.