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1.5. Future

North American subscribers are expected to follow their European counterparts and have set-top boxes with a wide range of capabilities. Some of these capabilities include TV-commerce, allowing purchases to be made directly from the TV, as well as the capability to use the set-top box as a home media gateway. These capabilities lead marketers to envision at least one consumer electronic device interfacing with each set-top box. According to The Strategis Group, whereas in 2000 there were about 9 million subscribers in the U.S. and about 20 million worldwide, some predict a potential market size of 50 million subscribers. VOD delivering high quality picture and content is expected to be one of the drivers of this transition [DEVICETOP].

Since most of the existing systems are proprietary, the market is fragmented and costs are relatively high. The technologies needed to build such systems are well understood. The next step of industry-wide cost reduction seems to be based on component sharing and utilization of standardized interfaces.


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