A whopping 1.7 billion devices capable of accessing over-the-top broadband content from services such as Netflix, Hulu, and other platforms are expected to ship by the end of 2013. The majority of these devices are still PCs and smartphones, according to a new consumer electronics report by global research firm IHS.
Other OTT devices include set-top boxes, Blu-Ray players, smart TVs, game consoles, tablets, and other devices designed to bring OTT content to televisions, such as Apple TV and Roku. These types of devices increased 20% in shipments this year over 2012 numbers, and are expected to grow another 20% next year. Total OTT-ready devices could reach 2.67 billion by 2017, an 86 percent increase in five years.
As OTT gains ground, it puts the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) increasingly on the spot to nail down regulations regarding bandwidth hogging over-the-top streaming content. As people use more mobile devices to access content, it will place increasing strains on bandwidth, raising accessibility and regulatory issues. As operators experience the bandwidth crunch and consumers demand more OTT content, pressure will increase on regulators to make more bandwidth available and decide how it will be parceled out and regulated.
IHS also predicts that technology in OTT-ready devices will continue to improve, including better chips that will enable them to stream content while preserving device battery life and keeping prices low enough to satisfy consumers. Balancing those needs with the technical and computing requirements OTT needs will place high demands on device manufacturers as they work to keep up with the growing market.