Over-the-top Set Top Box shootout teleconference

September 30, 2008

In less than an hour, I’ll be leading a Forrester teleconference to talk about the results of our over-the-top set top box shootout. We evaluated TiVo HD, Apple TV, HP MediaSmart Connect, VUDU, Netflix/Roku, and the unusual ZvBox. Clients can access the teleconference archive to see it after the fact. Or you can read the report the teleconference is based on. 

We had to pick a point in time to evaluate set tops that were available, though we know a few new ones are coming out soon, including the SlingCatcher, expect to hear more from me on that as it gets released. 

The cool thing about this teleconference and report is that we built a new model for evaluating any new technology product where you add up the consumer benefits the box provides (content, convenience, community, etc.) and then subtract the barriers that stand in the way of its adoption (like price, complexity, lack of a brand, etc.). It gives you a way to score a product against other products in its category, as well as in adjacent categories.

The bottom line is this: these set top boxes are all competing to win a distant second prize behind DVRs which are now getting close to 30% of all US households. Meanwhile, the PC is rising as a way to do much of what these set tops do, but in a more flexible (albeit complex to install and manage) way. In other words, this market will have to work hard to prove that it even is a market.

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