What is a Next Generation STB?

Over the last couple of decades, I have been involved in various roles with the creation, design and delivery of various Next Generation STBs. In all that time what a Next Gen STB was varied considerably.

Is it just an STB that has more features than the current one?

Is it a reference to a truly groundbreaking change in STB feature set that sets a company in a new direction to change consumer experiences?

Or is it just simply the next one? In many situations it really has just been the next one.

Personally whenever I have used the phrase, I have taken it to mean a truly groundbreaking change in STB feature set that changes consumer experiences.

In 2000 it was return path for Interactive features

In 2001 it was PVR

In 2005 it was HD digital video

In 2010 it was Graphically rich user interfaces

In 2012 it was hybrid/OTT

In 2015 it was 4K video

So what is the ground breaking change for today’s Next Generation STB? Looking forward, what would be the change for the one after that? Looking around at the requirements coming from operators today, then we can see what is ‘Next Generation’ for STBs… HDR video with video processing.

What do I mean by this?

Well it means having an STB that is able to take whatever video is delivered to it – whether that is SD, HD, UHD SDR, UHD PQ, or HLG, HDR10+, Dolby Vision content and present it to the TV display at the best possible quality format that this TV actually is able to support. It goes without saying that it also has to make it look good, something of a challenge with display SD video on a 4K display today.

This means that the RFP for your Next Generation STB, has to really know what is needed to process video to do this, it has to know what it needs to ask for and also be able to qualify the responses back from vendors. That last bit is critical, because vendors squeeze the answer to make products compliant, and you cannot take them at their word. This is something that we have the experience and expertise for.

The world out there is a complex environment of differing standards and all sorts of complexity, and the job of the technology that underlies a great service is to make the technology go away, but that only happens when it fits the needs and is delivered well. Get in touch if you are about to embark on your Next Generation STB (and other devices for that matter) and learn how we can help.

Fairmile West is a Consulting company focused on working in the Consumer Device and Video arena. We work with clients on technology strategy and product delivery through key practices in Consumer Devices and Video Services. If you are interested in learning more about what we do, please do get in touch via our website – Contact us. You can also keep track with what interests us in the industry by following our Link blog at TV Tech News, and you can specifically follow news on Ultra HD via the following link – Ultra HD News.