Chinese TV decoder maker SMiT is expanding into India and Russia, among other emerging markets this year, as it rides the smart TV wave around the world.
The Hong Kong-based company has become a dominant player in Western Europe in the last eight years with its main line of conditional access modules (CAM), devices that connect to digital receivers and help unscramble digital content for pay TV subscribers.
SMiT president Shuai Hongyu told EJ Insight that the company did not expect to be where it is today when it first ventured into the European digital TV market in 2006.
“[But] the timing was just right,” Shuai said.
He said the former state-owned company helped set standards for the Chinese CAM system 11 years ago but back then the technology was too new to Chinese consumers and most TVs sold in China did not have slots to incorporate CAM. So it headed offshore in search of business as European countries like France and Germany legislated that TVs over a certain size must have a CAM slot.
An explosion in mainland growth over the last three years has drawn SMiT back home and the company has worked to diversify its business on the mainland.
Together with video website iQiyi and TV maker TCL, SMiT launched a USB-like “merged television” terminal in Wuhan, Hubei province, late last month. The terminal integrates Netflix-style video-on-demand services with cable offerings, letting users choose from one menu rather than having to switch between various devices.
But it’s still not certain how the new business will be affected by tougher national rules on internet TV.
SMiT is among the world’s top three CAM producers and its customers include German cable companies Kabel Deutschland, Kabel Baden Wuerttemberg and Dutch cable operator Ziggo.
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