Digital-content-hungry America isn’t expected to have their appetites for the stuff satisfied anytime soon. In fact, they are expected to continue to gorge themselves on their digital video, photos, music and general information for quite some time to come.
Consumer demand for digital media and online content will push worldwide annual sales of connected CE devices to more than 100 million units by 2013, according to the new Parks Associates report, "Home Networks for Consumer Electronics."
These numbers also include networked TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, home media servers and set-top boxes. Through network and Internet connections, these devices can also access and display home network content such as photos and music and retrieve online content such as widgets, games and video from Hulu and YouTube.
"Key consumer trends are aligning to drive this market," said Kurt Scherf, vice president, principal analyst, Parks Associates. "People want whole-home access to their personal content, which will increase the storage needs of the average U.S. household to a terabyte. At the same time, consumers are very interested in bringing Internet content to the television. For devices to offer a compelling value proposition, they will have to feature connectivity within the home network and to the services coming to the home."
Diverse user scenarios create multiple challenges for technology developers, according to Scherf, including interface design as well as connectivity.
"Connected CE use cases will include access to many different services and types of content," Scherf said. "Interface design will be an important area as users will need easy access to their content and services."
With regard to the more portable and on-the-go among us, it is forecast that by 2011 more people will use or access the Internet on mobile devices than on the PC. This is forecast on a global basis and is largely driven by emerging markets. It is also changing everything consumers do today.
"It is now the single most significant thing that defines our society today," said retail analyst Lauren Sosik. "Consumers are defined by their presence online—the time they spend chatting and sharing their lives through their various connected devices, either on-the-go or at home."
As for what is and will continue to drive this market, Park’s Scherf was certain about the main force.
"Several factors are driving the connected consumer electronics market, but none is more significant than the rise of premium access content services—such as multi-channel television and broadband Internet offerings—and the continued trend of centralized digital media in the home," he added. "The pace of product and service development in this space will grow more intense as the market is joined in force by CE manufacturers, service providers, retailers and the content industry."
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