Networking now 'vital' in consumer electronics

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Networking connections are rapidly becoming a "must have" feature for consumer electronics devices..

Analysts forecast that consumers will increasingly demand digital content, social networking and IP services delivered through embedded networks in the devices they buy.

ABI Research expects that the leading device categories for embedded networking in consumer electronics will shift from the early market leaders - game consoles - to TVs and DVD players.

"While many TV manufacturers have been evaluating the integration of networking features into devices for some time, only recently have manufacturers such as LG, Sony and HP begun to ship products en masse with embedded networking," said Mike Wolf, research director at ABI.

"Japan has had networked TVs for some time, but other regions are beginning to receive such merchandise as TV manufacturers begin to see the value of future-proofing their products with IP connections."

Portable devices such as media players and game consoles will have mostly wireless networking connections such as Wi-Fi, according to the report.

But fixed devices such as TVs, set-top boxes and other device categories are expected to have a mix of Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections.

Alternative Lan technologies will also see some penetration, as HomePlug and MoCA based technologies make their way into set-top boxes.

Overall, Wi-Fi media connections will lead, however, with total Wi-Fi enabled consumer electronics reaching 329 million shipments by 2012.

"Networking connections have gone from being 'nice-to-have' to 'necessary' for some categories of devices such as portable media players and gaming consoles," added Wolf.

"We expect that, as more devices get tied to content services, other categories will follow the same route, and we are already beginning to see this today."
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