Intel, Apple, Sony and Motorola are gearing up for a battle of epic proportions as they try to take a slice of the media server market.
Growth in the sector is seeing "significant momentum", according to ABI Research, as large end-user platform vendors release new digital distribution products, and content shifts in the home and over the Internet.
ABI noted that a media server strategy is fast becoming a requirement for platform providers for retail and service provider technologies.
"The market for networked media devices has seen significant traction in the second half of 2006, and media servers are a key component for the major vendors of platforms for consumer content," said ABI research director Michael Wolf.
"We expect platform providers to integrate the capabilities for secure distribution of content over home networks and onto the internet."
Apple's announcement of its iTV media adapter has pushed the firm into the media networking and media server market, ABI stated.
The analyst firm's newly published study added that Sony's recent announcement that its PlayStation 3 will be able to place-shift content locally and over the internet to the PlayStation Portable marked an aggressive move into the sector.
The report also predicted that Motorola's Home Media DRV platform and Cisco's media networking initiative will push the firms' consumer media platforms further towards whole-home media servers.
Intel's Viiv and AMD's Live services have brought a significant number of new media networked devices to market enabling local and Internet distribution from media server PCs, according to ABI.
Some of the key end-use applications for these media server devices include multi-room PVR and place-shifting of content.
Companies like Orb Networks and Sling Media, which enable the evolution of PC and set-top box platforms into media servers through after-market products, are seeing increased end-user traction as well.
"While consumers are hesitant to take on additional technology that complicates their lives, new and enticing use-case scenarios are steadily increasing the adoption of different technologies," said Wolf.
"Once media servers provide new ways to consume content in new ways, these technologies will see mainstream adoption."
Big guns jump on media server bandwagon
By Robert Jaques on Nov 14, 2006 9:45AM