Video fuels demand for Web-connected TVs

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Analysts warn of home networking market in transition.

The fast growing popularity of online video will spark strong growth in connected entertainment devices such as internet-connected TVs, analysts predict.

ABI Research believes that the surge in networked entertainment will result in the number of media networking connections eclipsing total core networking connections by 2011.

"New services from traditional media companies and online content aggregators are resulting in the need for pervasive connectivity," said ABI Research director Michael Wolf.

"The core home networking market for devices such as routers and gateways has proved strong over the past decade, but it has matured.

"Connectivity is moving from separate hardware to embedded solutions, as IP connectivity becomes a requirement for nearly every consumer electronics category in the next five years."

Wolf added that companies such as Linksys, Netgear and D-Link increasingly see themselves as consumer electronics vendors as much as they are networking hardware vendors.

"The lines between consumer system vendors are no longer as clear, and the networking hardware and PC OEMs are looking to establish their own brands in the living room," he said.

"Clearly challenges lie ahead for this type of transition, given consumers' high expectations of consumer electronics products.

"The one major advantage these companies have is their expertise in delivering packets, something that is inherently valued in this broad transition to a networked world of entertainment."
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