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As the number of connected media devices grows, home networking will continue to gain importance in consumers’ expanding digital lifestyle. By 2014, shipments of core home networking equipment (home gateways/routers, adapters, bridges, NICs, embedded LAN, NAS) and networked-enabled media devices (CE devices with network connectivity, excluding computers and mobile devices) will exceed one billion units according to ABI Research.
Senior analyst Michael Inouye comments, “On the CE side, TVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes are expected to lead in shipments. As pay-TV operators continue to push new services and features, such as multiscreen initiatives and whole home DVRs, connectivity will increasingly come to the forefront of the digital living room.”
While Wi-Fi is expected to remain the most common technology used to connect these media devices (in most cases greater than 60 per cent), other wired networking technologies (through adapters) such as MoCA, G.hn, power line communication, and HomePNA, are expected to start gaining additional traction. A critical missing component has been consumer mindshare, but this is anticipated to grow as more pay-TV/broadband operators use these devices to extend services throughout the home.
“The market vision is to enable a seamless networking environment that will rely on a number of technologies,” adds Inouye. “A consumer, for instance, might start a file transfer to a media tablet using 60GHz wireless technology, then switch to a 5GHz technology as the device moves about the home, and then again, unbeknownst to the consumer, switch to MoCA to finish the download as the tablet is docked. Even with working groups such as P1905.1 building toward a connected networking environment, this future will still need the support of all companies throughout the value chain, considering the large number of consumers who in past primary studies have shown a general lack of awareness about the networking technologies currently in their homes.”