According to a report from TDG, eight in ten US broadband households now use a home network, meaning they are able to access a growing variety of net-based video and applications on a growing number of devices. Nearly 40 per cent of home network routers are now located in the primary living room, more than twice the number found in ‘home offices.’
In the last year, there has been a 26 per cent increase in the number of broadband-networked households that place their routers in the family/living room (30 per cent in 2001 vs. 38 per cent in 2011). Conversely, and during the same time period, the number of those placing their routers in a ‘home office’ has declined 30 per cent (down from 26 per cent in 2010 to 18 per cent in 2011).
“The migration of home network hardware from the ‘home office’ to the primary living space offers both functional and figurative insight,” notes Michael Greeson, TDG founding partner and director of research. “TDG noted in 2005 that, driven by the incessant desire to optimize their entertainment experiences, consumers would progressively place their network access point adjacent to key net-enabled video entertainment platforms such as game consoles, disc players, and DVRs. In 2012, this is precisely what we observe and most would acknowledge. The meaning of this shift, however, remains lost on the majority of observers.”
This near-linear relationship strongly supports the argument that in-home networks are seen increasingly as a means to connect key living room entertainment platforms to the Internet as opposed to “networking” stationary computers and peripherals. Consistent with TDG’s longstanding predictions, router placement has evolved in step with evolving consumer needs. As net-enabled entertainment services such as Netflix became more popular, optimal placement would swing from the ‘home office’ to the living room.