Future of Home Networking – Sharing Media

LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jan. 8, 2004–Consumers planning to create a home network are most interested in sharing digital entertainment content through the integration of PCs and related CE products according to a new survey conducted by The NPD Group.

The NPD survey and report, “Bringing the Network Home: An In-Depth Assessment,” shows increasing interest in sharing movies, music and photos using televisions, DVD players and audio systems along with traditional sharing of files, printers and Internet access. In addition, consumers are beginning to embrace home networks for security and for controlling appliances, creating “smart homes.”

Among the newer media-centric applications for home networks, NPD found that sharing personal media was the most popular application among 40 percent of those planning to install home networks during the next 12 months, up from 33 percent among current home-network owners. More home-network planners intend to share personal photos and video (32 percent vs. 27 percent for home-network owners), distribute music across the network (24 percent vs. 18 percent for home-network owners) and distribute movies and TV across the network (16 percent vs. 8 percent for home-network users)… “Spurred by the current wave of digital convergence, home networking will be one of the first technologies to which consumers will be exposed,” said Stephen Baker, The NPD Group’s director of industry analysis. “As the survey indicates, more and more consumers see the clear benefits of home networking. They’ll share pictures and music across multiple digital devices, and will integrate new-to-market products into their networks.

Survey results found no single demographic trait was especially strong among the 28 percent of respondents who identified themselves as home network owners, although some demographic groups were more inclined to own networks than others. More men (30 percent) than women (26 percent) had home networks installed and home networkers were more likely to be under 35 and make more than 0,000 per year.

NPD also found increasing interest in forging links with relatively low-tech products. Some 11 percent of home-network planners intend to use their networks for home security – including baby monitoring and security cameras – compared with the 4 percent of network users who now do so. Seven percent of home-network planners (versus 3 percent of current home-network users) have expressed intent in creating a “smart home” which would control home appliances through the network.
Wi-Fi is gaining on Ethernet, the current standard for home networking. Wi-Fi is the indicated choice of future home networkers – 40 percent versus the current 22 percent. Twenty-one percent of future planned home networks will use Ethernet, down from the current 58 percent rate, NPD found.

“Practical concerns have driven the adoption of home networks, but they’ve also been the leading barriers to adoption,” Baker added. “Nearly 80 percent of those not planning to install a home network cited lack of need while half noted that they didn’t have enough suitable products to create such a network.” There was, however, considerable promise that many respondents would be drawn to network their homes at some point. About 31 percent reported they might network in the future.

Methodology – “Bringing Home the Network: An In-Depth Assessment” was an online survey conducted among members of NPD’s online consumer panel. The nationally balanced sample of adults completed the survey between October 29 and November 6, 2003. The survey was structured to yield three basic consumer segments that comprise the home-network market: current home-network owners, those planning to install home networks during the next 12 months and those with no immediate plans to install a network.


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