Game on for home networking

Game on for home networking

Wireless home device market set to explode

The market for home networking and connected entertainment devices will rocket over the next few years, according to a new study from ABI Research.

Total sales of hardware, gateways, networked storage devices and entertainment devices will rise from $14bn in 2005 to more than $85bn by 2011.

The major driver will be the transformation of conventional consumer electronics devices, such as games consoles, DVD players, TVs and portable media players, from standalone to network-connected devices using wireless and wired IP technologies.

New digital media applications are creating demand for connected entertainment and communications devices, the research firm said.

The rise in popularity of multi-room personal video recorders, place-shifting and networked gaming are fast creating a need for a pervasive connectivity throughout the home, to the internet and between devices.

"This market has reached a major turning point," said ABI Research principal analyst Michael Wolf.

"Home networking has moved beyond a basic broadband sharing model to one of networked entertainment and convergence across the PC, consumer electronics and communications devices."

Wolf added that the emergence of enabling technologies such as 802.11n for wireless video distribution, HomePlug AV and MoCA as alternative multimedia network backbones are "solidifying the foundation for an explosion of new devices and applications based on a fully connected home".

Service providers are the catalyst in this market, as IPTV providers such as Verizon, France Telecom, PCCW and AT& T utilise home network technologies for video distribution, while others look to home networking as a way to extend data services without having to rewire the home.

Residential gateways and networked set-top boxes are becoming standard requests as service providers look for new revenue streams based on IP and converged networked services.

"The total number of network connections shipped into the connected home will grow from 247 million in 2005 to over 861 million by 2011," said Wolf.

"Wi-Fi will become the most common of the connection technologies as consumers look to connect home servers, gateways, networked consumer electronics and portable devices over the media network."