Computers will increasingly be used to listen to music and watch DVDs, but weak playback is hampering their acceptance outside the bedroom or office, according to audio expert Dolby.
With convergence between consumer electronics and traditional computing devices continuing apace, the quality of playback on IT systems needs to improve, attendees at the Dolby Forum in London heard last month.
"The PC is unacceptable at the moment for audio and video, but it is getting better," said Ed Schummer, senior vice president and general manager at Dolby.
But he added that some dedicated consumer products, such as home theatre, are too difficult to set up for optimum sound quality.
Dolby is working with the IT industry and other companies in the audio sector to drive improvements, especially to reduce system noise.
Getting people from these various sectors together has been difficult, Schummer admitted, especially as the "consumer industry is afraid that the PC is nipping at its heels and taking over a market it has owned for decades".
The PC has changed the way people approach video and, in particular, music, and the popularity of music downloads has boosted interest in streaming music over a network.
And with more people listening to compressed formats, Dolby is looking at how this affects quality.
Jason Armitage, a senior research analyst at IDC, said that the PC needs to reach the stage where it is linking with devices around the home, such as TV and audio. But he did not believe that dedicated media servers were the way forward in the near future.
"I have reservations about how quickly they will get into the home, and believe that the PC is still the best way of having a server in the home," said Armitage.
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