Rapid adoption of broadband during 2003 and early 2004 has catapulted home networking into the mainstream as large numbers of consumers install networks to share fast internet connections for digital entertainment.
Analyst In-Stat/MDR reported that the continued need for broadband sharing, and a growing interest in entertainment networking, will more than double the total value of home networking connection equipment from $8.3bn in 2004 to $17.1bn by 2008.
"The emergence of media networking continues to be the most exciting part of the home networking market," said Mike Wolf, principal analyst at In-Stat/MDR, in a statement.
"Many vendors have announced or released media networking products to connect entertainment devices to networks in order to share audio and video content around the home.
"We expect Microsoft's Media Center Extender technology to accelerate this trend going forward into 2005."
The analyst firm's latest research also found that the wireless local area network (Lan) market has evolved from being dominated by 802.11b to one where 802.11g and multi-band 802.11 represented nearly 50 per cent of shipments in the fourth quarter of 2003.
In-Stat/MDR predicted that emerging technologies such as Multiple Inputs/Multiple Outputs and wireless 1394 will make wireless Lan technology an increasingly viable alternative for multimedia networking.
According to the study, Digital Domicile 2004: Home Networking Hits the Big Time, content will increasingly be delivered to the home over a variety of broadcast and IP-based channels, then redistributed over a home network.
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