As the number of connected media devices grows, home networking will continue to gain importance in consumers’ expanding digital lifestyle. By 2014, shipments of core home-networking equipment (home gateways/routers, adapters, bridges, NICs, embedded LAN, NAS) and networked-enabled media devices (consumer-electronics devices with network connectivity, excluding computers and mobile devices) will top 1 billion units.

According to ABI Research Senior Analyst Michael Inouye comments, “On the CE side, TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes are expected to lead in shipments. As pay-TV operators continue to push new services and features, such as multiscreen initiatives and whole home DVRs, connectivity will increasingly come to the forefront of the digital living room.”

While Wi-Fi is expected to remain the most common technology used to connect these media devices (in most cases, Wi-Fi will provider 60 percent of the access), other wired networking technologies (through adapters) like MoCA, G.hn, power line communication and HomePNA, are expected to start gaining additional traction.  But end users need to know about these technologies in order to use them.

“The market vision is to enable a seamless networking environment that will rely on a number of technologies,” adds Inouye. “A consumer, for instance, might start a file transfer to a media tablet using 60-GHz wireless technology, then switch to a 5-GHz technology as the device moves about the home, and then again, unbeknownst to the consumer, switch to MoCA to finish the download as the tablet is docked." 

He concludes, “Even with working groups such as P1905 in building toward a connected networking environment, this future will still need the support of all companies throughout the value chain, considering the large number of consumers who in past primary studies have shown a general lack of awareness about the networking technologies currently in their homes.”

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