What

Parks AssociatesFor the foreseeable future, online data/backup services will complement local storage such as computers and attached hard drives because they provide redundancy and the flexibility of multiplatform access. Online solutions will not reduce the need for robust storage in the home over the next five years, but it could eventually bring forth the long-anticipated arrival of "thin client" computing, where devices don't have to rely on large amounts of storage and processing. But it's a long-term evolution, and it will be awhile before consumers start to see their local storage and computing needs diminish.

3 Technologies from CES

CES was a great experience for me this year, being the first opportunity I've had in over 3 years to go because of my deployment to Iraq. The energy of the show felt entirely upbeat and positive, full of optimism for this New Year and the new technologies that will literally dominate our lives.

With such an abundance of amazing technological innovation happening all around us, I find it hard to believe that anyone can not be absolutely thrilled about the direction we are moving! So with that, I'd like to present a few of the technologies that I feel are going to be major influencers around our homes this year.

Rethinking The Last Analog Mile:

So, here's the $64,000 question:  With all the trends in content and technology already headed for a full-digital future, why is it that most multi-room home a/v systems still use analog to distribute audio and video content?  Even more ludicrous, all of these systems are starting with content that's in digital format and converting it to analog in order to route it around the home.

The Connected TV and Video Experience:

While the electronic program guide (EPG) helps by organizing available content and relevant metadata for review, systems with enhanced search functionality and content recommendations allow consumers greater control over the discovery and evaluation process and thus play a significant role in promoting content and maintaining customer satisfaction. While these search-and-recommendation methods differ among solution providers, each system relies on a combination of information sources.

Consumer Attitudes and the Benefits of Smart Grid Technologies

Consumer attitudes about the benefits of smart grid technology are still in a formative stage. Most consumers are not aware of the term, much less the capabilities smart grid technologies will be bringing in the next few years.

To Internet Or Not To Internet

The bottom line? While the Internet is an amazingly useful tool, it is not appropriate for every application - in spite of the efforts being made to tout it as such. Basic understanding of the limitations involved will help educated consumers make purchasing decisions that reflect their needs regardless of current techo-fashion trends or external market pressures.

Are Internet HDTVs The Next Big Thing?

Internet TVs have been around in some fashion for a while now, let's call it year 3, and actual sales results have been, well, lukewarm. It was CES 2009 that kicked off the first big year for Internet TVs as 2008 was really a starter year with unit sales of little over a half a million.

Google TV - Searching for Success

Kurt Scherf studies developments in home networks, residential gateways, digital entertainment services, consumer electronics, and digital home technical support services. Kurt is the sole author or contributing author/analyst to more than 80 research reports and studies produced by Parks Associates since 1998.

The Role of the Set-Top Box

Parks Associates expects the role that a set-top box serves in the home to expand. Service providers, especially cable and telco/IPTV operators, will leverage this platform to support their multiplay strategies. Consequently, the set-top box will play a role as a home media server itself or as a network node, supporting multimedia functions and connecting multiple entertainment platforms while linking back to an RG to offer whole-home services.

3D TV - A Few Facts

As many of you are aware, I try to be informative and break down the technology into a less technical fashion to help educate and inform those we've had contact with.

The 3D technology is definitely improved and the movie experience is very involving. If you decide to jump in and get the technology, you'll definitely wow family and friends.

Broadband - A New Utility?

The 'connected home' is really starting to become a reality. With more and more devices that link to the home network arriving in stores the prices are plummeting. Broadband is cheaper and service providers are under pressure to find new ways to exploit their mobile and fixed broadband networks. In addition, concern for carbon emissions and new smart grid strategies are driving the deployment of still more networked devices. There are challenges though.

Baby Boomers Embracing Consumer Technology

For the past two years, Accenture has been conducting in-depth research about the usage patterns of various types of consumer technology products and services among U.S. consumers. The data below represents research completed in the winter of 2008/2009 and provides direct comparisons with last winter's 2007/2008 research data. The goal was to determine if there had been any changes in usage between Baby Boomers + (age 45 and older) and Generation Y (ages 18 to 24). The research uncovered several interesting trends:

Web Video's Recent Moves: Making the Right Decisions?

The market to distribute premium video content (mainly TV episodes and feature-length movies) is currently going through one of its most dynamic periods as experimentation with business models, delivery mechanisms, and consumer tastes is in full swing.

Content Insider # 110 - Shrinking Computing

Bright Idea - Just so no one missed the fact that Intel's Craig Barrett was talking about another bright idea that the company's engineering teams had developed the events folks put him in front of a light bulb. It didn't work because we could barely see the itty-bitty device he held in his hand at the opening of IDF this year. Source -- Intel

Content Insider #109 - We're All Still Talking, Viewing

Flood of Content - The 2008 Olympics sent a flood of video content to the US and around the globe threatening to drown everything in its path. But the Internet infrastructure was able to support the huge online viewing audience easily.

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