Media Server PC Market Forecast To Grow To $44 Billion

Media Server PC Market Forecast To Grow To $44 Billion

By K.C. Jones Fri Jul 7, 2:59 PM ET

Digital media servers are becoming more popular in homes and the media server PC category could grow from $3.7 billion next year to $44 billion by 2011, according to a new report.

ABI Research said existing products like PCs and set-tops will transform into whole-home media servers thanks to growth in digital content and maturing of key industry initiatives.

"With the arrival of faster in-home digital networking technologies such as MoCA, an industry-accepted framework for networked digital media distribution in DLNA, and the increase in both pay-TV and Internet content moving over in-home networks, the home media server is becoming a key beachhead in the digital home," Michael Wolf, principal analyst, said Thursday in a prepared statement.

ABI expects digital media servers to evolve into four main categories: PCs, set-top boxes, consumer electronics devices like gaming consoles or PVRs and Network Attached Storage hardware. Many consumers are likely to centralize content on media center PCs, but content type will be a determining factor, according to ABI research released Thursday.

The approval of OCUR CableCard support in Windows Vista will spur some adoption of pay TV over consumer-installed networks, but the set-top box will dominate the pay TV media server category, Wolf said. The PC media server and consumer electronics categories will flourish as personal and Internet content servers, he said.

PC aftermarket software and embedded middleware for media servers will also grow, while vendors deliver software that allows consumers to create their own media servers and DLNA middleware vendors create software across all media server categories, according to ABI. The embedded media server software industry will ship more than 112 million units in 2011, according to the report.

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