In US case, Kazaa surrenders to paper tiger

With the number of broadband Internet users and digital video subscribers on the rise, there's been a concurrent demand for advanced consumer electronics products that can tap into and play back digital files, according to In-Stat/MDR.

Today's consumers of digital content are also looking for a more "personalized" experience that lets them customize and store vast amounts of digital video, music and data, according to according to Mike Paxton, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR. For this reason, portable digital music players that integrate hard disk drives, such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod, have proven to be extremely popular, he added. Led by models like the iPod and the Rio Riot, worldwide unit shipments are forecasted to increase from 230,000 in 2001 to over 950,000 in 2003, In-Stat/MDR forecasts.

Meanwhile, many consumer electronics manufacturers have responded to the demand for greater storage capacity by turning to the magnetic hard disk drive. Hard disk drives are now found in products like personal video recorders (PVRs), video game consoles like Microsoft 's Xbox, portable digital music players such as the iPod, as well as in other products like digital audio jukeboxes and even television sets.

"While the personal computer industry remains the most important market for hard disk drives, the consumer electronics market is developing into an excellent secondary market segment," he said. "While use of hard disk drives will grow in the consumer segment, other storage formats will provide plenty of competition."

Flash, RAM and optical storage solutions will continue to be widely used in the consumer products space, although the advantages of hard disk drives should continue to provide hard disk drive suppliers with a "distinct advantage," according to In-Stat/MDR. The research firm also found that:

-- Worldwide unit shipments of PVRs are forecasted to increase from 1.2 million in 2001, to over 6 million in 2003.

-- Satellite set-top boxes with integrated hard disk drives will continue to make up the bulk of PVR unit shipments, although cable set-top box-based PVR unit shipments are expected to grow rapidly over the next two years.

-- Product development of consumer electronics products with hard disk drive-based storage is continuing. The next generation of products will include hard disk drive-enabled PDAs, cell phones, and even wearable computers.

In-Stat/MRD's report is entitled "From TiVo to the iPod, Hard Disk Drives Penetrate Consumer Electronics Products" and is available for purchase from the company's Web site.

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Dennis Sellers

Computerworld
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