Networked entertainment is set to replace broadband sharing as the biggest worldwide driver of home networking during 2003, according to market research outfit In-Stat/MDR.
Analysts are pointing to the emergence of equipment such as bridging devices that connect televisions and stereo equipment with PCs through Ethernet or Wi-Fi, and media servers that store and play rich content over a home network as examples of growing demand.
In-Stat/MDR predicted these new products would see the overall home networking market grow from US$1.8 billion last year to US$5.3 billion by 2007.
Media networking was expected to make up 49 per cent of total home networking revenues by the end of 2007, up from just 6 per cent in 2002.
"Wireless LAN and home routers sales have surged in the US as well countries such as Japan and the UK," In-Stat/MDR director, Mike Wolf, said.
New and compelling applications like online gaming and networked digital audio were driving the increased demand for networking connectivity, Wolf said, and would continue to do so "across demographics and geographies" in coming years.