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Research firm sees flourishing market for media server

Posted: 17 Nov 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ABI Research? Apple? Sony? Motorola? Intel?

The media server market is gaining strength as large end-user platform vendors release a variety of products for digital distribution and content shifting in the home and over the Internet. This is according to ABI Research's Home Media Servers and Entertainment Hubs report, which examines the positioning of four main device categoriesthe PC, STB, consumer electronics and network storageas the home media server.

"The market for networked media devices is seeing significant traction in the second half of 2006, and media servers are key component for the major vendors of platforms for consumer content," said Michael Wolf, research director of ABI Research. "We expect that platform providers will continue their push to integrate capabilities for secure distribution of content over home networks and into the Internet."

A media server strategy is fast becoming a requirement for platform providers both for retail and service provider technology, said ABI Research.

Key vendor-related developments driving the media server market at present include Apple's iTV media adapter that pushed the company into the media networking and media server market; Sony's Playstation 3 that is projected to placeshift content locally and over the Internet to the Playstation Portable; and Motorola's Home Media DRV platform and Cisco's media networking initiative that are pushing their STB and consumer media platforms further towards whole-home media servers. Meanwhile, Intel's Viiv program and AMD Live were touted to have brought several new media networked devices to market to enable local and Internet distribution from media server PCs.

Key end-use applications for media server devices include multi-room PVR and place-shifting of content, reported ABI Research. Companies like Orb and Sling Media, which enable the evolution of PC and STB platforms into media servers through aftermarket products, are forecasting increased end-user traction as well.

"While consumers are hesitant to take on additional technology that complicates their lives, new and enticing use-case scenarios are steadily increasing adoption of different technologies," said Wolf. "Once media servers provide new ways to consume content in new ways, these technologies will see mainstream adoption."

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