Asia Homes Transformed by Broadband

While it's a low priority now, the desire for entertainment will drive the popularity of computer networks, says IDC research

In its latest survey of broadband-enabled households across the region, IDC noted a growing number of homes with multiple Internet users. According to the survey, nearly 40 percent of respondents had set up a PC network for practical, data-centric applications.

The top five reasons for installing a home network fall under what IDC describes as the "work-related" PC network category. Sharing a fast Internet connection was by far the most important reason, particularly among respondents in Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, according to the study. Other key reasons for setting up a home network include having the ability to transfer files, enable wireless connectivity and share peripherals and a single network for generic work purposes.

Entertainment presented a lower priority for most consumers, IDC's study revealed. The desire to play online PC games was ranked six as the reason to install a home network, though it was the first entertainment-related activity that made the list.

However, IDC expects this trend to shift once home-networked media devices become ubiquitous and consumers grow savvier about broadband usage.

According to the research house, as end users become more familiar with broadband and its uses, they will be willing to consume more entertainment-type applications such as online games, pay TV, video-on-demand and multimedia content.

According to the IDC survey, some 20 percent of respondents have access to IPTV and 77.8 percent watch Internet videos--with the highest percentages concentrated in countries such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand.

The proliferation of user-friendly networked media devices could also drive the traffic of entertainment-related activities in a home network, stated IDC.

Vendors such as Apple and Cisco Systems, have outlined their own visions of a connected digital home.

IDC predicts that these media-centric home networks will represent the next step toward connected entertainment systems, consisting of video, audio, and images served up by storage units that could include a PC or some other device such as a personal video recorder (PVR), and streamed through a variety of devices across the home.

Overall, the IDC study revealed, nearly 17 percent of respondents accounted for such media-centric network ownership across the Asia-Pacific region.

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