Home Network Sales Slow Down

Ah, the brave new world of home entertainment. Streaming video across high-speed broadband connections will cause legions of viewers to cut their cable cords (and satellite cords, except that satellites don’t have cords). HDTVs, Blu-ray players, video game consoles, and even digital picture frames have wired and wireless connections to home networks, opening up a world of opportunities and possibilities. Soon we will all be watching and listening to whatever we want, wherever we want, whenever we want.

Or will we? In a press release announcing a new research report, the Diffusion Group (TDG) cites some pretty grim statistics. Only 40% of homes with broadband connections have a home network, a share that apparently has been fairly steady since 2008. It’s not cost; even at a price of $75, only about 13% of the respondents indicated that they would be highly likely to add a home network in the next six months.

Among broadband households without a network, 87% are flat-out not interested in buying a home network. Here’s how they break out. 16% have never heard of a home network. 46% aren’t very familiar with them. 34% are familiar, but don’t own one. And 5% used to own a home network, but not anymore.

Huh? Those of us watching Hulu and Netflix on our HDTVs get it, but apparently we’re in a very small minority. The big problem is that without these other viewers getting on the bandwagon, the market for the new products that rely on a network connection will be stagnant. And instead of taking over, these products could disappear.

So here’s your homework for the next three months as we get ready for the holiday season. If you already have a home network and use it to view streaming content on your HDTV or some other device, take a few minutes to show it off next time you have family, friends, or neighbors drop by for a visit. Show them that it does not require a degree in rocket science or brain surgery to take advantage of this technology. (I believe that programming our old VCR was much more difficult.) Share a little of your enthusiasm. Be a cheerleader. Let’s get them hooked — and hooked up – so that we can keep development on Internet-connected home entertainment moving forward.