A new study by the McLaughlin Consulting Group predicts that “personal viewer” sales will reach $1 billion in 2010. That’s just four years out from now. The group also picks Apple Computer as one company in a good position to benefit from this growth, as it plays off the success of the iPod family of products.
This study supports what I’ve been calling “the iPodding of video“, which responds to the desire of consumers to have the same command and control over what the video content that they watch — and where and when they watch it — that MP3 players now give them for audio content. Audio content is not just commercial music tracks any more; there are zillions of radio shows and podcasts available for download. I expect to see the same broad expansion of content sources as personal video viewers take off. It will only accelerate the growth of home-grown video content that has been so successful on sites such as YouTube.
And for those who think that the tiny cell phone and video player displays are too difficult to see, consider the new head-mounted displays that are delivering good image quality at affordable prices. The McLaughlin Group cites the $199 Cyberman GVD310A and the MicroOptical myvu for $299 as examples of the new breed of goggles for personal viewers. Imagine sitting in coach on an airliner, and enjoying your own movie selection (or other video content) on looks to you like a 50″ screen. That would be an enormous improvement over the current choices.