Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Friday, December 18, 2009

Decline of Digital Media Adapters Predicted

According to the latest market study by The Diffusion Group (TDG), the global market for digital media adapters (DMAs) will be virtually nonexistent by 2014 -- a result of manufacturers shifting to embedded solutions and growing demand for video platforms that feature native Internet connectivity.

The DMA device will be rendered obsolete, based on TDG's assessment, before it gains a solid footing. This and other themes are discussed in TDG's latest digital media analysis, Broadband-Enabled TV: Evolution of OTT Hardware Platforms.

First introduced in the early part of the decade, the DMA has been a non-starter, "a solution in search of a problem," notes Colin Dixon, managing partner at TDG and author of the new report.

"The optimism of early supporters was premised upon the belief that consumers were eager to network their PC and Internet media with their TV and home entertainment system, in which case a DMA would appear to be a reasonable solution. In reality, mass interest in this type of media sharing failed to materialize and, consequently, the DMA has languished."

There exists a certain irony in the DMA's demise, notes Dixon. "Now that demand for TV-based Internet connectivity has finally arrived, there are a growing number of multi-purpose platforms such as game consoles and Blu-ray players capable of enabling this experience, thus subverting the need for a separate dedicated bridge device like a DMA."

While consumers may be driven to buy a new game console or Blu-ray player to play disc-based games or watch disc-based movies, they soon discover that by simply connecting these devices to the Internet, an entirely new world of OTT video entertainment is opened.

In addition, standards such as UPnP and DLNA have also brought digital media portability into a number of devices that have already earned their place beneath the TV including game consoles and DVRs. "There simply is no reason for a consumer to buy a DMA today," noted Dixon.

TDG's latest digital media analysis is the second in a two-part report series on the emerging opportunities associated with Over-the-Top (OTT) video services. This second report analyzes and forecasts global demand for a variety of OTT video platforms -- including games consoles, Blu-ray players, hybrid set-top boxes, Internet set-top boxes, media-centric PCs, and networked digital TVs.