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Portable Media Player Market Evolves

ABI Research says that today's portable digital audio and video players needs to become truly portable, in the way that old portable cassette and CD players were -- Vamsi Sistla, director of residential entertainment research said, "Today's so-called portables are still tied by an umbilical cord to the computer and a wired broadband connection. The industry should address these shortcomings." Today the signs are that the industry agreed, and true portability is beginning to arrive. Analyst Joseph Yau, who has just updated their 2004 study, reports that Wi-Fi networking capabilities are starting to appear in portable audio players. "Although such models are still few in number, they will become a flood in 2006," he says. Thomson is even introducing a product line that will interface the player directly with a home hi-fi system, without the need for an intermediary PC and broadband connection. On the video side, EchoStar has just invested $10 million in player vendor Archos, which is said to be introducing a specially-tailored media player that will load movies directly from EchoStar's DISH Network feeds.

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