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Solutions for Consumer Digital Media Back-Up

While today's market for consumer digital media back up is dominated by low-cost solutions such as USB hard drives and CD/DVD writeable drives, ABI Research believes the increasingly difficult task of managing digital media will drive the adoption of network storage in the home. The worldwide market for consumer network storage will increase from its current nascent state of $305 million in 2006 to nearly $1.2 billion by 2011.

"Today fewer than 4 percent of those who have a home network use some form of network storage device," says principal analyst Michael Wolf. "While most consumers today do not have a good understanding of network storage, we believe that over time consumers will be drawn to the benefits of centralized storage and the redundancy these solutions provide."

Japan and Europe are ahead of North America in the adoption of network storage. This has been driven in part by the fact these markets are less PC-centric than North America, as well as by the success of vendors such as Buffalo Technology, the worldwide consumer network storage leader, in its home market of Japan.

ABI Research expects that network storage will see increased adoption across all major geographies, even as form factors differ. European markets have seen greater adoption of network storage bridge/adapters such as the Linksys NSLU2, while Japan has seen adoption of more traditional NAS devices.

In addition to simple back up and centralized storage, consumer network storage vendors are adding media server capabilities to their products. The network storage drive will increasingly become a "media tank" that can serve content around the home, enabled by support of DLNA and UPnP standards as well as more powerful specialized network storage processors.

"NAS on Chip (NASoC) processors from the likes of Marvell and Broadcom are helping to create more powerful devices at lower prices," says Wolf. "In addition to lower prices, consumers are being offered increased flexibility through the inclusion of USB and support for SATA drives, as well as through modular form factors such as Netgear's Storage Central. Increased choice combined with more powerful media serving capabilities at lower price points will increasingly drive consumer demand for these products."

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