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A Foundation of Digital Lifestyle Applications

Residential subscriptions to broadband Internet services surged 20 percent in 2006 to exceed 50 million U.S. households, according to "Digital Lifestyles: 2007 Outlook," a new study from Parks Associates. The report estimates U.S. residential broadband subscriptions will surpass 60 million households by year-end 2007, accounting for 55 percent of all U.S. households.

"The foundations of digital lifestyle applications and products are built on access services, including broadband Internet and television," said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst with Parks Associates. "With the penetration of high-speed Internet exceeding 50 percent in 2007, we're also witnessing shifts in the way companies are positioning their communications, entertainment, and information services as home technology solutions."

The report reveals providers are delivering both broadband and television services with greater emphasis on the value-added services they enable, rather than just the services themselves. The report also finds that, in recent years, service providers have been partnering more closely with equipment vendors to strengthen the linkages between digital lifestyle services and the end-user products that enable them, including set-top boxes, home computers, home networks, gaming consoles, and other fixed and portable consumer electronics devices.

"With the demarcation points in access services migrating closer to the customers, service providers can provide much more in the way of personalized and enhanced communications, entertainment, and information services," Scherf said. "A key trend is the tightening of the value chains that enable end-to-end and seamless services. These stronger linkages will lead to greater choice and convenience in the ways customers interact with digital lifestyle amenities."

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