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What Americans Do With Their Home Network

Not long ago, many people believed setting up an entertainment center was simply a stereo system, a VCR and a television larger than 25 inches. These days, the promise from the consumer electronic industry to establish the computer as the new 'media center' is beginning to gain traction with consumers.

With this in mind, Harris Interactive conducted an online research study of adult consumers across America that focused on the emerging Digital Home and other hot consumer technologies, and the results indicate that more than one-third (39 percent) of U.S. adults have home networks.

Thirty-seven percent of those with home networks would like to use their personal computer (PC) as a media center to control their entertainment system, while thirty-one percent would use it to download pictures, video and music to their televisions.

Even controlling household systems such as lighting, security, heating, ventilation and air conditioning are being folded in to today's media centers (35 percent). The challenge for marketers to grow these potential markets is to provide clear instruction on setup, network security, and ensure interoperability amongst different brands and components.

Generally speaking, setting up a home network of this magnitude requires a PC that is faster and is more advanced than the previous generation of computers. Despite tepid sales in 2006, about 21 percent of respondents say they are planning to buy a new PC within the next 12 months.

One possible factor driving this demand is the insatiable need for speed and the ability to run multiple high power applications that can be found in multi-core processors. About 44 percent of those planning to buy a PC this year will buy a dual core processor and a full 14 percent will purchase quad core processors. A full one-third of the buyers are still pondering how many cores is enough while a scant 9 percent are planning to purchase a single core solution.

Today's machines are also providing entertainment and helping people manage all aspects of their lives. In the end, adults understand that technology has had a tremendous impact on the world around them.

More than one-third (35 percent) of U.S adults have a positive attitude toward technology and 33 percent indicate that it has improved their lives. While the vast majority continues to use computers for email (94 percent) , web surfing (84 percent) and shopping (77 percent), there are new applications joining the leaderboard, including banking (64 percent), making travel arrangements (70 percent) and listening to music (57 percent).

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