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Demand for PC-Based Television Recording

Any computer equipped with a TV tuner card can display and record television programming. A new study from ABI Research shows the total worldwide PC TV tuner market growing from about 15 million units in 2006 to 41 million units in 2011.

That represents a solid growth curve, but according to ABI Research principal consumer electronics analyst, Steve Wilson, "The TV tuner card market hasn't taken off quite as quickly as some industry commentators expected it to. That has less to do with technology than with consumers' awareness of their possibilities, and broader market support from studios, operators, and the FCC. The technology is pretty much in place."

The questions that need to be resolved before we see really rapid uptake relate to the user-experience, and the integration -- via digital media adaptors -- with the rest of the consumer electronics that people have in the home.

"Vendors need to have strategies that provide complete solutions for customers," adds Wilson. "They shouldn't position the TV tuner as a standalone device, but should aim towards bundling it with another device, such as a media adapter, that allows playback via the television as well."

While a few segments of the population -- typically early-adopters and young people -- are comfortable watching and recording TV on the computer, these products will be ready for mainstream adoption when all the key players work together to define a cohesive home media architecture that facilitates interoperability and integration, instead of hampering them.

ABI believes that popular acceptance of TV via computer will come sooner and in higher volume in Europe than in North America, due to the generally greater awareness of digital television there, and the rollout of DVB-T and (in Italy) DVB-H mobile broadcast services.

I believe that the early-adopters play an important role in defining all the applications for these devices, because the really interesting and creative activity includes combining or mashing-up broadcast content with independently produced content into new arrangements or compilations.

When mainstream users are able to discover their passion for content programming, by publishing their own video on demand channels, then we may start to reach the full potential of the digital media movement. Until then, people can still experiment with innovative online tools, such as vod:pod, and begin to discover the emerging applications.

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