Following the current market trends of offering and supporting digital content, while facilitating portability, the hand-held audio/video player market is poised to grow consistently over the next 5 years, according to In-Stat/MDR. The market research firm projects that this segment will experience 700-percent growth in 2004 and an overall CAGR of 179 percent through 2008.
Also known as Personal Media Players (PMPs) or Personal Video Players (PVPs), most of these hand-held devices include audio, video, and imaging functionality. Additionally, some also offer the ability to act as a portable PVR, recording directly from the TV to the device. PMPs support a variety of data formats, although they offer varying levels of native codec support.
"Recent devices have had high price tags and are most useful to consumers who already have a lot of their own content," said Cindy McCurley, an industry analyst with In-Stat/MDR. "One of the critical needs for success in this product segment is the availability of content. Today, consumers have some content of their own, but many in the industry feel that the real value of these products will emerge from widespread use of downloadable video content."
The research firm expects that these hand-held products will primarily attract PC-savvy, early adopters; however, most companies are targeting three types of users: the commuter, the traveler, and people wanting to entertain their children. Ms. McCurley believes that overall, this is a viable market segment, but it may take a while to develop to the scale that many electronics manufacturers desire.
Other findings by In-Stat/MDR include:
Most of today's devices are using a 1.8- or 2.5-in, 20-GB drive. Capacity will increase as access to content increases and component prices decrease.
The majority of today's products are either based on Microsoft's Portable Media Center (PMC) platform or on a Linux platform. In-Stat/MDR expects that PMC devices will represent about 25 percent of shipments this year.
Most current or upcoming products will be priced in the U.S. $400-$600 range. The ASP is not expected to decrease very quickly over the forecasted period.
Some PMP products are PC-centric, while others do not require the use of the PC. This differentiation may sway some users in their choice of devices.
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