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Subscription Music Services Key to Growth of Networked Home Audio Market

The recent announcement by TiVo and Real Networks — and the partnership between Sirius Satellite Radio and Sonos to enable satellite radio service to be accessed over Sonos’ products — demonstrates the importance of subscription music services in the growth of next-generation music systems. As consumers increasingly look to access music in an anywhere-anytime fashion, subscription music services will be a key growth enabler as they supply access to a wide offering of the latest digital music to consumers for access throughout their homes.

“Real/TiVo, Sirius/Sonos, and the recent acquisition of Sling Media by EchoStar (a distributor of Sirius satellite service) show the importance of how new partnerships will enable networked entertainment in the digital home,” says Michael Wolf, research director for ABI Research. “More and more, consumers look to take advantage of the network to free themselves of single-location enjoyment of their entertainment; ABI Research sees these subscription services as a key offering in the wide array of entertainment offerings for consumers with these systems.”

Over the next five years, the networked home audio market is set to grow from what largely is a hobbyist and audiophile market into a broader consumer market. ABI Research forecasts the current bifurcated market consisting of low-end, iPod-based distribution systems such as Airport Express — in addition to high-end media servers such as those from Escient — to experience growth, including more fully featured whole home systems in the $500-and-below price range. Mainstream audio system vendors such as Sony, Philips, and Yamaha are working to expand this market to mainstream audio consumers; and, over time, more traditional home audio systems will include networking capabilities.

“Consumers want to free their digital music collections by enabling playback on quality home audio systems in multiple locations,” Wolf continues. “We believe this growth will be further accelerated by the interest in Wi-Fi-enabled media players from the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and Archos, as consumers look to seize advantage of the freedom provided by the network with regard to digital entertainment.”

ABI Research’s recent report, Networked Home Audio, describes use-case scenarios for networked home audio, analyzes market drivers and inhibitors, forecasts market growth, and identifies key players in this new sector. It forms part of two ABI Research Services: Digital Media and Home Networking, which includes Research Reports, Research Briefs, Market Data, Online Databases, the ABI Vendor Matrix, ABI Insights, and Analyst Inquiry Support.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations supporting annual research programs, intelligence services, and market reports in broadband and multimedia, RFID & contactless, M2M, wireless connectivity, mobile wireless, transportation, and emerging technologies. For information visit http://www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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