Consumers Turn Noses Up To Home Networking|
The majority of consumers who do not have a home network see no reason to get one, a sign that companies will need to intensify efforts to set the foundation for the digital home, a research firm said Monday.
A survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults found that only about 1 in 5 said they had a home computing network, with 88 percent of those without networks saying they saw no need for one, Harris Interactive said.
"The challenge, or opportunity, for companies to get the right message to consumers," Milt Ellis, senior consultant for Harris, said.
Today, entertainment is not a reason for having a home network, the Harris study found. Eighty-four percent of the respondents said they wanted to share an Internet connection among computers, 64 percent wanted to share printers and other peripherals, and 58 percent wanted to share files.
These types of networks, however, are the building blocks for more advanced entertainment networks that would enable consumers to access music, photos and video across multiple devices at the same time, Ellis said. But before consumers are convinced to buy, they will need more than just a good marketing pitch.
Eighty-four percent of the respondents said product reliability was a key factor in deciding what to buy. Speed of data transfer was second with 79 percent, followed by compatibility and interoperability with existing components, 77 percent; and ease of set up, 77 percent. In addition, 74 percent said products having a do it yourself option was a key selling point.
The Harris study findings mean consumer electronics companies have a long ways to go before reaching their vision of a digital home for most people. Computer makers, digital set-top box manufacturers, and others are adding features and components that they hope will lead consumers into making their products the home entertainment hub that can share content among connected devices.
People with home networks today are early adopters of the technology, and their recommendations to friends and families will be important in driving adoption by others, Ellis said.
People who saw no need for a home network were more likely to be women, aged 40 to 59, married and with a high school education or less, Harris said. The percentage of adults with home networks was projected to increase by only 3 percent to 24 percent at the end of this year from 21 percent at the end of 2004.
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