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January 8, 2007

Another CES, Another Look at the Digital Home

It's CES time which means news and promises from the leading technology companies.  Had Comdex survived, this all would have happened about two months ago.  Given the rise of digital media and online entertainment, CES would still be the better venue for all of this.  The theme this year in products and speeches is the inexorable trend to converging the Internet, television, music, communication, and life in general within the digital home. 

And Microsoft has just the products to do it, with Vista and now the announcement of the home server that will back up everything on a single box and stream content to every receptacle in the house that wants or needs it, especially if it is an XBox 360.  So says Bill Gates in his keynote address, or something like it.  Of course, he says a lot of that every year, and every year we get a little closer to the concept, whether it's Microsoft or other companies delivering the products that make it happen.

With all the promise, though, it's still a buyer's market for this technology.  There will still be lots of people out there without backup servers or device connectivity simply because they don't need it to enjoy the consumer gadgets they own.  They may not switch to an IP streaming television system because cable is so mindless and it already works for them.  They may not want to stream their mp3 collection to the stereo because it's just as easy to make a CD and take it beyond the house to the car.  These products broaden how we use technology, but they don't have to define our use.   Remember that when these statements come out about the promise of the digital home, they are the statements of marketers.  The buyers really are the ones who decide if the convenience is worth the price point and the ease of integration. 

January 8, 2007 | Permalink

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