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The Parks Associates research group (http://www.parksassociates.com) says that over 60% of U.S. tablet owners use devices such as the iPad weekly to listen to music -- and these consumer habits will drive deployment of home audio products with embedded networking technologies.
The research firm's report "Networked Audio Products: Market Update," says audio product manufacturers will add networking in order to connect their products to popular mobile devices and streaming services such as iTunes and Pandora.
"The continuing popularity of music services is pushing consumers to find new ways to enjoy their growing libraries of audio content," says Kurt Scherf, vice president, principal analyst, Parks Associates. "Consumers are using products such as smartphones and media tablets for music access and playback, and they want ways to distribute that content around the home. Networked audio products give them the ability to have a high-quality multiroom music experience."
By 2016, over 90 million home audio units, almost 60% of a worldwide market that includes A/V receivers, MP3 speaker docks, sound bars, and home theater systems, will ship with embedded networking solutions such as DLNA and Apple's AirPlay. AirPlay is Apple technology for wireless music streaming. It gives music lovers complete access, control, and playback of their entire iTunes music library. It requires iTunes 10.1 or later.
Scherf notes that Apple's decision to license its wireless music distribution technology -- AirPlay -- and DLNA's (Digital Living Network Alliance) uptick in use among vendors are among the key technology trends positively impacting growth. As manufacturers expand their networked audio products to point-to-point solutions such as MP3 speaker docks, lower-cost external speakers, and Internet radios, they will be well-positioned to take advantage of digital music consumption trends.
-- Dennis Sellers