It may not be what the likes of Philips – with their connected home concept – and other manufacturers want to hear, but a leading music technologist, John MacFarlane, CEO of Sonos, says that neither consumers nor technology is anywhere near ready for successfully streaming audio and video around a home network.
Ironic given that Sonos are one of the manufacturers of wi-fi music streaming systems. They, along with Apple and others are banking on the digital home coming soon – but maybe not as soon as the hype might suggest.
There’s plenty of potential, it seems, now that MP3 and video players, music on computers and, err, dodgy downloads (not me guv) have gone mainstream. The time will come when these people want to stream that music and video to their hi-fi’s and TVs.
Though the next generation of wireless technology is due for approval
towards the end of next year, and manufacturers have pushed alternative
wired solutions like the HomePlug system that sends data through
standard electrical wiring, McFarlane still thinks the digital reality
is at least ten years away – at least for the mass market and not just
the early adopters.
According to Forrester research, only one in five people with a home
network use it to stream music. Of those who don’t have a home network,
one in six don’t even know what it is.
NTL Telewest believe that wireless networks will be in ‘the majority of
homes’ by 2010, but quite how effectively those networks will be used
is another matter.
What do you think? Is the digitally networked, streamed entertainment
home close at hand, or years away? Are you an early adopter or are you
quite happy with more traditional entertainment solutions?