The iPod is most likely the first of a series of peripherals that fit into Apple’s vision of their products as the hub of a digital lifestyle. If a new report from
InfoTrends Research Group
is true, the company might consider some sort of digital photography device. Not merely a digital camera, but a hardware companion (perhaps a set top box) to iPhoto.
The InfoTrends Research Group, a market research and consulting firm for digital imaging technologies and markets, projects that the TV may become the center of consumer photography applications in many homes over the next 5 years.
“The TV will not replace the PC as the primary imaging platform in the near term, but consumers will gradually discover that it is a friendly, easy-to-use alternative for viewing and sharing photos,” according to Kristy Holch, principal at InfoTrends Research Group. “For consumers without access to personal computers, or who aren’t comfortable with technology, intelligent set-top devices will be their on-ramp to digital photography.”
A new generation of intelligent set-top devices is already capitalizing on this trend, she said. Older DVD players can’t display photos on a CD, unless the CD is written with special software. However, many new DVD models support reading photos from a CD. What’s more, intelligent set-top devices like personal video recorders, game consoles and home media centers will increasingly allow for storing and displaying photos, the research group believes. The gradual growth of home networks, set-top Internet connectivity, and high definition TV will also foster TV-based photography, and the consumer appeal of photos will help drive adoption of these technologies, they say.
By 2006, InfoTrends projects that 85 percent of U.S. households will have a photo-enabled set-top box, up from less than 1 percent in 2001. These will drive multiple new revenue streams, including digital camera and set-top hardware, online and retail services and print consumables. According to InfoTrends’ newest consumer study, 59 percent of households in the U.S. who have visited an online photo site would be interested in receiving and viewing photo CDs on the TV, using a DVD player.
The new report, “TV-Based Digital Imaging: A Driver in the Next Wave of Intelligent Consumer Electronics,” contains InfoTrends’ in-depth analysis of the emerging market for photo-enabled set-top devices. It outlines key players, trends and technologies in each related market, including DVD players, set-top cable/satellite boxes, game consoles, and CD/DVD authoring software. It forecasts the market potential in 2000-2006.