The focal point of home entertainment is changing as the computer edges out traditional consumer electronic devices in overall importance, according to the results of a new survey conducted by
Harris Interactive Inc. The poll was conducted for Microsoft, but also indicates that Apple was ahead of the curve with its “digital hub” focus.
At the January 2001 Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs outlined the company’s vision of the future. What he saw: Apple hardware and software serving as the “hub” of a “digital lifestyle.
The survey, which polled more than 2,000 computer users ages 13 years and older, revealed that the computer is redefining how people entertain themselves in the home, according to Harris Interactive. Almost half of those surveyed said their computer is more important than their television (43 percent), while nearly two-thirds said their computer outranks their CD player (63 percent), stereo (61 percent) or DVD player (59 percent).
“We were blown away with the number of people who are using the computer as their center of entertainment,” said Hal Quinley, group president at Harris Interactive, in announcing the survey results. “These results indicate people look to their computer as a TV, DVD player, stereo and CD player combined. The increased simplicity in using the computer to acquire, edit, organize and enjoy music, movies and photos is clearly driving this hot trend in 2003.”
As its role in home entertainment expands, the computer is moving out of the home office and into more “social” rooms of the house, according to respondents. More than half of those polled (63 percent) use a computer in the living room, family room, den, dining room, kitchen, media room or other group space in the home, including 28 percent who use a computer in the living room specifically.
People are also becoming more confident about creating and enjoying their own entertainment content on the computer, the survey shows. For example, 44 percent of respondents said they consider themselves either “very” or “extremely” knowledgeable about burning CDs, and 48 percent said the next computer they buy absolutely must have a DVD burner. More than half (57 percent) said the ability to edit personal photographs is important to them. Sounds like these people want a Mac with SuperDrive and Apple’s iMovie, iPhoto, and iDVD software.
Consumers’ increased confidence in digital media also has resulted in growing interest in new ways to use the computer to enjoy entertainment, according to Harris Interactive. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they are interested in having access to their digital music collection from anywhere in their home — iPods, iTunes, and the iTunes Music Store, perhaps? — as well as access to videos (51 percent) and photographs (51 percent).