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Annual sales of home media servers will reach nearly 50 million units in the U.S alone by the end of 2010 with the rest of the world set to top 100M, according to Parks Associates’ new report “Media Servers: Analysis and Forecasts.”

The report, which defines a media server as a hard drive-based platform with media sharing software linked via a home network, finds that demand- and supply-side drivers will spur the growth of these media centralisation platforms over the next five years.

“Consumers will benefit from the capabilities and features provided by home media servers, which will enhance their home media experiences and offer safeguarding and storage for their digital content,” said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst, Parks Associates. “In addition, many industry players – including technology vendors, equipment manufacturers, and service providers – will benefit from the development and distribution of centralized storage platforms to the home.”

According to “Media Servers: Analysis and Forecasts,” the media server’s presence as an emerging product category will expand the market for hard drive manufacturers and technology vendors in home networking and storage silicon. PC and CE manufacturers that incorporate media server functionality into their platforms will improve their margins and be able to attach new services and applications – including IP-delivered content – to their products. Finally, the increasing competition between video players – including cablecos, satellite operators, and now telcos – will spur the rise of set-top media servers that allow users to access stored content and services from multiple locations, both in and outside of the home. These service-specific platforms will improve customer loyalty and create new opportunities to build revenue through enhanced services.

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