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Home Media Servers Set To Skyrocket

Media servers for home users are starting to emerge as a significant product category, with 50 million units being sold in 2010, according to a new study by Parks Associates.

The market research firm said it defines media servers as networked devices having hard drives and software for distributing media to various locations throughout the home. It said that as media is increasingly distributed over the Internet, home users will turn to media servers for a variety of reasons.

"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," Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst for Parks Associates, said in a statement.

Besides the benefits media servers provide to users, growth of the product category will be spurred by increasing competition among providers such as cable network and satellite operators, the study noted. Increasingly, that competition is also coming from telecom operators who are starting to offer television and other content over the Internet, the study added.

The category of media servers with the largest sales will be PCs that are tuned to that specific task, the study said. The second largest category will be set-top boxes, the research firm said.