The combination of the current economic downturn and distinct consumer lifestyle changes has directly affected the growth of the digital media industry.
The most visible behavior demonstrating the lifestyle shift is the adoption by consumers of a "closer-to-home" focus. As more people choose to avoid traveling, alternative and more advanced forms of entertainment within the home are necessary. Advanced digital media products are providing multiple varieties of entertainment in the home, displacing higher-cost outside entertainment alternatives.
Current economic conditions, such as cost and a saturated market, have boosted the growth for new and enhanced digital media developments.
Currently, the steady decrease in the price of DVD players has made them a standard household product. The wide selection and practicality that cable, satellite and DVD movies provide have had a direct effect on the number of times people venture out to deal with the hassles of watching a movie at a theater. Advanced consumer electronics are becoming easier to use, and provide additional functionality and interactivity with other digital living room devices.
We have already witnessed an intense adoption of these sophisticated products outside of the United States, where telecom-based video services are becoming the norm, using existing infrastructures to allow for video and audio on demand in the home. This growing demand will lead to the unveiling of next-generation, Internet-connected and interoperable devices for the home from leading manufacturers by the end of this year.
Moving forward, enthusiasts are buying more products that enable them to play any media from anywhere, anytime. Thus, DVD players are becoming multiformat, network-connected DVD media centers.
New digital television sets for the U.S. market are becoming more integrated and will come to market equipped for HDTV and cable. Many of these new products are incorporating technologies such as MPEG-4, DivX, Windows Media and, for future consideration, H.264.
The increase in the amount of shareware entertainment available on the Internet is resulting in more downloads of both audio and video content at lower costs. The advent of digital media in the home is in fact an enabler for a more efficient economy, allowing for more efficient distribution and access to entertainment media.