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Digital TVs competing with PCs as media hubs

With features such as Internet and wireless connectivity, digital TVs are fighting PCs as the media centers for the home, according to a new In-Stat report.

Though more computers have been landing in living rooms, digital TVs are adding new features to help them hang onto their role as the family's entertainment center, says a report released Tuesday by In-Stat.

As DTVs replace old analog sets throughout the world, manufacturers are beefing them up with new network features, including Internet access, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi, noted an In-Stat report called "DTV 2009: Declining Costs, Increasing Shipments, and Network Capability." In-Stat predicts that 36 percent of digital sets sold in 2013 will be network-enabled.


Technologies for wireless high-definition, such as the competing 60GHz WirelessHD and WHDI standards, will also bring wireless HD streaming into households, forecasts the report.

"DTVs are competing with computers to be the entertainment hub of the home," said In-Stat analyst Brian O'Rourke in a statement. "Sets with Internet connectivity are already commercially available in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Models from Hitachi, LG Electronics, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony can connect directly to the Internet without a home computer."

With the conversion from analog to digital broadcasts in progress among major countries, DTVs are now the only TVs available in most of North America, Western Europe, and Japan, noted In-Stat. However, DTVs are still competing with cheaper analog sets in markets that have yet to make the switch.