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PC users unlikely to buy Net TVs

The latest survey from Find/SVP suggests that there is a disparity between interest in non-PC Net access devices and the willingness to buy them.

More than a third of Americans already surfing the Internet with personal computers would like to do the same with Net TVs, screen phones, and handheld computers, but only five percent of them are willing to fork over the money for such devices, according to a new survey released today.

The survey from the emerging technologies group of market research firm Find/SVP (FSVP) suggests that there is a disparity between interest in non-PC Net access devices and the willingness to buy them. Still, the survey, based on a thousand interviews each with adult users and nonusers of the Net, indicates that there is substantial awareness of alternative ways of accessing the Internet.

If manufactures can turn that awareness into purchases, low-cost devices such as WebTVs could gradually begin to expand the number of people who are connected to the Internet. Find/SVP estimates that there are 20 million people who consider the Internet indispensable to their daily lives.

The picture the survey paints of the current market for non-PC Net access devices isn't all gloomy. Find/SVP indicates that there is a potential market of 8 million people who aren't already on the Net who are actually willing to buy non-PCs for cruising the Web.

"The interest is there," Peter Clemente, a director at Find/SVP, said in a statement. "It's up to manufacturers to develop and market user friendly products that appeal to consumers and to price them at acceptable levels."