Sales of PCs built as entertainment hubs for the home are expected to grow over the next five years, but at least one analyst firm said Tuesday it remained cautious about mainstream adoption. The number of PCs equipped with Microsoft's Windows Media Center operating environment, and media-focused hardware, such as combined TV tuner and remote control, is expected to reach 5.85 million units this year, International Data Corp. said. The value of the market is estimated at nearly $6 billion, with the U.S. market accounting for more than 46 percent of the total.
Longer term, shipments of media center PCs, most of which will run premium editions of Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista operating system, are expected to reach 27.5 million units worldwide by 2010, including 9.5 million in the United States. The market value is expected to reach $29.4 billion globally and $12.6 billion in the U.S., IDC said. The success of the PC as the entertainment hub for the home will depend on the amount of content that's pushed to consumers. Movie studios are moving slowly to the Internet, and have only recently started offering some new films for download the same day they are released on DVD. The vast majority of films, however, are not available for download to a PC.