Has Wi-Fi Become a “Must Have” for Home Entertainment Devices?


Hot on the heels of CES, the research firm NPD In-Stat released research this week about the significant growth in integrated Wi-Fi support for everything from digital TVs and Blu-ray players, to game consoles, picture frames and set top boxes. The company’s VP of research claims that Wi-Fi has moved from a “nice-to-have” feature to a “must-have” feature for any new consumer entertainment device, because consumers expect to be able to move content from device to device, and Wi-Fi’s established market penetration — along with new uses made possible by innovations like Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi Display — makes it the obvious technology of choice.

As a self-avowed tech wonk (and longtime Internet nutjob), all of my network-enabled TVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes (including an Apple TV) are connected to the Internet and are accessible to each other. But I’m a nutjob. And since I was ahead of the curve, I had to find ways to get Ethernet cables to each device, since they weren’t Wi-Fi enabled. But this ultimately created a much better content ecosystem for our family. How so?

Network-connected TVs increase content options, but also increase complexity to connect.

We use Apple’s Remote application to play music and videos throughout the house on various available speakers and screens, including our home movies from vacations and kids’ activities. We watch movies on Netflix’s streaming service, and can move from TV to TV with the same show, picking up where we left off. Or one kid can watch one Netflix show in one room, while the other kid watches something completely different in the other room via our Netflix account. Because of the proliferation of Internet-based content available through numerous commercial services, and the ease with which it can be accessed on network-enabled CE devices (TVs, blu-rays, content boxes) we’re seriously considering “cutting the cord” and canceling our cable service.

Do you leverage your home network to distribute content to network-enabled stereos and TVs?

But what about you? Is it a “must-have” or a “nice-to-have” to get all of your entertainment devices connected to the local network and Internet at large? Or is it all too complicated to manage?

Click here to read NPD In-Stat’s research

Read ZDNet’s artcle “Wi-Fi Has Become ‘Must-Have’ Feature on Entertainment Devices

About Christian

Christian Gunning -- Boingo's vice president of corporate communication -- has been with the company since its beginning in 2001. Always willing to regale you with stories of the early days when Wi-Fi was still called 802.11b and we had to explain how you could get the Internet without a wire, he's grown to love the new world where wireless Internet is expected.
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