The lack of standards and interoperability is holding up growth in the market for home entertainment networks, according to international vendors and local manufacturers.
While some expect the market for standalone digital entertainment products to continue to do well throughout 2006, digital home entertainment networks seem less likely to follow the trend.
"A lack of standards has held up the market because the individual manufacturers have to figure out how to get the different products to work together," managing director of local IT manufacturer, Optima, Cornel Ung, said. "The infrastructure is still too difficult to install to make it value for money for the home user."
Ung is looking to major international vendors to provide leadership in this area, pointing out that local players lack the size and scope to effectively push standards.
"For the digital home concept to prove a success, the local technology players need the skill sets to integrate different products together," he said. "For this they need companies such as Intel and Microsoft to take the lead."
Hitachi marketing manager, Michael Mannasz, said the penetration of digital home entertainment networks would remain below 5 per cent until such standards become available and widely accepted, despite the hype associated with the technology.
"At the moment, everybody is still experimenting and testing the water, but until you have something that a number of people can afford and plug in without much hassle it will remain a niche product," he said.
Despite his reservations, Mannasz said he expected the market for digital and flat panel TVs, high-resolution gamming, DVD recorders and hard-disk based technology to continue to grow.
Ung said the market for standalone digital entertainment products, particularly audio equipment, would continue to grow. However, it would lack mainstream acceptance until standards were available to tie them together.
"The release of Viiv will help the market, but it will still take some time for people to become comfortable with the technology," he said. "Digital home entertainment products have to become more reliable and user friendly, or they simply won't take off."