Digital Media Adapters Part 1 – Introduction

By Patrick Moorhead - December 29, 2010

It’s difficult to get online today and NOT see an ad, announcement, rumor or discussion on the new breed of TV-connected computing devices like the Apple TV and Google TV. Also known as a “digital media adapter” (DMA), media extender, Internet-enabled living room device, or by one of about ten other terms, DMAs are popping up all over the place faster than kudzu. Consumers are interested by the thought of getting convenient access to movies, music, and even the Internet.

Little known just a few years ago, brands like Netflix and Pandora have become commonplace.  More advanced users appreciate the former but also getting living room access to their own local content and even the Internet. This is a multi-part blog series where I explore the devices, usage models, pros/cons, pricing, and future implications of these DMAs and the industry impact.

None of these concepts are new.  I have been connecting a PC to my TV, with mixed results, for 15 years.  RememberWebTV?  Microsoft digital media adapters have been around for years.  So what do the analysts say?
iSuppli predicts “shipments of Internet-enabled living room devices—a range of products including Internet-enabled television sets, video game consoles and set-top boxes—are forecasted to amount to more than 430 million units in 2014, up from 99.3 million in 2009.” Like all predictions, we must all dive into the “why”.  I hope to extract the “why” or “why not” as we move forward.

I plan on looking at the following devices:

I could have added a lot more, but these devices are broad enough to get the real sense of the segmented capabilities.

On these devices I will look at the aspects like:

  • Video content
  • Music content
  • Photo content
  • Game content
  • Web
  • Social Media
  • Communications
  • Networking
  • Simplicity
  • Home Connectivity
  • Price

In Part 2, I will dive into the Apple TV and provide a rundown on its capabilities, pros/cons and usage models.

Patrick Moorhead
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.