Industry experts say that roughly half of PC owners with broadband Internet connections want to enjoy their digital media by connecting their PCs directly to a television or stereo through their home entertainment center.
Retailers are selling a growing number of new products-sometimes called digital media receivers or media hubs -- that do just that.
One such product, the new MSN TV 2 Internet and Media Player from Microsoft, allows users to quickly and easily connect their PC to the TV through a home network to play digital content, as well as to play video or audio live from the Internet. Additionally, they can surf the Web, send and receive e-mail and chat with friends via the television.
"Everything points to the fact that people want the option of taking Internet entertainment and stored personal photos, music and videos out of the confines of their home offices and into the comfort of their living rooms," says Sam Klepper of MSN TV.
In fact, retail stores now contain something for everyone. From single purpose devices that play either audio or video downloaded from the Internet to video game boxes and high end media hub PCs, consumers have their pick of ways to enjoy Internet entertainment -- when, where and how they want.
"Consumers don't have to huddle in front of a computer screen to see or listen to digital content anymore," explains Klepper. "Digital media receivers make it easy for them to bring the compelling new entertainment available on the Internet -- as well as personal photos and digital home movies -- into the comfort of their living room, the traditional hub for enjoying entertainment. It's an idea whose time has come."