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Survey: Present Economy Will Hurt Media Center PC Uptake

13 Nov, 2002 By: Hive News

Although several high-profile companies are gearing up to market new media-center PCs for the holidays, heightened price sensitivity may ultimately keep mainstream shoppers from adopting these new solutions this year, an industry analyst said today.

Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are releasing the Windows XP Media Center Edition via HP Media Center PCs and planning a strong marketing campaign to coincide with the holiday season, but selling the PCs may prove difficult, according to an October survey of Internet households conducted by Parks Associates.

Among consumers likely to purchase a new PC in the next six months, only 6.3 percent expressed a high level of interest in buying a media center PC at s expected prices.

"Price sensitivity among new PC buyers is at an all-time high," said Michael Greeson, senior analyst and author of PC-Based Digital Entertainment in the Internet Home. "Although Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and others will be stoking the pre-holiday media blitz, the majority of new PC buyers will shy away from the $1,600 to $2,000 price tag of these new media center PCs."

More than a third of Internet households are strongly interested in networking audio content from the PC to a home stereo, the survey found. But while that may spur sales in the long run, current economic conditions will likely delay mass adoption of media-center PCs.

The report combines two of the company's latest consumer research projects: a September survey of 10,700 Internet households that examines issues such as collocation of PCs and entertainment devices, entertainment-centric uses of the PC and consumer interest in new applications and services associated with networking PC-based digital entertainment content; and an October survey of 611 Internet households, analyzing consumer interest in purchasing new PCs and likely purchase behavior for media-center PCs at various prices.

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