Monday, April 22, 2002

Welcome to the Home of Tomorrow

While higher income families have been the first to integrate networks and home theater systems, the demand for these products is growing in other segments. "Trickle down high quality is becoming more and more prevalent. The middle-income household is one in which Mercedes and Lexus cars are being purchased. These used to be the realm of high-end households, but there seems to be a mindset that [middle-income households] want to have the best," says Kurt Scherf, vice president of research for Parks Associates, a Dallas-based market research firm. "If that holds true, we'll see households with lower annual incomes seeking this kind of high-end equipment for the home."

.... As companies like LifeStyle build a national presence, changing dynamics in American homes will ensure demand for their services. One such trend is the increasing number of families with home offices, whether for full-time telecommuters or weekend warriors. "There's no question that more and more of us are working at home and we want to know how can we make that more efficient," Scherf says. Families with home offices, and multiple computers, will need networks connecting different computers to broadband Internet connections and printers.

In addition to working at home, more people are spending their free time at home, making home theaters a necessary luxury. "People do want more so-called quality family time - that's why you see some really optimistic forecast for the growth of home theater," Scherf says. Franchises selling and installing big-screen televisions, DVD players and audio systems will reap the rewards of this new cocooning craze.

From the article "Welcome to the Home of Tomorrow," by Devlin Smith.

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