Is There a Market for Portable Media Players?

creative zen pmcMichael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research comments on the future of portable media players: While portable video might not be for everyone, it certainly has mass market potential. According to a recent JupiterResearch survey, 51% of consumers would watch movies on a portable media player. 55% of them are interested in watching TV shows. That compares with 79% of consumers who like the idea of listening to music. Yes, more people will listen to music on the go, but there’s a real market for video if there are legal sources of video content. As for the argument that music is a background task — and therefore as a mobile function requires less attention — I disagree. While I acknowledge jogging or driving when watching a movie is a bad idea, there are plenty of scenarios that are suitable for watching video content. In fact, I can even think of other activities that require even more engagement than watching video that are popular in mobile settings. One of them is reading. People seem to do it all the time, even though it’s hardly a background task.

My opinion is if CE manufactures hit the sweet spot by releasing an iPod-sized PMP with a 4-inch (16:9 format) screen, there will be no need for consumers to carry two devices (or decide to take one over the other). Furthermore, with apps like Windows Media Player 10 that can shrink down video — including Windows DRM protected files — to fit on just about any portable device, as well as, 3rd party DVD to Pocket PC apps out there… there are plenty of ways to get content to your device. What’s your take?

Filed in: Portable Media Players

  • nojack

    The thing that will really open up the personal media player market is text. We still need good standard formats (hardware, software, page layout) for electronic books and magazines. Music and video are leading the way because they can be delivered without having to change the inherant nature of the product — just the compression quality. With books and magazines, standardizing page layouts is the hardest to overcome.

  • revenant

    I think there is a good market for these, because they do more than a PDA does playing a movie… They are like mini Tivo’s. Recording video is SOOO easy, and the quality is great. my mp2000 has VIVO and it looks great on my 53″ bigscreen TV. Not too shabby. I was also comparing my Apex mp2000 to my friend’s HP PocketPC smartphone gizmo, which is really cool BTW, but the movies still look _much_ better on my PMP. With the price of these hitting the high 200′s now, I think there is a good market for them. :)