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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 July, 2005, 07:52 GMT 08:52 UK
High costs deter hi-tech dreams
Mock up of a digital home with monitors
Much of the latest electronic gear for the home is expensive
Cost and complexity are stopping consumers from turning their homes into digital playgrounds, says a study.

The high price of gadgets to create homes where TV, computer, hi-fi, phone and net connect is a big barrier, found the Accenture report.

Consumers were also daunted by the potential problems posed by getting all the gadgets talking to each other.

Many of those questioned, 70%, would be happy to sign up with a single firm if they solved all these problems.

Home help

The survey of 2,600 people plumbed attitudes to homes where information was happily swapped between computers, fixed and mobile phones, computers, digital images and movies, music and any other form of digital device.

While many people liked the idea of such a home, 80% thought it would simply be too expensive to go shopping for all the gadgets to make it a reality.

TV set
Home entertainment systems can provide a cinematic experience
The problems of getting such a system working by themselves proved too much for most and 70% said they would happily sign up with a company that did all the work for them.

Analyst Al Delattre, from Accenture's Communications & Hi-tech practice, said most firms only offered a small part of the full digital home package that consumers were seeking.

He said hardware firms, media makers and suppliers had to work much closer together if they were to meet consumer demands.

The Accenture survey described four different types of hi-tech home to those taking part. The home entertainment system described proved most popular, with 42% saying they wanted one.

A home healthcare system was popular with 37% and least enticing, 28%, was the idea of a digital home that doubled as a virtual office or one that helped people manage their life better.

When asked why they wanted more gadgets in the home most of those questioned, 56%, said it would help them save money. Others, 46%, said it would make their lives easier or, 34%, simply make home life more enjoyable.

The downside of the hi-tech home was acknowledged by survey respondents. Some, 40%, were worried by privacy and security problems. A smaller group, 33%, were concerned that equipment would become obsolete quickly.

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