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Market research firm In-Stat recently said in a research note that it did not expect portable media players (PMP) sales to explode already in 2005, but remained optimistic about their progress in the long-term, noting that both manufacturers and content providers would like to make their products more affordable and obtainable.

According to In-Stat, in order for the PMP market to reach beyond early adopters, several issues must be addressed, including high price points, digital rights management (DRM) issues as well as increased availability of video content from download video service providers. 

“The good news for PMP vendors is that in the past six months, there has been increased activity among manufacturers and content providers to promote the availability of video content for PMPs,” says Stephanie Guza, an In-Stat analyst.

The firm claims that early adopters will remain the primary market for PMPs in 2005 and the mass market is not yet willing to pay the hefty price tag for PMPs, which is approximately $400 to $500.

“In addition, new product features such as wireless capability and larger screens will be available on next year’s crop of PMPs; and In-Stat believes that the increased capabilities, coupled with the promise of more video content, are factors that could kick-start the market,” Ms. Guza claims.

Even though PMPs are competing with other converged devices such as handheld gaming devices, smarter PDAs, and portable DVD players, by 2009, In-Stat forecasts that worldwide PMP shipments will reach 7.5 million units.

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