For many Americans, the cable box "may be the most disappointing piece of technology in their home," according to the New York Times. But new competition is spurring a new generation of boxes with such features as "more hard-disk space for storing digitally recorded TV shows, easier-to-navigate program guides, connections to Web sites, DVD burners and video games."
Cisco's ambitions for consumer networks, laid out by Cisco CEO John Chambers at the 2007 International CES, may face some growing pains as the company works toward becoming a consumer name, analysts say.
Households spent an average of $1,500 on new tech devices last year, and that number is expected to increase in 2007, according to CEA. Consumers' fast adaptation of technology has been attributed to cost reductions and HDTV accelerations.
Subdued economic growth in the first half of 2007 will give way to accelerated sales in the second half, according to the National Retail Federation, which acknowledges a slowing economy. Retail sales in the U.S. are expected to increase 4.8% this year, which would be the smallest annual retail sales gain in five years.