Topping the hype curve — mobile TV and IPTV

Meanwhile, HDTV, Wi-Fi and others are making their way up the slope of enlightenment

Mobile TV is among the most over-hyped technologies on the horizon, with five to 10 years before it is adopted into the mainstream, according to Gartner.

Gartner uses its "hype cycles" model to show the maturity of technologies that the analyst claims run through a cycle from hype, though to disillusionment and then on up to understanding.

Mobile TV, IPTV and broadband video phones are all at what the analysts have labelled the "peak of inflated expectations", a phase of over-enthusiasm and unrealistic projections, which tends to lead to some successes but more failures as the technology is pushed to its limits.

And PC-based media centres and residential VoIP technologies are heading into Gartner's "trough of disillusionment", where technologies fail to live up to over-inflated expectations and become unfashionable.

But some lucky gadgets have started to drag themselves out of the trough and are slogging their way up the "slope of enlightenment", where solid hard work leads to a proper understanding of the technology's applicability, risks and benefits, and tools become available to ease the development process.

HDTV, video on demand, consumer telematics systems and household Wi-Fi are all making their way up that slope which leads finally to the "plateau of productivity", where the real-world benefits of the technology are demonstrated and accepted as they enter their second and third generations.

Technologies hardy enough to have made it all the way to the plateau include digital TV and broadband Internet.

Gartner said that because many gadgets can be used in the workplace as well, consumer technology is having a significant impact on IT organisations.

But it warned that while every consumer electronics manufacturer is touting a vision of the digital home that has content flowing freely between multiple devices, for the average consumer this is impossible because of the overwhelming complexity and content-protection barriers.

It warned that significant advances in troubleshooting and network management tools are needed if this vision is to become a reality.