One of the greatest advantages of the evolution of new, high-speed digital technology has been the ability to stay connected, informed and entertained in the home. Case in point, before the Internet, “telecommute” was not a household word.

According to In-Stat, a market research firm, more households are taking advantage of all the in-home benefits the information age is capable of delivering. Consequently, they are getting more sophisticated. The Scottsdale, Ariz., firm reports that, by 2013, the average household will have two-and-a-half times as many digital media devices, including computing, gaming, stationary digital consumer electronics, portable and mobile wireless devices, in use as it did in 2008.

Accompanying this adoption, In-Stat reports, will be a rise in the number of the devices that are network-enabled, leveraging various wired mediums and wireless technologies, such as coaxial cable, phone wiring, powerline, Ethernet and Wi-Fi. In other words, networking over wiring that already exists in homes is becoming increasingly important. This is particularly the case among service-provider entertainment networks that connect set-top boxes together and to residential gateways.

“Over the next few years, service providers will drive the growth of in-home networks,” said Joyce Putscher, In-Stat analyst. “Entertainment networks tie set-top boxes together, enabling additional services, such as whole-home DVR. Providers will encourage more PC home networks by replacing modem-only households with residential gateways.”

In-Stat also notes some other developments. For example, it reports that two segregated home networks have been evolving: a service-provider-centric network and a PC-centric network. Each is leveraging different business models and technologies. While consumers want to be able to move content and services between the two types of networks, In-Stat believes both technical and business model barriers will continue to stand in their way. Nevertheless, average PC home network throughput will rise by more than 70 percent from 2008 to 2013. Along these lines, nearly two-thirds of consumer respondents from In-Stat’s survey expressed an interest in watching Internet video on their TV.