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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

From NPR News, it's DAY TO DAY.

Chances are there were quite a few digital devices under a lot of Christmas trees this morning. In fact the census bureau estimates that we spent almost $6 billion just on mp3 players this year. Soon there will be a new must have electronic gadget.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshal-Genzer joins us to explain.

Nancy, first of all, Merry Christmas. And now, what exactly is this new gadget we'll all be spending money on over the next few years?

NANCY MARSHAL-GENZER: Well, Alex, the buzz word here is connectivity. Analysts are saying finally the computer is going to start creeping into our living room. Now they've been promising this is the next best thing for a while, now they're saying it's actually going to start happening over the next five years. Our TV will start talking to our PC.

Now I asked tech analyst Steve Baker of NPD Group to explain exactly how this will work?

Mr. STEVE BAKER (Vice President of Industry Analysis, NPD Group): You're going to watch your television to be able to get on to the Internet to get movies on demand maybe, or to be able to watch, or shop directly through the Internet on your television.

CHADWICK: Nancy, if someone who's already put a battery in backwards in something today, how about making this technology work together? All kinds of fancy equipment, you know, sometimes it doesn't - these things don't like each other?

MARSHAL-GENZER: Alex, I share your fear. Yeah, that's a big risk. Manufacturers don't want people to get all excited about this next big thing. They want to be able to surf their Web on their TV, display their digital pictures on their TV. And you have consumers go out and spend a bunch of money on this all this new stuff and have it not work. Now, the manufacturer has to deliver on the promise that this will indeed be the next big thing.

CHADWICK: And if it is the next big thing, how long will it be the next big thing? Or is this going to be obsolete in another six or seven months?

MARSHAL-GENZER: Exactly. And a lot of people are waiting from everything from high definition TVs to this type of new technology. They want to try to actually future proof whatever they buy, getting the fanciest, most expensive gadgets they can find and hoping they'll hold up.

Now, I went to a mall in suburban Washington the other day, and one of the shoppers I talked to, a man named Edward Darden(ph). He tried that, and it didn't work. And now he says he's completely staying away from all electronics.

Mr. EDWARD DARDEN (Shopper): (unintelligible) isn't that what they used to call it. It hasn't gone away. As a matter of fact it's back big time and probably happening a lot faster than ever. Like I say, my stuff is obsolete in less than a year.

MARSHAL-GENZER: Now I have to tell you, Darden said he might actually be forced to buy a new high-definition TV when television stations starts sending out only digital signals that won't work on our old analog televisions.

CHADWICK: We'll wait and see. Thank you, Nancy.

Nancy Marshal-Genzer, of Public Radio's daily business show Marketplace produced by American Public Media.

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