In a further sign that it is gadget hungry consumers who are driving growth and innovation in the world of digital technology, storage experts are forecasting that consumer electronics will account for a fifth of all hard drive sales by 2008.

While worldwide sales of hard drives for consumer electronics products totalled just 5.8 million units in 2002, storage market analysis company Coughlin Associates expects that number to explode, expanding to 84.4 million by 2008. Demand for personal video recorders (PVR) will be driven by our addiction to TV, accounting for nearly half of all consumer hard drive shipments.

"In the past the hard drive in the home has been located in the PC but today we see the hard drive expanding to become useful in many more areas in the home," said Rob Pait, director of global consumer electronics marketing for hard drive manufacturer Seagate Technology.

Once the exclusive domain of the analogue VHS tape format, personal video recorders (PVRs) based around hard disk drives are making inroads into living rooms alongside other hard drive-based devices such as the Microsoft Xbox games console and various audio jukebox and MP3 player products.

According to research analysts Datamonitor 104 million European homes will have digital TV set top boxes by 2007, of which more than a tenth (14 million) will sport hard disk based PVR capability.