Americans have moved beyond using technology just to surf the Internet and listen to CDs. They now seek technology that brings order to their lives, according to a recent study by the Barna Research Group.

Barna identified the realm of personal entertainment as perhaps the most significant shift. The rise of the DVD, or digital video disks, and surround-sound audio equipment combine to make home theaters rival the experience of going out to the movies.

DVD players have been the fastest-selling technology in the country since 2000. They are now as common in households as desktop computers and Internet access.

Nearly one third (32 percent) of all households have home-theater systems. And 28 percent of households have satellite television programming, giving them access to hundreds of channels.

Gadgets also abound for those on the go.

Barna reported that “the combined purchases of laptops, notebooks, palmtops, pocket computers and PDAs (personal digital assistant devices) outpace unit sales of desk-bound computers–with many consumers owning multiple portable-computing gadgets.”

Twenty-eight percent of Americans own some type of mobile-computing device, nearly 50 percent higher than three years ago. One quarter of Americans own a laptop or notebook computer (23 percent) and one in seven has a palmtop, pocket computer, or PDA (14 percent).
Sales of desktop computers have plateaued, while cell phone sales continue to climb.

While the Internet remains possibly the most influential technology, its growth has slowed somewhat after rapid expansion of Internet use in the late 1990s. Fifty-nine percent of adults have home Internet access, and about 55 million adults access the Internet through high-speed connections.

“Because of young people’s appetite for such devices, we are likely to see an even greater shift toward devices that ‘do it all’—compact computers equipped for mobile Internet connections, cell phones that receive and transmit real-time visual images, and vast music and movie libraries on portable and home-based technologies,” wrote David Kinnaman, vice president of the Barna Research Group.

And Christians aren’t sheepish about using technology for themselves. While demographics often play a role in technology use, Barna found that born-again believers are just as tech savvy as non-religious Americans.

Click here to view the entire survey results.

Jodi Mathews is a news writer for

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