Better Home Entertainment Sound
An opportunity for dealers and retailers to enhance the home entertainment experienceSeptember 18, 2013 By Leo Dardashti, president and CEO, Atlantic, Inc.
The MP3 generation grew up listening to music through earbuds, many of which have poor frequency response. It’s no wonder, then, that many of these consumers have low expectations for home entertainment sound quality. Those of us who grew up with large headphones, high-quality speakers and LPs played on turntables outfitted with diamond needles know how good sound can really be.
Today, most American households have flat panel TVs, many of which feature multiple speakers. CEA recently released its U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts 2009-2014 report,which is optimistic about 2013 home audio segment sales, finding many consumers are ready to upgrade their current systems to “foster a more immersive entertainment experience.” The report forecasts an 11 percent year-over-year home audio unit growth with more than $1.69 billion in sales expected this year.
CEA’s 2012 report on home audio purchasing trends, Discovering the Motivations and Opportunities Behind Home Audio Upgrades, highlighted three key purchasing motivators for consumers:
1. Some buyers want the latest and greatest equipment and experience.
2. Others want a change or need to replace broken or out-of-date equipment.
3. Life changes, such as a new home or an updated home, drive consumer demand for new audio equipment.
Sales opportunities are much greater if we include the large group consumers who are satisfied with their current equipment but want to improve their home audio entertainment experience.
As some consumers upgrade and others delay equipment purchases, overall interest in improving their home entertainment sound quality has broad appeal. But most consumers lack the knowledge to improve their room acoustics.
Ideally, sound travels in one direction from the speakers to the listeners. But in most homes today, sound reflects off of hard wall andceiling surfaces, diminishing music quality and the clarity of dialogue in a movie, making it hard to understand. Better sound quality requires reducingthese secondary sound paths.
Solutions include adjusting speaker placement, incorporating wall and ceiling acoustics, and reconfiguring a room’s layout. Consumers can start by drawing a room layout with speaker placement and seating. Position speakers in a way that equalizes the volume level for listeners. Draw lines on the layout, representing secondary wall reflections to determine the best placement of one or more acoustic wall panels to absorb reflected sound.