Audio Enters a New Era
For practical purposes, the authentic high-end audio tag applied to products that sold for thousands, not hundreds of dollars. As such, it seems safe to suggest that the market for this obsession has always catered to a wealthy, passionate minority. On the other hand the ceaseless technological innovations in the CE industry result in augmented performance at lower prices—a typical win-win for consumers.
Crucially, as it relates to manufacturers and dealers, we may be entering a new era where audio performance is once again a priority.
Regarding the healthy sales of home audio in general (up 27% for units and 37% for dollars year-over-year, according to CEA’s January 2011 Industry Forecast) and receivers, speakers and soundbars in particular, it is possible to conclude that much of the last decade was more of a transition than a trend.
We are now seeing receivers with Ethernet connectivity and HDMI 1.4 capability, making it possible for a best-of-all-worlds scenario where consumers can access all types of content with improved sound performance. Thanks to innovation and expert engineering, we can enjoy exceptional performance from receivers that cost a fraction of what one would be expected to pay a decade ago.