Dog Days of Summer Breed Some Prize Pets
More food for thought: 20 percent of DTV sets in 2007 were 1080p; by 2011, nearly 80 percent of sets will be 1080p. In sum, flat panels are pushing rear projection and CRT displays off the shelves and out of the sales channel, so dealers are advised to plan now for their fall assortments.The good news is certainly not restricted to the display arena. As the U.S. household penetration rate of flat-panel displays expands, it stands to reason that consumers, having optimized their viewing experience, will eventually seek to augment their audio environment.
Understandably, concerns linger that as the housing market goes, so goes certain CE markets, particularly home audio. The flat-panel explosion tends to confirm that, regardless of any economic apprehension, the appetite for consumption remains voracious. Indeed, as high-end TVs become increasingly ubiquitous and more HD/5.1 content is made available, consumers will turn to surround-sound solutions. Sound bars could be a sleeper here and provide an excellent solution for both consumers and dealers who are concerned about floor space and competitive price points. More importantly, CEA data finds sound bars showing growth in an otherwise declining category. Channel sources indicate that even turntables—only recently consigned to irrelevancy—are making a discernible, if modest, comeback. Is this a predictable retro resurgence or a positive harbinger for the entire home audio market? Likely, it is a bit of both, but the message is becoming unmistakable: perceptive dealers will do well to keep home audio in mind and focus on the areas where greatest opportunities await.