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Features In Demand

12/19/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
TWICE: What particular features are driving component sales in 2011, and what will drive sales in 2012?

Johnston: Pioneer has grown its business through adding the connectivity of the smartphone to its various product lines. We have been first in all aspects of Apple connectivity and offer a multitude of products for a very passionate Apple consumer who wants to build out their Apple ecosystem. Pioneer knows that consumers are using their smartphones as their sources of entertainment, and streaming is essential for them.

We have also added control to our receivers by developing apps for Android, iPhone, iPod and iPad. Replacing the traditional remote control with apps has really helped grow receivers in the mid to high price points.

Bailey: Just as they did in 2011, people will be looking for seamless and intuitive networking solutions in 2012, with features like AirPlay, Internet radio and apps that enhance their entertainment experience leading the way in sales. With D&M’s focus on easeof- use, including simpler onscreen interfaces and common-sense features that everyone in the family can use, our brands are in an ideal position for growth.

DiComo: The past few years have demonstrated that consumers are keenly interested in any and all technologies that allow them to conveniently access their music and video content, at any time, in any place. Technologies that foster that level of content access will continue to play big roles in 2012 — specifically: streaming and wireless connectivity (including AirPlay and Bluetooth).

Feinstein: Manufacturers of powered speakers have to adjust to the reality that the RCA-type “audio out” jack is pretty much a thing of the past. Optical, USB (iPod/iPhone), HDMI, etc., are the way that powered speakers connect from now on. “Traditional” speakers will still use traditional speaker wire connections [but] the receiver/pre-amp units will have to have all those aforementioned connection options to accept inputs from the various source devices.

Henderson: Without a doubt, Cloud-based streaming services will be driving music listening now and into the future, but “onboard” streaming features can be questioned with the advent of AirPlay, Bluetooth and perhaps other technologies that allow the use of tablet PCs and smartphones as source components.

Networked audio systems will certainly become more mainstream, utilizing these devices as control points, which will further challenge traditional multizone products. Similarly, televisions have become multisource components, providing music via Pandora, Rhapsody and other sources, and video content from Netflix and a variety of other services. The consumer, in effect, gets these sources “free” with the TV purchase, and anywhere a TV is place, those sources are available. Quite a change from just a short time ago when source components were primary drivers of the business!
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