The year 2020 proved that industries don’t always know how a year will unfold, including the consumer electronics industry. In the past several months, there’s been an impressive unveiling of new products from leading brands, technologies and consumer support of all things home cinema. This was in part due to the waves of restrictions that were put in place because of COVID-19, leading consumer electronic (CE) manufacturers to get creative in how people can enjoy new movies, games, sports, etc., from the comfort and safety of their homes.
The way people experience entertainment is continuing to evolve, and with the CE marketplace worth over $838 billion globally, it’s exciting to imagine what will develop in the upcoming years as the industry continues to grow.
Investing in a Fully Immersive Home Theater
Money that was once spent going out to eat, shopping in malls and going to movie theaters is now being allocated elsewhere. With many people still quarantining and not feeling comfortable being seated closely to others, the pivot to investing in the home is becoming increasingly popular. Spikes in home improvement projects, DIY online searches, and building an environment for leisure activities are happening worldwide. One leisure activity that has evolved significantly is screen time – whether that be watching movies, playing games or enjoying the return of live sports.
Wireless, high-resolution, multichannel audio is finding its way into living rooms nationwide, giving people access to great entertainment experiences without leaving the house. In a recent study, 70% of respondents stated they’d rather watch movies at home, even if they were given the option to go to a theater. More and more consumers are discovering that they can easily have both wireless speakers and audiophile-grade audio quality. As theaters around the world have had to close their doors, including 536 cinemas of the well-known Regal chain, the home cinema trend will undoubtedly spread significantly in 2021. For example, with an increase in direct-to-home movies like “Mulan” and “Wonder Woman 1984,” families are able to enjoy a film, pop their own popcorn and feel safe, creating wonderful home cinema experiences.
A notable benefit for the CE industry is that no matter the year, technology continues to improve, lending to easier ways to enjoy quality sound and visuals. The next generation of consumer electronics users will see more and more wireless transmission of signals connecting products just as they have seen and become comfortable with in other areas of their lives including personal devices, routers, printers, and other smart home accessories.
Leading Smart TV and speaker brands are continuously producing new products that are available at a wide price range, making the home cinema experience a possibility for all. Retailers and manufacturers are on course with the trend by taking it a step further, too – creating simplified, wireless products that don’t require third-party expertise for setup.
The Future of Smart TVs
Wireless technology is appealing to homeowners, especially those that have already invested in a Smart TV. Also referred to as connected tvs (CTV), Smart TVs have the capability of syncing effortlessly to CTV platforms like Roku, which was the top connected TV platform this past year and will jump to 95.2 million users this year, a 12.5% increase. And with speakers being one of the most common wireless home devices, brands are developing wireless speaker systems that will enhance nearly every Smart TV, which will be a part of nearly 53% of all homes in the next few years. Smart TVs are the center of the home cinema as they continue to aggregate more and more highly produced content and allow easy searching of and access to content. These new audio products are creating great sound around large, beautiful TVs, easily facilitating home cinema experiences like never before.
Top TV and audio brands, many of which are WiSA members, are going to continue to improve the design of cutting-edge multimedia devices, including Smart TVs, enabling them to have the power to broadcast high-definition, multichannel audio to multiple speakers that can deliver immersive sound throughout the home in a setup where speaker connections are completely wireless. This culmination of quality products will become the staple of homes worldwide, providing low latency, interoperability and ease of use.
The CE industry will continue to thrive this upcoming year, allowing people to experience their favorite movies, games and sports from home like never before. This movement will benefit manufacturers, retailers, dealers and consumers alike as innovations in technology continue to be showcased through groundbreaking products.
About the author
Tony Ostrom is president of the Wireless Speaker & Audio (WiSA) Association, an industry group dedicated to bringing the industry’s only fully interoperable, high resolution, multi-channel wireless audio capability to consumer and professional products. His 25-year career in the consumer electronics industry has been focused on product planning and development, consumer research, go-to-market planning, technology integration, marketing and training.