Dunstable, U.K. - Sixty percent of all home audio products shipped in 2014 in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan will feature networking connectivity, up from a forecast 10 percent in 2012, Futuresource Consulting expects.
The percentage of AV receivers shipped with network connectivity in 2011 hit 38 percent and will rise to 62 percent in 2012 and to 90 percent in 2015, the company added.
Futuresource defined networking as the ability to interact with other devices on home network and/or with the internet. The former is considered horizontal networking and includes such standards or technologies as DLNA and Apple AirPlay. The latter is considered vertical networking. The company's definition of networking also includes home audio devices lacking these capabilities but featuring Bluetooth to stream music in stereo from portable devices such as smartphones, a spokesperson said.
"iPhone and iPad sales are still on the rise and fueling a demand for speakers with networking capabilities," the research and consulting company said. "Subscription services and Internet radio are also driving more interest in networking, and with the inclusion of Wi-Fi enabled devices, consumers can stream music directly through installed apps rather than relying on embedded technology."
Interest in networking connectivity has also been triggered by Apple's Airplay technology, the company said. Brands competing with Apple "have recognised the need to eliminate physical docking [of mobile devices] and consequently adopted the networking revolution, fueling a growth in networked devices throughout their product portfolio," Futuresource added.
Additional technologies such as Bluetooth will also play an increasing role in the home, especially for Android-device owners, the company continued. "This in turn is giving more consumers the ability to stream content directly from the Internet through multiple connected devices, with growth in multi-room audio expected as a result."