Boston - Worldwide soundbar shipments doubled in 2011 to 2.5 million units, with North America accounting for two-thirds of that volume, Futuresource Consulting said in a new report.
North America is expected to remain the largest world market for soundbars through the forecast period through 2016, the company added. "Vendors and retailers alike have vigorously promoted soundbars to the consumer, and premium TV brands have benefited from bundling TV sets and soundbars, often at a discount," the consulting company said.
In the mid-2000s, Futuresource said, "soundbars were targeted at relatively high-end consumers who did not have the space for complete home-theater systems, which are also associated with multiple speakers and wires, but who wanted good quality sound." As flat-panel TV market boomed, however, the "sound quality of some TV sets has been compromised," and as a result, suppliers expanded the soundbar market by targeting new models to people "who are not interested enough in audio to purchase a home theater but who believe that the sound of their TV would benefit from a little extra investment."