TWICE: What is the long-term outlook for AVRs as more soundbars arrive with HDMI switching, music-streaming services, and surround decoding?
Henderson: Soundbars have certainly impacted entry-level to perhaps even mid-level audio system sales, but in many cases the appeal is simply a reaction to the truly terrible “onboard” sound offered by most TVs. Component home theater has matured and, as a result, the environment has gotten tougher. But we believe there will always be a market for better experiences, and that is what component systems provide.
Rogers: Harman is focused on providing worldclass audio content delivery solutions in every market in which we compete, including AVRs. While the AVR business is narrowing, it is still a substantial business. We believe streaming capability and app-based control will dominate the future feature set; however, the AVR business is still very much alive and we will continue to provide solutions to meet this demand.
Goedken: Because Yamaha is the leading seller of A/V receivers in the U.S. and was the first company to introduce the soundbar 10 years ago, we know customers are always looking for the simplest way to re-create the theater experience at home. Luckily, as good as soundbars get, they are no match for a discrete A/V receiver with five or more speakers to truly immerse you in what you are watching. We know customers are looking for simplicity, and soundbars provide this solution to the mainstream customer. We also know that millennials are now buying AVRs as well as soundbars and, with new wireless multiroom audio ecosystems and surround sound technologies like Dolby Atmos/DTS:X, we have embraced these technologies and have implemented them into select A/V receivers and soundbars to grow both categories.
Casavant: We look for soundbars to continue down the path of expanded physical and wireless connectivity and content access and control. Our role in this arena will see a dramatic increase in the coming year(s). Having said that, we continue to believe that the best way to get a true multichannel home theater experience is by surrounding yourself with loudspeakers. This can be done with a traditional AVR and a passive speaker system. Another area we are focused on is combing the performance of this type of system with the ease of set-up, use and expandability made possible with our HD Wireless line of powered, high-definition, wireless home theater products.
Zarow: Soundbars have definitely impacted the sales of AVRs, but they are still no match for the AVR in terms of connectivity, a true surround experience and overall sound quality. While we don’t see the AVR business growing, it will remain an important category for many years to come.