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Soundbar Buildup

TWICE: How much are active soundbars growing in units and dollars?
Rogers: The future is very promising for soundbars and new soundbar features. The segment experienced 31 percent growth in 2014 to $1.5 billion and is projected to rise 18 percent in 2015 to $1.8 billion and another 13 percent in 2016 to $2 billion. With this continued upward momentum, soundbars are forecast to reach $2.5 billion in shipments by 2018.

TWICE: What soundbar price points are surging or declining in unit volume?
Talge: We’re seeing solid growth in prices around $1,000. Consumers who spend thousands of dollars on TVs still desire a special experience from specialty brands. Definitive Technology and Polk are able to provide that experience.

TWICE: Which types of soundbar features are most in demand?
Henderson: I think we’ll continue to see a soundbar market that is highly stratified by features and price, from inexpensive entry-level bars, which offer 2.0 sound as an improvement over built-in TV speakers, to full featured HDMI-equipped surround soundbars at the premium end, such as the Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 2.

Rogers: Currently, HDMI features are the most in-demand feature for soundbars as a result of their simplified, single cable connection to the TV.

Casavant: HDMI connectivity including HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2), 4K compatibility and content access and control with a heavy emphasis on ease of use are all growing demands for the soundbar market. Decoding capabilities, including HD formats, will rise in importance, especially as soundbars continue to expand the number of channels they support, including wireless sides and rears. The enhanced experience delivered by Atmos is a fantastic next step for any system and should make an appearance in the soundbar category.

Talge: Built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoding have been high-demand features since soundbars were launched years ago. We’ve seen demand for Bluetooth-enabled bars grow significantly as well.