TWICE: Look out 10 years from now. What will the home audio industry look like?
Bales: Technology will create new applications and consumer behavior patterns. Yet I don’t see a huge difference in future technology from what we’re beginning to see today except that networked and portable audio entertainment will become the norm. Portable audio, video, cellular communication, photo and PDA capabilities within single devices will become common. Digital content sharing between devices will seamlessly provide copy-protection, limited usage time, automatic wireless payment options and easy connectivity to mobile and home A/V systems.
There will be more content to purchase, rent and share from numerous sources and providers. Consumers will continue to pick their services of choice whether it’s Apple or Microsoft, Sirius or XM, cable or satellite or telecom, packaged optical or super-USB devices, even the endless supply of downloadable content from both commercial and private sources.
While entertainment will continue to be a driving force behind audio (and video), I see Internet audio (and video) leaving the confines of the laptop, home office PC and portable players and integrating with content in the living room.
Multiplayer online gaming is a huge business that requires the best multichannel audio experience a consumer can afford.
The CE market grows 30 percent, and suppliers come and go based on what has always driven the survival or demise of any manufacturer’s ability to adapt and innovate. I think most of us will still be around with the addition of a few new players.
Bente: From my chair on the beach in Costa Rica, I see an industry that has harnessed technology as a servant and not as a master. I see retailers and manufacturers working hand-in-hand to provide solutions that emphasize the experience and not the price point. In short, I see and hope for an industry that provides what customers truly want and need. It’s really up to us. If all this can happen, the CE industry will easily double in size,and the home audio industry will follow suit.
Klipsch: Our industry has been experiencing a lot of supplier consolidation lately, and I think we will continue to see larger conglomerates buying up the smaller companies for years to come.
The fact that people are listening to more music is a great opportunity for our industry. As a result, I think our industry will continue to grow as long as we are smart about meeting the exact needs of consumers, while keeping our products easy to use.