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Distributors: Home Audio Is Making A Comeback


Home audio has quietly been
making a comeback. A recent CEA survey
shows that more consumers are using
accessories to upgrade existing or new
hardware. How are those two categories

Mark A. Gustavson, executive director/
marketing and communications,

Home audio systems that can
be easily integrated with audio and video
online delivery systems are becoming
increasingly more popular. This,
again, seems to be driven by in-home
Wi-Fi networks that distribute content
to multiple screens, computers and
portable devices. Additionally, mobile
users are looking to upgrade their personal
audio systems with higher quality
ear buds and noise-canceling headphones.

Jeff Davis, sales senior VP at D&H

We have experienced
a big uptick in home theater in a box
(HTiB). Sound bars and iPod docking-
enabled merchandise are also selling
well. Accessories have a tendency
to experience an uptick when consumers
vest themselves in new technologies
such as 3D, HDTV or even Blu-ray,
since they want to get the best experience
they can out of an exciting new investment.

Warren Chaiken, president/COO,

Right now we can pinpoint two
key factors attributed to the return
of home audio — Blu-ray and iPods/
iPhones. As Blu-ray becomes mainstream,
component-style audio systems
are becoming more enticing to consumers
vs. home theater in a box. We’re
also seeing increased volume in iPod/
iPhone docking home audio systems.

Dennis Holzer, executive director,
PowerHouse Alliance:

The audio hardware,
namely the receiver /amp/tuners,
are being replaced and/or upgraded to
now better match the newly purchased
TV. We have also seen a dramatic increase
in all categories that surround
and are directly related. Categories
such as speakers, iPod docks, remote
controls and cables are just a few also
being upgraded and purchased at the
same time.

Fred Towns, sales and marketing senior
VP, New Age Electronics:

overall is becoming much more popular
with our retailers and consumers.
From home theater in a box to satellite
speakers to headphones, we are seeing
consumers wanting to have a better
experience with sound in both the
home and the office. There is also an
increased desire for slick, stylish audio
like MP3 and Apple-related sound solutions.

David Kaplan, executive director,
Digital Delivery Group:

HDMI cables
at all price levels have been a hot accessory
category. Power protection, particularly
units sporting battery backup
and new generation wireless products
are also selling very well for us. The interest
generated by 3D television seems
to be coupled with a renewed interest
in legacy audio upgrades, which is very
good news for us and our dealers.