1 year ago

DAY 4 Edition - IFA International 2017

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  • Consumer
  • Audio
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  • Eisa
  • September


LIVING ROOM LIFESTYLE HOME AUDIO Home Audio Revenues on Target to Grow 17% in 2017 New Futuresource Consulting report shows home audio market outpacing wider CE market Industry researchers Futuresource Consulting have confirmed that the success of smart speakers and the rapid growth of soundbars and Bluetooth speakers in emerging markets have helped home audio revenues grow by 20% in 2016 to e9.83bn (at trade). While the segment is on course to grow a further 17% in 2017, the rest of the home electronics market fell 2% in 2016. Wireless speakers alone grew 32% and generated revenues of e5.2bn in 2016, while soundbar revenues grew 18% to generate e2.3bn. However, the news was less positive for some legacy categories such as hifi, loudspeakers and home theatre systems. "While soundbars are becoming the default TV-centric audio solution, wireless speakers in various shapes and sizes are replacing hi-fis, radios and speakerdocks throughout the home," said Zlata Jelisejeva, Research Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "As a recent example, we are seeing the emergence of the party w i r e l e s s speaker category starting to cannibalise sales of the corresponding hi-fi systems market." The party speaker market is being especially buoyed by the rapid adoption of integrated voice command software. "Despite fuelling market growth, we expect voice assistants to disrupt the audio hardware market moving forward, affecting prices, competition and of course usage,” said Rasika D'Souza, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “Meanwhile, this category is expected to become a platform battleground for the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon." Blaupunkt Soundtower ST 1000 Voice will help drive wifi penetration which will in turn benefit certain features such as multiroom, which pushed passed 10% of sales volume in Q1 this year for the first time. By 2021, Futuresource estimates that 27% of home audio devices will feature multiroom support. The demand for 3D audio (or object-oriented sound) such as Dolby Atmos is also set to increase, even if content availability and the home audio devices including 3D audio playback remains limited The products under review in the home audio Futuresource Consulting report include wireless speakers, soundbars, A/V receivers, hi-fi systems and dedicated speaker docks, while the outlook for smart speakers, hi-res audio and multiroom audio was also considered PAY TV COMPANIES OFFERING SOUNDBARS NEW ROUTES TO MARKET Sky’s decision to offer a discounted soundbar to its subscribers is another attempt to add value When Sky TV recently announced its soundbar offer to subscribers, it came at an interesting time for the soundbar, sales of which have flattened following a decade of flourishing sales. Having sold over 56 million units worldwide to date, and with nearly 16 million units shipping last year, soundbars have proved so popular that fully fledged home theatre systems have suffered in comparison – especially in the era of Netflix and Amazon video streaming. Futuresource Consulting estimates that around 10% of TV sets in use worldwide sized 32in+ are hooked up to soundbars, A/V receivers or home theatres in-a-box, which this leaves a 90% of consumers as potential soundbar customers. Soundbar sales have often been boosted by discounts offered by retailers when buying a large screen TV. However, sales of soundbars are now trending to higherend devices that are less likely to be appropriate for such bundling. Features such as Dolby Atmos, Hi-Res audio and HDMI ARC are increasingly featured in soundbars, meaning they match the audio experience to the latest UHD and HDR screen formats. The question remains, however, whether content providers can further extend the sound bar boom by offering such audio devices as a discount with subscriptions 34

BUYERS' GUIDE LIVING ROOM LIFESTYLE WIRELESS MULTIROOM SYSTEMS MARKET Multiroom systems generated revenues of €520m from January to June 2017, in Europe 10*, with a growth of 14% in value, compared to the first half of 2016. STATE OF PLAY Wireless multiroom systems continue to expand as an alternative to centralised, one-room music systems. These active integrated devices can individually stream music from multiple local or cloud sources in each room, or connect into stereo setups and arrays. Beside connectivity, this segment has seen big improvements in sound, quality and power. The majority of systems sold were home audio systems. There was also significant growth for components – for example soundbars/bases (y/y +35%) and receivers (y/y +67%). An new trend is the introduction of voice commands and recognition. Today an increasing number of devices that work on AI platforms are coming on to the market. These innovative developments will drive multiroom products in the second half of 2017 and most likely into 2018. *Europe 10 = DE, ES, FR, GB, IT, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE INNOVATIONS TO LOOK FOR AT IFA ROOM CORRECTION Many of these devices can selfcalibrate the sound to better suit the space and own positioning. By using sophisticated built-in electronics and playing test signals to measure the response of the room, devices optimise their own frequency response. These measurements are done either by the devices themselves or with a mobile app via the phone microphone, and then stored in the device. Some devices also have pre-defined settings for different kinds of music and can simulate different spaces. HI-RES PLAYBACK With the advance in sound quality of devices and following user-demand, streaming services are increasingly offering high-resolution streaming, with Tidal, Qobuz and Dezeer currently in the lead. Manufacturers are responding to this trend by adopting new codecs, for example MQA. DISAPPEARING DESIGN Form doesn't strictly follow function anymore. The design of wireless music devices does not reveal their purpose immdiately, but rather takes its own stance. Home-based and portable devices have monolithic shapes and often neutral colours with concealed light indicators and touch-sensitive controls, in order to fit any interior design. Advanced, miniaturised electronics and loudspeaker units allow outstanding sound clarity, loudness and dynamics from compact boxes. Our thanks to Ljubiša MiodragovičćVice president EISA, Editor-in-chief Hi-Files magazine - for his input. INNOVATING @ IFA CONTACT Martina Hürbinger Marketing Manager, Consumer Electronics GfK Retail & Technology THE FUTURE Wireless multiroom systems will offer even broader choices to customers, ranging from portable devices to high-end audio systems. The keyword in this segment is integration: these devices will come ready for various streaming services, will seamlessly integrate with cloud-based services, and will be controlled by apps and voicerecognition. IT LOOKS LIKE ROCK & ROLL The Marshall Wireless Multi- Room Speaker System has three sizes of speaker in the iconic Marshall design. The Acton is designed to fit into tight spaces while giving a powerful sound; the Stanmore is designed for any size of room; and the Woburn Multi-Room, the largest speaker from Marshall, is most suitable for big spaces. The speakers connect wirelessly with Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect or AirPlay, can hook up to a turntable via the RCA input, and connect to Bluetooth devices. » HALL 1.2 / STAND 215 WIRELESS PLAYTIME The Party Series, from Jlab Audio, wirelessly connects up to eight speakers across the home. The system does not require wi-fi or apps and to use the system, consumers simply connect from their device via Bluetooth up to 10 metres away, then link all the speakers from up to 33 metres away. » HALL 11.1 / STAND 119 IFA International • Monday 4 st September 2017 35

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