CEA Chronicles the Future of the Consumer Electronics
Industry in Five Technologies to Watch (26/10/2005)
2006 Edition Features Recordable HD Content,
Domestic Robotics, the Digital Home Studio, Interactive Gaming and
The Consumer Electronic Association (CEA)
today released the 2006 edition of Five Technologies to Watch, an
annual publication that examines five prominent technology trends
set to influence the consumer electronics (CE) industry in the year
ahead. This latest edition examines recordable high-definition content,
domestic robotics, the digital home studio, interactive gaming and
This year's edition of Five Technologies
to Watch forecasts endless possibilities for the consumer electronics
industry. "These five technologies truly illustrate the progress
of technology in the digital age. They stood out in our extensive
research process as the most likely to make the biggest splash in
the consumer market in the year ahead," said Gary Shapiro, president
and CEO of CEA. "Every year the industry continues to make strides
toward improvement, and it is clear that the consumer electronics
industry has a bright future."
Geared toward industry professionals, the
publication provides an analysis of each of the five trends and
outlines related issues and market forecasts for the upcoming year.
Other topics covered for each trend include consumer perspectives,
partnerships, key players and public policy issues.
The ability to receive and record HD content
at home is quickly becoming a reality of the digital age. The surge
in HDTV sets and HD programming will see recordable high-definition
devices, including Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD and HD DVR, also making
a big impact in the market, according to Five Technologies to Watch.
Already, digital video recorders (DVRs) can be found in nearly 10
percent of American homes and the number is expected to rise in
2006 with more cable and satellite providers offering the HDVR service.
Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD offer the ability to record and transport
HD content, but a potential format war between the two standards
could be a roadblock to the adoptability of HD recording. Copy protection
and video-on-demand also pose significant threats to recordable
HD devices; however consumer research points to a bright future
for HD recording.
New advances in robotics still have not produced
a robot that can match a human's flexibility, mobility and dexterity;
however, single purpose or specialized robots are quickly becoming
a reality in a number of homes. For example, robotic vacuums can
already be found in a half a million American homes and other domestic
robots that can control home networks, sort laundry or scrub the
kitchen floor are not far off. In fact, in the not-so-distant future,
domestic robots likely will be sold as household appliances or accessories
to a suite of appliances. But in order to achieve mass-market appeal,
these robots must be relatively inexpensive, reliable and effective
- on par with other labor saving consumer appliances.
The explosion of digital cameras, camcorders,
audio players, software and printers, along with other digital imaging
and video recording devices and accessories, has created an entirely
new segment of savvy consumers that create their own digital home
studios to create, edit, print, store and share digital content.
The do-it-yourself, or DIY, content market represents serious dollars.
According to Five Technologies to Watch, in 2005 consumers will
spend about $14 billion on devices for DIY content creation, which
represents about one third of the total sales of digital cameras
and camcorders. DIY content creation will not be a primary sales
volume driver, but DIYers, while smaller in number, spend higher
dollars for better equipment and help fuel the demand for new computers,
peripherals and multimedia production software. With the rapid advancement
and abundance of digital devices on the scene, aspiring photographers,
filmmakers, musicians and artists will help make the DIY or digital
home studio market thrive in the years to come.
Electronic gaming is a rich and dynamic component
of the consumer electronics world. Shipment revenues of consoles
and portable game platforms are expected to increase 18 percent
to $3.7 billion in 2005, according to CEA market research cited
in the publication. In addition, PC-based gaming has developed into
a multi-billion dollar industry of its own and spawned new segments
such as PDA and cell phone gaming platforms. Next generation consoles
from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo which will launch in late 2005
and early 2006 will be the next big opportunity for the video game
market. These consoles can act as a cornerstone for the digital
home by incorporating high-definition movie playback, online game
play, digital camera and camcorder connectivity, and the ability
to access computer files stored on a PC. On the console and PC gaming
front, plans are in the works for on-demand game services offered
through cable, satellite or IPTV and the possibility of a "personal
game room" looks to be the next big thing in the custom installation
world. Mobile gaming also continues to be big, with the market expected
to reach $1.5 billion by 2008.
Finally, with the transition to digital well
underway, the market for innovative television displays will continue
to grow exponentially. With a renewed focus on home design and space,
flat panel displays such as plasma, LCD and DLP have become increasingly
popular. These sets promise a big screen and unprecedented picture
quality in a thin package and sales of each will continue to grow
even as the average wholesale TV price increases from $323 to $533,
according to CEA forecasts. Still on the horizon for the TV market
are newer, thinner display technologies, surface conduction electron
emitter (SED) and organic light emitting diodes (OLED), which will
succeed today's flat panel display technologies and become the upgrade
TVs of the near future. All combined, the volume of expected sales,
the increased competition and the government's effort to accelerate
the transition create a market for display technologies that is
sure to be hot long into the future.
The 2006 edition of Five Technologies to
Watch also includes a special section dedicated to future technologies
just emerging on the consumer electronics market. Hydrogen fuel
cells for portable devices, radio frequency identification (RFID)
chips, biometric scanners and nanotechnology will all help to create
new CE products that will be more convenient, more personalized
and more powerful than those of today.