Harrisburg, PA–D&H Distributing foresees 2007 as a year dominated not so much by groundbreaking product, but by mass adoption of widely anticipated technologies that have been maturing in both price and function for several seasons. Formats like HD DVD and Blu-ray, and hot-sellers like LCD panels, have finally hit a level of affordability and ease-of-use that is motivating the mainstream market to buy.
After a year of shortages and inaccessible pricing, HD DVD and Blu-ray have now shifted to a price and availability that’s palatable for the average consumer, and sales have reflected the change. In fact, a recent adjustment of Blu-ray pricing has resulted in a spike in sales of Blu-ray hardware at D&H of approximately 85 percent. These formats are already making their debut in digital living rooms as an integrated component of several new video-gaming systems, including the PlayStation 3 (which plays Blue-ray format), whose controversial demand has been one of the most talked-about topics the home entertainment arena.
Media server capabilities will become much more commonplace in the Digital Home after the advent of Microsoft Vista, with Windows Media Center functionality integrated into virtually all new Vista editions except Vista Basic. This ability to jockey and share high-def content from unit to unit or room to room will be one of the forces that drive sales in the coming year, according to D&H’s predictions.
Wireless connectivity has already delivered mobility to consumer electronics in the form of digital media players such as Microsoft’s Zune, Smartphones like the Palm Treo 650, notebook computers and even GPS units, giving consumers the ability to cart digital information from place to place on a portable device. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 system already allows the user to download and play HD DVD content, plus, it serves as a media extension product that can stream that content from the Internet, to the desktop, to the gaming system, etc.; while Zune allows users to wirelessly share files between units.
“As high-def content becomes more ubiquitous, the next question is, how do consumers distribute it throughout the various settings of their digital lifestyle? Enthusiasts want to manipulate this media so that it’s accessible from multiple points, ranging from the interior of the home, to the car, or even to the hands of a friend they want to share files with,” said Michael Schwab, vice president of purchasing at D&H. “This represents the next layer of value our dealers and integrators can apply to the consumer’s environment. When technologies continue to provide interoperability between different entertainment devices, consumers will reap the benefits of a totally seamless digital experience.”
D&H saw strong sales in the following areas in 2006, which are expected to experience continued growth in the coming year:
Gaming products: 61-percent increase
Distributed audio: 58-percent increase
LCD displays: 53-percent increase
Home surveillance: 49-percent increase
Vehicle navigation: 38-percent increase
Portable entertainment devices: 36-percent increase
“The year has had some surprises. DLP technology didn’t perform as first predicted, while LCDs surpassed just about everyone’s expectations and has raced ahead in sales,” said Schwab. “LCD models have become more sophisticated in their designs, as opposed to just a flat box for the living room, making them an aesthetic winner for consumers who are looking to implement the Digital Lifestyle we’ve been touting. That trend-conscious, upscale customer-base is what our dealers, integrators and retailers should be targeting in order to truly take advantage of the current market.”
For more information, visit www.dandh.com.