Audio News for July 1, 2014

Global Trends in Blu-ray – A report from Research and Markets provides an analysis of these categories of consumer video devices: Blu-ray players, Blu-ray discs and aftermarket Blu-ray PC drives. It found that the primary drivers of the global Blu-ray market are: Dwindling prices of the consumer devices, Rising demand for high-quality digital entertainment, and Growing consumption of wide and multiple screens. Challenges to this market include: Lack of awareness in developing nations, High price sensitivity among digital home entertainment users, and Pirated Blu-ray content that reduces overall Blu-ray market share. Price continues to be a significant competitive factor that uniformly impacts all market segments thruout the world.

CEA Urges FCC to Lower Broadband Barriers – The Consumer Electronics Association has urged the FCC to protect opportunities for mobile and online video choice by lowering physical barriers to broadband implementation to boost multiscreen viewing. A CEA spokesperson said, “Twenty years ago, consumers could record and review live programming only through devices attached to their televisions. But increased mobility and greater access to video content mean we’re now able to use our mobile devices to watch what we want, when we want, no matter where we are.” But the National Broadband Plan said the expense of obtaining permits and rights-of-way can amount to 20% of the cost of fibre optic deployment. The CEA says that constraints in either new device choices or media choices will slow innovation or harm competition, and the FCC should be technology-neutral. They also showed research that over-the-air TV has been declining since 2005. Currently 15% of U.S. households use an antenna for OTA viewing, but only 7% use it as their exclusive means of obtaining programming. Younger consumers (18-34) more commonly use social media while watching live programming.

Facebook Buys Gaming Firm Oculus – Facebook paid $2 billion for virtual reality gaming company Oculus, whose virtual reality headset is in a growing category of wearable technology that industry experts expect to be the New Big Thing. This happened shortly after Sony’s announcement of their Project Morpheus virtual reality headset; Sony poses a major threat to Oculus.

New York Times Grades Consumer Electronics Curve – According to their Personal Tech column, consumer electronics makers are guilty of subtle improvements, overstated innovations and marketing sleights of hand. They say it is hard to keep track of what’s innovative and what is just money-grubbing. We knew that, didn’t we? This year it’s curved screens on both TVs and phones, plus UHD (since the 3D push didn’t achieve the heights they expected). The Times felt the curved screens worked for them on TVs in spite of the disadvantages, but not yet on phones.

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