Samsung’s Boxee Buy – Some are calling it a preemptive strike against Apple and other rivals. For $30 million, Samsung—who have found that consumers aren’t going for smart TVs—hopes to offer consumers much more in their living rooms than Apple TV and Roku. It’s unknown whether Samsung will incorporate Boxee’s user interface into its smart TVs or offer a new step-top box to complete with Apple TV and Roku. Apple’s AirPlay streaming protocol connects directly to a Mac or iOS device, but the Boxee Box was also AirpPlay enabled. Streaming boxes are expected to overtake Blu-ray players by next year, and Amazon and Microsoft might enter the streaming box market.
Wireless Helps Bring Entertainment Outdoors – It’s always been nice to have sounds out on your deck, patio or yard or to watch you favorite movie outdoors, but until recently that meant a really long extension cord and long cables, and rain could ruin things. Now wireless technology and new digital devices have made it easier to enjoy electronic entertainment in the outdoors. Installations of permanent outdoor entertainment systems doubled from 2010 to 2011. If you already have a router setup in the house, sometimes all you need are wireless outdoor-ready speakers. You can mount a TV display outdoors and access content from your digital cable, Blu-ray player or even indoor game console. Keep in mind positioning and things such as sun glare. There are weatherproof TVs and some even produce brighter images for outdoor use. LCDs are less likely to look washed out than plasmas and are more protected. Consider adding an awning with an automatic rain sensor to your outdoor living space.
Wren Play-Fi Speaker Tops for Wireless Wi-Fi Speakers – Wireless magazine found the Wren V5PF Play-Fi Speaker to be the best deal in wireless Wi-Fi speakers (but for indoors and Android setups only). It comes in bamboo or rosewood, has decent audio quality, and DTS Play-Fi maintains a clean and consistent signal even when there’s congestion on the network. You can stream Pandora and other services and access all the Internet-casters. It weight 6.6 lbs, has no handle, and you have to plug it in the AC. Any Android device will connect to it. It has no Bluetooth or support of iOS devices, and it’s $400.
Expansion of Retail Market for Audio Equipment – Driven by rebounds in disposable income and housing, the Retail Market for Audio Equipment is expected to expand 0.3% this year to $20.2 billion. There will be an addition of 1.3 million households to a consumer base ripe for new audio equipment such as surround sound systems or soundbars. There had been a 12.1% drop in 2009 revenue during the Great Recession, and until this year industry research film IBISWorld figured a 0.1% annualized decrease in disposable income. Their report said that audio equipment quality has improved and it is increasingly compatible with other electronics, and built-in audio systems in consumer products and cars have made audio equipment increasingly a discretionary purchase. Technology has also created a rise in e-commerce and this has led to an influx of audio equipment e-tailers.