Who’s Driving The Bus?
Apr 17, 2006 8:00 AM
Well, maybe everybody is. In the past, particularly in display technology, product development was driven largely by innovations made for professional or commercial use. Conventional wisdom at that time was high-quality products were needed to help set high-quality production standards in the broadcast industry. In recent years, though, the industry has shifted, and product innovation is driven largely by the consumer market segment. And the reasons? Consumers today tend to be more technically savvy, as well as expecting a higher level of production value in entertainment. And most importantly, they represent a significantly larger purchasing segment than the professional or commercial markets do.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), HDTV displays will outsell analog units by 89 percent in 2006, with a total unit sales figure of 15.9 million and an estimated revenue of more than $23 billion. In 2005, DTV sales grew 60 percent, accounting for $17 billion in revenue. CEA attributes the growth to increased popularity as well as declining prices for LCD and plasma displays. LCD TV sales represented four million units (about $3 billion), and plasma displays accounted for close to $4 billion in sales (almost two million units).
With that kind of buying power it’s easy to see how the consumer segment can fuel the development of flat-panel displays.
A 2004 survey by InfoComm International states that the professional AV industry produced $11.5 billion in product sales. And display sales accounting for 40 percent of that figure. The survey also projected an annual industry growth rate of 9.6 percent over the following five years.
The recent International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) welcomed more than 150,000 attendees and more than 2,500 exhibitors, and took up 1.67 million net square feet of exhibit space. It is undoubtedly one of the larger conventions to hit Las Vegas annually.