Few people in the world of home entertainment understand the intersection of custom installation and AV content better than former Sony executive Marc Finer.
To recent HTSA The Spring 2022 conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Finer – who is currently the founder and director of Communication Research – described his career in electronics, which spans from the launch of the CD format to the current proliferation of streaming services.
Finer, along with discussion moderator Tom Doherty, director of new technology initiatives for the HTSA, pointed out that the CD format represents the first real value proposition for the home entertainment industry.
Fast-forwarding the presentation to today, Finer said that on the audio side of the home audio-visual equation, high-resolution audio, interactive stems, immersive audio and live music streaming represent new ways for consumers to bring quality sound into their homes.
These custom integration opportunities in the home audio category have arisen because consumers want higher-quality content as much as possible, Finer said.
“Most people want better sound quality. Because of streaming, Gen Z and Millennials want high-quality music — people want better music experiences,” says Finer.
“Only about 5% to 8% [of consumers] don’t worry about the music.
Marc Finer: quality content more readily available
Finer said modern consumers have the ability to choose their listening devices and services, and for this reason the appetite for music and audio services have in many cases collaborated to deliver higher quality content.
The willingness to pay more for this quality has validated the growing availability of high-resolution content, he points out.
“Studies show that Gen Z and Millennials will pay more for higher quality music,” he says.
Addressing the video side of the home entertainment market, Finer says a number of innovations are driving broad consumer adoption.
Consumers have seen the introduction of the 4K UltraHD format, along with wider color gamuts, higher frame rates, and high dynamic range (HDR) in recent years as the category has evolved. These technologies are implemented in a range of content types that include movies, TV shows, games and game consoles, news and weather, and live sports.
All of this content is available through platforms such as 4K UltraHD discs, cable, fiber and satellite service providers, digital downloads, streaming services and direct-to-consumer services.
Finer told HTSA Integrator Members that with so many entertainment solutions available to consumers, it can be very confusing for the public to figure out which service and subscription plans are right for their household. It’s underscored by consumer “churn” rates in which a person signs up for a service and quickly unsubscribes from a particular service, he says.
According to Finer, in addition to a better understanding of the home entertainment landscape, consumers want:
- More control over apps
- More programming options
- Single sign-on options
- Consolidated Billing Services
- Simplified access to “favorites”
A few services are available that bundle consolidated billing and aggregated content, Finer told the entire HTSA member ballroom, and they include Verizon with +Play, Comcast with its Xfinity TV experience, and Best Buy with its subscription options. .
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Where integrators come in, beyond selling and installing products and systems, is their ability to manage their customers’ services and subscriptions. Finer pointed out that these opportunities provide dealers with additional revenue capabilities and provide owners with more streamlined user experiences.
Marc Finer concluded his presentation by saying that integrators could develop content support programs, explain the different business platforms used by these services, and help customers discover more entertainment options.