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Consumers, Manufacturers Increase Focus on Good-Looking Products

Today, a preoccupation with looks has materialized as a driving force within the world of consumer electronics. Now more than ever, it's as important for manufacturers to develop products that not only surpass the performance of previous generations, but also look better than their predecessors.

The Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) "Home Technology Study" currently estimates that 35,000 firms are installing home theaters, and its "Home Theater Opportunities Study" reveals a multi-tiered market with several types of consumer looking to spend money on equipment and services.

In its analysis of the data within the opportunities study, the CEA says there is no single answer to describe the current market conditions, but it's the combination of consumer desire for improved performance and an integrated, aesthetically pleasing solution that will drive the custom category over the next several years.

"Ultimately it comes down to a series of different needs in the marketplace. Clearly one of these needs is for a bigger, thinner, better display and so many consumers invest there," according to the CEA study.

"Another segment of consumers may have already made an investment in the display, are satisfied, and are seeking a better audio experience. In both cases, the need for better usability and more seamless integration into the home through hidden wires and better remotes is weighing on the mind of the consumer."

One of the first companies to combine industrial design and cutting-edge performance was Meridian Audio Limited. The company's co-founder and design director, Allen Boothroyd, says that from day one, the goal for himself and co-founder, chairman and technical director Bob Stuart was to offer consumers products that offer both attributes. "I think our approach has always remained consistent -- to provide the best sound quality in the most beautiful products -- and to make them a joy to own," he points out.

For more on the increasing focus on good looking CE products, check out