Originally Posted by smdelaney
The world has changed...lets face it, anyone reading this forum is NOT a typical consumer. We are a niche audience. We like to think of Pioneer and Onkyo And Denon/Marantz and Yamaha as mainstream and call NAD or Rotel or Arcam niche products but in the big picture they are all niche brands and products. We are enthusiasts and for a lot of us connecting it all and setting it up to be just the way we want it is half the fun. But for the average consumer?? nope...not worth the time or effort.
The average consumer might have a soundbar, and the segment that would have an AVR is going to Best Buy and picking up some $500 system with Polk Audio monitor speakers and a low-end Denon (read: Inkel with a Denon nameplate) AVR, like this one:
The top rated system on their website is here:
If most of the competition on the consumer world is on the <$999 end, in the mass market you might just wind up with Sound United (rep'ing Denon except for the lowest end which might still get that Onkyo nameplate), Yamaha and Bose (with Sony in its isolated ecosphere). This may sound heretical, but maybe it's a good thing that the "mid-range" up to the D&M flagship is smaller, because the reduced competition might push companies to release processors less often, but with firmware updates over the Internet to have a longer life cycle and release new units when there's something worth upgrading the chassis for (i.e. a more powerful DSP chip for more 13 to 16 channel libraries, DTS:X Pro, etc.). With the shakeout in the industry, they need to break the yearly "refresh the hunk of metal" approach they take. If anything, that's where a subscription model for firmware updates might be a good approach.
Otherwise it actually makes more sense for the innovation to happen in the $3000 to $6000 (i.e. below the customer integrator) level, with direct to consumer marketing like Monoprice, Emotiva, and ATI do for some of their products. And for those people that really care and want the best with customer service and regular product updates....the jury is still out about Storm Audio, but Trinnov has a successful model with a PC-based architecture, software updates, and IMO (as an owner) customer service (both remote over VNC and through email/live support) and personal relationships with owners from their sales/support team that are right at the top for this industry. But that gets into the price of a decent used car just to get into their entry level, which is the Altitude 16. And then all the friends it wants
Case in point...To watch TV all my wife has to do is to turn on the TV with the remote she was using before I upgraded the AVR (from Onkyo to Denon) and she STILL goes to the Standard Def version of the cable channel over the HD version (like she did before). Even if she notices the difference when I change to the HD channel for her it is not important enough of a difference for her to take the time to do it herself.
90% of the time if she's watching Netflix its on her Ipad. If she's listening to music its on her Iphone with earbuds. The point is that even with a universal remote the AVR is just too complicated for her and she doesn't see the value in taking the time to learn to use it. It's not easy to use so she doesn't use it.
Tell me about it. Even with a home theatre, 3D audio system and PJ (see signature or profile for details), the only one that usually watches movies with me is my five year old, who grew up with A/V, has an iPad, and loves technology, not to mention explosions and subs
. My wife rarely watches movies with us, and she's far more likely to watch Netflix on her phone because our HT is "too complex" or she just likes to watch stuff on mobile because it's portable. OTOH my 21 year old is a straight to Roku TV and iPhone kind of guy....
The one good thing that could come from this acquisition would be a simplification of the products lines and MAYBE a nod towards making it all easier to use. This presents an opportunity for companies like NAD to differentiate and stand out in a less crowded marketplace if they can find a way to remain competitive on price.
Exactly my point above. If it's possible, consumer A/V is both undervalued and overvalued. LOL.