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Today's Show: We got an email recently from a listener named William asking what we think about the future of the high end audio/video retailer. There's no doubt this economy has been rough, hitting both the specialty dealers and the big stores like Circuit City alike. Eventually the economy will rebound, we all know it works in cycles. But will the downturn have a permanent impact on the way we buy gear?

The Future of Electronics Retailers

This question got us thinking, and we came across an article at the Electronic House website called: HES: Next 18 Months Will Reshape Electronics Retail Industry.

Bottom line, there will always be room for a luxury market. After all, Lamborghini and Ferrari are still in business. But like the article says, luxury brands and luxury dealers will need to adapt to survive. Those that do survive will be poised for great success when the buyers come back. Those that cannot or do not change may be gone forever.

The larger question is how long the luxury market will exist at all. Even without the economic downturn, are $100,000 a pair speakers going to be available in 10 years, 20 years? We've talked about how "new luxury" describes an experience more than a brand, material or price point. Younger consumers are more enamored with convenience and personalization than quality. How many portable CD players do you see around town? The quality is better, right?

Will there be a market for luxury audio and video when the next generation of consumers controls demand? The answer, of course, is yes. But the features that get someone to pay $100,000 for a pair of speakers may be wildly different. While right now those may be the best sounding speakers in the universe, in a decade they might need to be wireless, IP addressable and able to automatically change appearance based on your mood.

So it all comes back to evolution and adaptation. Those companies that can make the necessary changes will survive and emerge stronger. Those who don't, well, we'll have to wait and see.

Posted by The HT Guys, April 16, 2009 10:55 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.