Home Theater Interest Surges as Pandemic Forces More Home Time

Home theaters, whether as a dedicated room or as a multi-purpose family room with the latest audio and video, are seeing a surge in interest as the global pandemic takes more time at home. Even if vaccines are readily available in the US, enjoying movies, video games, sports, etc. in the living room is still a safe bet when it comes to combining health and entertainment.

There’s no denying it – people’s lives before the pandemic looked very different than they are now, and that includes extra-curricular activities like going to the movies. This used to be a perfectly normal after work and weekend activity that encouraged movie fanatics to check out the latest and greatest Hollywood releases. Due to the pandemic, a large number of theaters around the world have gone dark and closed their doors indefinitely.

Check out RTT Podcast 36: Bring Immersive Wireless Audio to Home Theater

While some theaters have reopened, many with limited capacity, there are still many moviegoers who would rather stay home than expose themselves to potential health risks.

This is a critical turning point for the consumer electronics industry – especially for products designed for a home theater experience. Wireless, hassle-free technology is becoming increasingly attractive to homeowners, even those who weren’t well adapted to smart home products before the pandemic.

Streaming services and popular direct-to-home films like “Mulan” and “Hamilton” have opened eyes to the reality that a cinema-like experience can take place within the walls of a home.

In a recent study, 70 percent of respondents said they would rather watch movies at home, even if they had the opportunity to go to the theater. And with the smart TV features on offer today, consumers are finding that their streaming services have surround sound compatibility, but they may lack the audio equipment to get the most of it. So what are the options?

Interoperability is the key

New products are introduced every year as technology continues to improve. They offer new and fresh ways to enjoy movies, games, music and more with theater-like sound. Now, several leading consumer electronics brands, brought together by the WiSA Association, are bringing theater-quality audio straight to consumers’ homes.

A WiSA member recently launched a home theater package that offers high definition audio, virtual Dolby Atmos performance, and can be set up in minutes to create a true surround sound home theater solution.

More and more consumers want a straightforward installation process that enables them to buy the product, set it up and enjoy everything for themselves – without a third party having to come into the house to install it.

With the increased interest in a home theater experience, it is important to establish interoperability for products that share wireless technology. When two products are wireless – one transmitting and the other (speakers) receiving – they need to have a common language in order for them to work perfectly and create a great experience.

Major CE brands like LG, Hisense, Bang & Olufsen, Skyworth, Harman Kardon, Klipsch and many others are constantly releasing new, easy-to-use smart TVs and speakers that come at a variety of prices and make the home theater experience a possibility for more and more people. Manufacturers and retailers also seek to develop and sell simplified wireless products. These brands are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of finding this “common audio language” to make products more attractive to everyday consumers.

Home theaters for everyday use

Although some of the recent major sporting events – like the Super Bowl and March Madness – are over, people are now preparing for events like the Indy 500. This global racing spectacle is scheduled to take place at the end of May, but they plan to only fill 40 percent of the track’s capacity. This leaves many IndyCar fanatics in need of real engine noise yelling at fans right at home – and for that to happen, powerful and immersive audio systems need to come into play.

One of the most exciting things about home theaters right now is that they no longer have to be viewed as “luxury” additions to the home. While there are still top-of-the-range products to invest in, of course, there are entire surround sound bundles available for less than $ 1,000. In addition, there was a recent announcement regarding the world’s first WiSA-certified Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers to be launched by Lithe Audio. This shows that interoperability and immersive sound can come from multiple form factors and speaker types to create solutions for any use case.

Virtually every industry, including consumer electronics, has spun in a way over the past year to meet the needs of people around the world. Changes in social habits, including restricting access to public places like movie theaters, have opened the door to products that not only make life easier, but also bring happiness and bonding experiences right into your home.

As CE brands and WiSA continue to expand and evolve, audio enthusiasts will also be able to immerse themselves in high quality, wireless surround sound. In turn, CE retailers, manufacturers, and distributors will undoubtedly see growth as technology improvements in breakthrough products are showcased.

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