Audio and video trends 2018

Here are some audio and video trends for 2018.

Buying headphones in 2018 is going to be a fragmented mess because of a silent goodbye to the 3.5mm audio plug, Majority of new headphones introduced at CES were wireless and there are several different wireless systems. Bluetooth audio has historically sacrificed sound quality for convenience relative to a wired connection. However, there are a couple of standards now that promise “better-than-CD” audio quality. For wired connections where we once had the solid reliability of a 3.5mm analog connector working with any jack shaped to receive it, there’s now a divergence of digital alternatives:Lightning, USB-C, and Sony’s 4.4mm Pentaconn connector.

Voice, connectivity and AI took center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show. Alexa Skills and the Voice Experience is really getting off. With over 15 million Amazon Echo devices shipped and 244 million projected by 2022 it is expected to take lead with Google Home Assistant and Apple Homepod with Siri following. Also Google Assistant was mentioned a lot in CES. Google Sold 6.75 Million ‘Google Home’ Devices In the Last 80 Days. ‘Language assistants  were a big topic at this year’s CES. More and more manufacturers like JBL and Creative are integrating smart helpers into their WLAN speakers. Alexa support comes to 2018 TVs from Sony, Hisense and LG. Google launches smart displays with JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony. There will be also other competitors aiming to this market, for exampleChina’s Google,” shouted out most loudly for voice. Microsoft’s Cortana had a crappy CES so it seems that Amazon Alexa will soon arrive on Windows PCs (HP, ASUS, Acer and others). Introducing Single-Chip Solutions for Building Alexa-Enabled Products.Sony launches a bunch of new headphones and adds Google Assistant functionality to the line.

Binaural, ambisonic, spatial, surround, 3D will be talked about. The most accessible exhibitions of this technology are in Youtube VR and Facebook 360, where users can interact with 360º videos that contain spatial audio. AR/VR was hot topic at CES 2018.

Sound bars are popular for compact home theater setups. Traditional home cinema systems with AV receivers and large speaker arsenals are only used by film and sound enthusiasts who sacrifice space in the living room for this purpose.

People listen to four hours of audio content every day. Streaming platforms like Spotify take a big bit of that. Streaming accounts for 41% of music consumption was the 2017’s most jaw dropping statistic. People will also listen a lot of music from YouTube.

Acoustics-based NFC is being pushed to market as it requires only a microphone and speaker, eliminating tags and chips. Chirp and LISNR are two emerging companies facilitating soundwave communication.

Wireless headphones and speakers become more common. Portable loudspeakers without cables are more popular than ever with music listeners. Most popular connection technology is Bluetooth.More and more manufacturers are breaking away from the cable and are showing new models and updates of completely wireless in-ear headphones at the CES 2018.

There is a bit of nostalgia involved: Several traditional technology tries to make come-back in 2018. The traditionalists among the music lovers continue to use records, so new record players keep coming. Cassette tapes making a comeback thanks to young, independent artists. Artists like Justin Bieber, Eminem and Metallica have all put out material on tape recently as a recent blockbuster film “Guardians of the Galaxy” put a hero center stage with a Sony Walkman. Tube amplifiers are back for traditionalist audiophiles that think that tubes can make your music to sound better.

4K video resolution is hot and 8K going to be pushed to market. TV has progressed to the 4K ultra-high-definition stage with its 3,840 × 2,160 pixel resolution. LG Display has made a 65-inch rollable 4K OLED TV. LG displayed 8K OLED TV at CES. Samsung has technology scales the image resolution to a 8K with AI. LG, Panasonic, and TCL put the spotlight on the chips that do the video processing: For the foreseeable future, any advances in image quality will be coming from these chips, not from the displays themselves.

Welcome ATSC 3.0 in USA: In November, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued new rules that will let TV broadcasters adopt the next-generation wireless TV standard designated ATSC 3.0. This new standard defines the specifications for ultra-high-definition (UHD) or 4K over-the-air (OTA) digital TV. But over-the-air is minority in USA as roughly 75% of households pay for their TV reception for cable or satellite distribution.

Home theater headsets have come a long way. AR/VR is hot. Oculus partners with Xiaomi to launch the Oculus Go and Mi VR Standalone.

Wired peripherals and electronics are still a major part of the market. Cabling for AV systems will have new features:  a new HDMI standard and how active cables will provide both power and video to consumer devices.

3D cameras are hot. HP’s Z 3D Camera puts Sprout’s scanning power on your PC. Intel’s new cameras add human-like 3D vision to any machine.

When almost all AV products are pushing more and more features, it seems that almost Everything is too complicated for an average Joe.




  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EU fines Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer $130M for online price fixing

    The European Union’s antitrust authorities have issued a series of penalties, fining consumer electronics companies Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer more than €110 million (~$130M) in four separate decisions for imposing fixed or minimum resale prices on their online retailers in breach of EU competition rules.

    It says the four companies engaged in so-called “fixed or minimum resale price maintenance (RPM)”

    Asus has been hit with the largest fine (€63.5M), followed by Philips (€29.8M). The other two fines were €10.1M for Pioneer, and €7.7M for Denon & Marantz.

    “The online commerce market is growing rapidly and is now worth over 500 billion euros in Europe every year. More than half of Europeans now shop online

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    U.S. cord cutters to reach 33 million this year, faster than expected

    The pace of cord cutting in the U.S. is increasing faster than expected, according to a new forecast released this week by eMarketer. The analyst firm is now projecting the number of those ditching their subscriptions to cable and satellite TV will climb 32.8 percent this year to reach 33 million people – a figure that’s higher than the 22 percent growth rate and 27.1 million cord cutters it had estimated around this time last year.

    The report points out that partnerships between traditional pay TV companies and over-the-top providers, such as Netflix, haven’t helped to stem the time of cord cutting.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Erin Teague / YouTube Blog:
    YouTube adds a Watch Together button to its VR app on Daydream View and Samsung Gear VR that lets users watch and discuss videos with others in a virtual space — We love VR at YouTube because it’s a powerful way to see and experience the world. Have you ever wondered what it’s like in the ice caves of Antarctica?

    More VR in more places

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jared Newman / Fast Company:
    Amazon announces Alexa Cast, a new feature that lets users control tracks playing on Alexa-enabled speakers from the Amazon Music app on a phone

    With Alexa Cast, Amazon Music now has an answer to Chromecast

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mozilla executive claims that Google has made YouTube slower on Edge and Firefox

    Early last year, YouTube received a design refresh with Google’s own Polymer library which enabled “quicker feature development” for the platform. Now, a Mozilla executive is claiming that Google has made YouTube slower on Edge and Firefox by using this framework.

    YouTube’s Polymer redesign relies heavily on the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API, which is only available in Chrome. This in turn makes the site around five times slower on competing browsers such as Microsoft Edge and Mozila Firefox.

    The executive has also mentioned a couple of workarounds for users on Edge and Firefox

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chloe Aiello / CNBC:
    New York State Public Service Commission votes to revoke approval of the 2016 Charter/TWC merger, saying company failed to meet broadband buildout obligations

    New York votes to revoke approval of Charter’s Time Warner Cable acquisition

    The New York State Public Service Commission voted on Friday to revoke its approval of the 2016 merger agreement between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable.
    The commission alleged the cable company failed to meet obligations related to its buildout of broadband in the state.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Richard Gao / Android Police:
    Following its mobile apps, YouTube now supports different aspect ratios, including vertical video, on its web player

    YouTube web player now adapts to different aspect ratios

    f it were up to us, every video would be 16:9, with some exceptions made for some more cinematic footage. But because there are older videos and people unaware of vertical video syndrome on YouTube, videos with inferior aspect ratios are an unfortunate reality. The team behind YouTube is making the best of this situation and has now forced its web player to adapt to different aspect ratios.

    Basically, it removes the formerly-permanent 16:9 frame around every video, allowing them to appear larger and better adjust to different window sizes.

    The change should be live for everyone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t compensate for most of the vertical music videos many artists have been making these days, which are often technically 16:9 videos in YouTube’s eyes because of the way they were edited and uploaded.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Adi Robertson / The Verge:
    Magic Leap headset first look: functional and thoughtfully designed, with some advantages over competitors, but not a radical step forward nor a magical advance — When you write about augmented reality headsets, you’re supposed to start by describing something impossible …

    I tried Magic Leap and saw a flawed glimpse of mixed reality’s amazing potential

    “Our whole thing with Magic Leap One is, we want people to realize this is what computing should look like.”

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jessi Hempel / Wired:
    Interview with Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz as its AR headset launches, on the company’s over-hyped marketing, developing for the headset, and more — Over the past few years, onetime supporters have grown skeptical of Magic Leap’s mythical augmented-reality product.

    Scott Stein / CNET:
    Magic Leap’s One Creator Edition AR headset launches for select users for $2,295+ online; each device must be set up in person via white glove service Enjoy

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    4% growth predicted for global set-top market

    According to Technavio, the global set-top-box market is expected to post a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to 4% during the period 2018-2022.

    Technavio says a key factor driving the growth of the market is the digitalization of cable networks. Digitalization has increasingly become predominant in several countries as it helps enhance the quality of cable networks and helps network operators record the number of subscribers. Furthermore, government regulations mandating the digitization of cable networks in emerging economies have driven the consumer demand for set-tops in those counties.

    Technavio believes the development of integrated set-tops is one of the key emerging trends in the global set-top-box market

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    UltraHD/4K TVs becoming the new normal

    According to ABI Research, the rapid and increasing number of worldwide UltraHD/4K flat panel TV shipments over the past few years is contributing to the overall growth of the global flat panel TV market. 4K TV units accounted for more than one-third of the total flat panel TV units sold in 2017. ABI forecasts that 4K flat panel TV shipments will surpass 102 million in 2018, representing 44% of total global flat panel TV shipments.

    In addition to increasing availability of 4K content on streaming video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, pay TV service providers are also investing to offer 4K content. Russian pay TV provider Tricolor TV recently launched 4K movie channels; U.S. pay TV operators Verizon and Frontier Communications are also testing 4K video services at present.

    “Better visual experience and availability of 4K content together with declining price points are driving 4K TV set shipments,” said Khin Sandi Lynn, an industry analyst at ABI.

    Geographically, Asia-Pacific leads the 4K unit shipments representing 37% of global unit shipments in 2018. The Asian-Pacific market is mainly driven by the Chinese market which offers several low-cost 4K models. North America and Western Europe are the regions with the highest 4K TV penetration at present.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Anevia debuts headend as software

    Anevia has launched the latest version of its Flamingo headend solution, available as software or hardware. Flamingo 4.0 is available on D4 and D11 servers and in a software format. The headend software is designed to run directly on either a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) server or virtual machine.

    Sylvain Eloy, product manager, Anevia said: “With a team of in-house software experts, we’re extremely proud to be the first to launch a software-only version of a multiscreen TV headend. Through extensive research and development, we’re able to stay ahead of the technical curve, and we know the market is moving towards visualization – something our customers are increasingly looking to adopt to save on operational costs, so we had to create a solution to address these demands.”

    The upgraded Flamingo features a new video on demand (VOD) service designed to support hundreds of hours of viewing up to 4K/UltraHD quality with upgraded storage capacity. Existing features carried forward include time-shift and pause live TV.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    AV systems available as-a-service

    GreatAmerica Financial Services recently announced AV AMP (AV As a Monthly Payment), which the company describes as “a new financial bundling product that incorporates monthly service fees into invoices from systems integrators and contractors.”

    The company developed the program with help from the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA), and says AV AMP “simplifies the often-confusing AV market transactions that separate the equipment purchase from the service agreement on separate invoices. Moreover, AV AMP helps those who aren’t consistently selling service agreements get started.”

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Flexible Loudspeaker Made of Nanowires Will Stick to Your Skin and Play Music

    A variety of nanomaterials have been used over the years in loudspeakers and microphones. Nanoparticles have replaced permanent magnets in loudspeakers and a thin film of carbon nanotubes has done pretty much the same. And, of course, someone tried to use graphene to reproduce sound for microphones.

    Now researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea have made a nanomembrane out of silver nanowires to serve as flexible loudspeakers or microphones. The researchers even went so far as to demonstrate their nanomembrane by making it into a loudspeaker

    “The biggest breakthrough of our research is the development of ultrathin, transparent, and conductive hybrid nanomembranes with nanoscale thickness, less than 100 nanometers,” said Ko. “These outstanding optical, electrical, and mechanical properties of nanomembranes enable the demonstration of skin-attachable and imperceptible loudspeaker and microphone.”

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Musicians only got 12% of the $43 billion the music industry generated in 2017, and it mostly came from touring

    Recording artists received just 12% of the $43 billion that the music industry generated in 2017, according to a Citigroup report.
    Consumer spending on music generated an all-time high of more than $20 billion last year, but music businesses, including labels and publishers, took almost $10 billion, while artists received just $5.1 billion, the “bulk” of which came from touring.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    You Don’t See in 4K

    Many people are thinking about upgrading to the next video format – 4K. But does the human eye and brain even perceive and process things that clearly? Let’s find out if the upgrade is necessary.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why is EVERYONE Buying This Sound Bar??

    Sound bars are a growing category in the home theater space. Some can do multi-room audio. Some can do virtual surround sound. Some, like the new Sonos Beam, even have the Google Assistant or Alexa built in. But what about this best-selling value sound bar from Amazon?

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What’s the Difference Between DVB-S2 and DVB-S2X Standards?

    The DVB-S2 standard offers benefits compared to the previous-generation DVB-S standard, while DVB-S2X provides additional technologies and features for the core applications of DVB-S2.

    Over time, DVB-S became the most popular system for delivering digital TV broadcasts. Technology has advanced and spread tremendously since then, which led to an increased need for advances to the DVB-S system. Thus, the DVB-S2 and DVB-S2X systems were born!

    Let’s take a look at both DVB-S2 and DVB-S2X and the main differences that exist between them.


    One of the biggest reasons for the second generation of digital video broadcasting was to enable the commercial launch of HDTV services.

    DVB-S2 is able to achieve about a 30% increase in spectral performance compared to the original DVB-S. This allows for an increase in bit rate over the same DVB-S frequency bandwidth. In fact, it comes close to the Shannon Limit, the theoretical maximum information transfer rate in a channel for a given noise level.


    The DVB-S2X system is not necessarily another model made up of the DVB-S2, but rather an extension. DVB-S2X was specified in the mid-2000s and provides additional technologies and features for the core applications of DVB-S2. Applications include Direct to Home (DTH), Contribution, VSAT, and DSNG. It also covers an extended operating range with a focus on delivery to emerging markets, such as cellular devices and 5G.

    DVB-S2X supports very low C/N (down to −10 dB) for mobile applications like marine, aerospace, trains, etc. Like DVB-S2, DVB-S2X uses LDPC FEC schemes and BCH FEC as an outer code.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Terrestrial broadcasters get on the 5G roadmap

    The non-standalone version of 5G New Radio (NSA 5G NR) was finalized last December, and more recently the standalone version (SA 5G NR) in mid-June (the former is a subset, or a special case, of the latter). We know that’s not the end of the 5G standards, though. So, what’s next? Creating specifications for use cases other than mobile broadband, which include terrestrial and satellite broadcasting.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has partnered with the Linux Foundation to launch the Academy Software Foundation.

    Hollywood gets its own open-source foundation

    Open source is everywhere now, so maybe it’s no surprise that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (yes, the organization behind the Oscars) today announced that it has partnered with the Linux Foundation to launch the Academy Software Foundation, a new open-source foundation for developers in the motion picture and media space.

    The founding members include a number of high-powered media and tech companies

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dawn of the First Digital Camera

    Technology vanishes. It either succeeds and becomes ubiquitous or fails. For example, there was a time when networking and multimedia were computer buzzwords. Now they are just how computers work. On the other hand, when was the last time you thought about using a CueCat barcode reader to scan an advertisement? Then there are the things that have their time and vanish, like pagers. It is hard to decide which category digital cameras fall into. They are being absorbed into our phones and disappearing as a separate category for most consumers. But have you ever wondered about the first digital camera? The story isn’t what you would probably guess.

    The first digital camera I ever had was a Sony that took a floppy disk. Surely that was the first, right? Turns out, no. There were some very early attempts that didn’t really have the technology to make them work.

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory was using analog electronic imaging as early as 1961

    Kodak 1975

    Steven Sasson, working for Kodak, received an early CCD image sensor from Fairchild in 1974.

    Just like a bag phone doesn’t look much like a cellphone, Sasson’s 8-pound camera didn’t look much like today’s digital point and shoot

    Even then it took 23 seconds to record one of the 30 pictures onto the cassette

    Even for all that, the camera’s resolution was 100×100 4-bit greyscale pixels.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Buying headphones in 2018 is going to be a fragmented mess
    Into the uncertain wilderness of wireless and digital connections, we go

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Factory Tour: PS Audio | Stereophile

    Paul McGowan, the CEO of PS Audio, gives John Atkinson (Editor, Stereophile) a tour of PS Audio’s factory. Filmed in Boulder, CO January 2018.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    10 Things to Consider When Buying Video LED Lights

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    10 Video LED Lights $50-$100

    Looking for high powered LED lights on a budget? Check out these 10 great video LED lights that will cost you $50 to $100. This is part 2 of a series on budget LED lights. Check out part 1 ($0-50)

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    World’s First High-Definition Wearables Featuring Flexible Display Technologies

    Royole Corporation has introduced the world’s first high-definition Flexible+ Wearables featuring flexible display and sensor technologies. Company founder and CEO, Dr. Bill Liu, unveiled the Royole Flexible Shirt and Flexible Top Hat at the recent World Cup final in Moscow, where fans were shown wearing the Flexible+ Wearables.

    “We embedded our ground-breaking, ultra-thin fully flexible displays into a traditional, yet stylish, cotton shirt and top hat for a unique new way for companies or individuals to visually express their personal passions, politics, creativity, social awareness, and more,” Liu said.

    Royole Flexible+ Wearables are easy to assemble, extremely comfortable to wear, and are powered by a portable external Lithium battery. They support 3GP/MP4 videos and JPEG/GIF images.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Automotive Applications Drive Class D Audio Amplifier Performance

    Advances in Class D amplifiers have opened the doors into higher-end apps, but the choice of inductor is crucial toward optimizing their performance.

    Analog Class AB amplifiers have been a staple of the audio industry for decades, and their ability to deliver excellent sound quality has kept them there—despite their inherent bulk and other shortcomings. However, for automotive and battery-powered products, these limitations can no longer be accommodated. Now taking their place is the Class D audio power amplifier. Formerly relegated to low-end applications, these amplifiers, thanks to advances in technology, now can deliver performance equal to that of its Class AB counterpart.

    For those not familiar with the Class D amplifier, it uses pulse width modulation (PWM) whereby transistors are operated as switches rather than delivering linear gain as in other amplifier classes. As the switches are either fully on or fully off, power losses are dramatically reduced, which makes it possible to achieve efficiency greater than 90%. This high-efficiency reduces the need for heat sinking, which in turn shrinks size, weight, and cost in comparison to lower amplifier classes.


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