NPD: Internet Access, Speed Impact Consumer Electronics Ownership, Including Smart 4K TVs

Internet access and speed are key to determining the amount and type of consumer electronics devices in U.S. homes, including connected 4K UHD TVs, according to new data from The NPD Group.

While household internet and speed can vary widely from state to state, or even county to county, there are a number of consumer electronics devices that have reached parity levels among connected households in rural and urban U.S. markets. Those include TVs, video game consoles, smart watches, activity trackers and tablets, according to NPD.

However, NPD found that wider gaps exist in ownership levels of devices that are more dependent on an internet connection, such as 4K UHD TVs, where a broadband connection is required for high-definition streaming, and smart home devices, where higher download speeds are needed for live video streams.

In the United States, 50% of households do not currently have a broadband connection (25Mbps per second download speed or greater). In addition, 15% of homes in the United States have no internet access, while 10% use a smartphone-only solution. Based on NPD’s findings, this lack of internet access or lack of internet speed has the biggest impact on rural markets. As a result, in rural markets ownership of 4K TVs and home automation products have trailed ownership levels reported in urban areas.

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While other factors also influence the CE ownership gap, such as income levels, one theme that is consistent across 4K TV ownership for connected households in rural and urban markets is that as home internet download speeds increase, so too do household ownership levels. The same can be said of smart home devices, such as internet security cameras that require higher download speeds.

“Consumers with slower internet speeds have less incentive to purchase 4K TVs,” Eddie Hold, president of NPD Connected Intelligence, said in a statement.

Hold said consumers with slow ISP speeds present a challenge for manufacturers that need usage data and advertising revenue to help sustain manufacturing.

“The internet is essentially the lifeblood of all consumer electronics products,” he said. “Understanding where coverage gaps exist can help explain trends and identify future opportunities.”

CTA: CES on Track for Record Post-Pandemic Growth

The Consumer Technology Association Nov. 30 reported that the 2023 CES show is on track for record post-pandemic growth.

Owned and produced by the CTA, CES 2023 will take place in Las Vegas on Jan. 5-8, 2023. 

As of Nov. 28, the CTA reported: 

  • 2 million-plus net square feet of exhibits (50% bigger than CES 2022)
  • nearly 1,000 new exhibitors and more than 2,400 in total
  • one of the largest global auto shows
  • a record 2,100 CES 2023 Innovation Award entries
  • a 100,000 attendee goal with one-third from outside the United States
  • sold out Media Days on Jan. 3-4
  • 3,000-plus media registered


“The growth of, and excitement for, CES 2023 continues as we get closer to the moment where the world’s most influential technology innovators meet in person with customers, media, investors and policymakers,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA. “We are thrilled with the show’s momentum and look forward to opening the halls of innovation in January. We’ll learn about emerging global economic trends, what’s next in healthcare, automotive, Web3/metaverse and see the nexus of technology for good.”

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Adena T. Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq and the first woman CEO to lead a global stock exchange, will join Shapiro for a Great Minds session, “What’s Next for the 21st Century Economy,” on Jan. 6.

CoinDesk is the title sponsor and producer of the “CES Web3 Studio Presented by CoinDesk.” The company will curate a half-day Web3 conference program, and the studio will feature interviews with some of the most influential Web3 voices. It will cover the latest cryptocurrency and blockchain news and innovations from CES. The show will also feature Web3 programming by the Blockchain Association.

Dozens of conference tracks and 200 sessions will cover the key show themes that include digital health, Web3/metaverse, sustainability and human security for all. Registration is open and prices increase on Dec. 5.

Vizio Updates Watchfree+ User Streaming Experience

Vizio Nov. 11 announced an upgraded design and user experience for WatchFree+, the Irvine, Calif.-based consumer electronics manufacturer’s ad-supported free streaming service featured in Vizio Smart TVs. The update brings a new look and feel, intuitive electronic program guide (EPG), faster and easier navigation, and personalization features to the free streaming service. WatchFree+ has grown to include more than 260 free channels and 6,000 titles on demand, offering an ever-expanding library of movies, TV shows, news, sports, music and programs.

The WatchFree+ Guide now displays upcoming content segmented in 30-minute intervals, allowing viewers to explore the collection of streaming content in a familiar format. In addition, the interface allows advertisers to promote contextually relevant content seamlessly within the program guide.

Additional updates include a schedule of all WatchFree+ programs in a simple grid format, segmented in half-hour intervals. View movie and show descriptions as you move through the WatchFree+ Guide. Continue to watch a show while browsing additional WatchFree+ channels. Long press the “OK” button while in the EPG guide to get a list of channel genres, making navigation easier. Quickly launch an on-demand movie or show directly from the program guide.

“This redesign makes it easier than ever to navigate and explore the continually expanding universe of entertainment across live and on demand programming,” Steve Yum, VP of software product management at Vizio, said in a statement.

WatchFree+ has grown to become the second-most-watched free ad-supported streaming app on Vizio. Driving this momentum are more than 260 premium channels and 6,000 movies and shows spanning 13 content genres, from news, movies and sports to kids and family, music and reality.

Vizio recently announced the launch of exclusive TV series premieres, including “Boston George: Famous Without the Fortune” (Cinedigm), “Sanitarium” (producer Bryan Ramirez and creator Kerry Valderrama), “Haunted Gold Rush” (Blue Ant Media) and the Space Science Now channel (MagellanTV).

With more than 6,000 movie and TV show titles to choose from, On Demand content can now be launched directly from the program guide including recently added titles COPs (Langley Productions), Canada’s “Drag Race and Hotel Paranormal” (Blue Ant Media).

A top performing format on WatchFree+, single series channels provide a unique viewing experience not available on traditional broadcast TV and gives viewers 24/7 free access to shows like “Ice Road Truckers” (A+E), “America’s Test Kitchen” (PBS), “Hell’s Kitchen l Kitchen Nightmares” (FilmRise) and new to WatchFree+, the British fantasy-adventure drama, “Merlin” (Fremantle).

Vizio has expanded crime programming with the addition of the “JAIL” pop-up channel from Langley Productions, the team behind the long-running reality series “COPs”.

Viewers can also enjoy shows on the recently added ION channel, which features series such as “NCIS,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.” and “Blue Bloods.”

Vizio Swings Back to Q3 Profit as Ad-Supported Platform Revenue Surges

Consumer electronics manufacturer Vizio Nov. 9 reported third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) net income of $2 million on revenue of $435 million. That compared with a loss of $18.6 million on revenue of $588.3 million in the prior year period.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company reflected a 39% drop in device sales to $307 million, from $502.5 million a year ago. The decline in smart-TV and soundbar revenue was surprising considering The NPD Group touted Vizio TV as the No. 2 smart-TV brand in the quarter.

The company shipped 1.2 million smart-TVs in the quarter, down 15% from 1.4 million units shipped in the previous-year period.

Meanwhile, Vizio’s decision to launch an ad-supported streaming platform continues to pay dividends. The platform surpassed 16.6 million active accounts in the quarter, generating $128 million in ad revenue — up 49% from revenue of $85.5 million a year earlier.

Total Vizio user hours increased 11% to 8.12 million hours, from 7.3 million. SmartCast hours increased 17% to 4.2 million, from 3.6 million. More importantly, average revenue per user increased 39% to $27.7, from $19.9.

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“Our platform revenue [growth] and adjusted pre-tax earnings all surpassed the high-end of our guidance ranges,” CEO William Wang said in a statement.

Kaleidescape Appoints Priscilla Morgan Chief Operating Officer

Movie player maker Kaleidescape has appointed Priscilla Morgan chief operating officer.

She will be responsible for sales, marketing, content licensing, customer support and customer engagement. She was previously a member of the board of directors for the company.

“Priscilla brings more than 25 years of experience building and advancing sales, finance, and field operations initiatives for companies like Dolby and Oracle,” Kaleidescape chairman and CEO Tayloe Stansbury said in a statement. “Through many years of developing deep-rooted customer and industry relationships and navigating the landscape of entertainment technology, Priscilla has developed a unique and tremendously successful approach to scaling organizations. With her transition from our board of directors, she brings a strong understanding of Kaleidescape’s trajectory and customer base to this executive leadership role.”

“I am thrilled to take on this new role at Kaleidescape and contribute to its growing success alongside a tremendous leadership team,” Morgan said in a statement. “I look forward to leveraging my strategic and tactical experience, along with my industry ties, to establish a customer-centric approach to operations that will continue to grow the company.” 

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Prior to joining Kaleidescape, Morgan served as chief revenue officer at Alliance Consumer Group, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of branded consumer products. Additionally, she oversaw worldwide sales and business operations and new business design and implementation in VP roles at Dolby. She created and implemented systems to achieve complex financial and operational objectives and enabled global scaling of the business to more than $1 billion. As VP of business operations and development at Oracle, she led cross-functional teams to refine business practices, operations, and opportunity management for on-demand and support services. She also served as the CFO at TuVox and conducted client engagements at KPMG.

Morgan holds a bachelor of arts in English with an emphasis in accounting from the University of California, Berkeley. She was selected as one of the Most Influential Women in Business by The San Francisco Business Times

Roku to Launch New Smart Home Products Line at Walmart

Roku and Walmart Oct. 12 announced the launch of Roku’s new suite of smart-home products, including security cameras, video doorbells, lighting, and streaming plugs in nearly 3,500 Walmart stores beginning Oct. 17.

The move comes as Roku expands it branded internet-connected television operating system to other household devices.

“Branching further into the smart-home category is a natural extension of our business, and we are proud to partner with Walmart to make the experience simple and affordable,” Mustafa Ozgen, president of devices at Roku, said in a statement.

At launch, Roku TV Operating System integration will allow users to see who is at their door with their Roku video doorbell while streaming their favorite shows. Users will also be able to view live streams from their Roku cameras, use a Roku voice remote to bring up video feeds, and more. Roku Smart Home will be compatible with third-party voice integrations, as well as Roku Voice.

Developed in partnership with Wyze Labs, Roku smart devices will make it easy for consumers to connect with a smart-home experience. The Roku Smart Home lineup offers two-factor authentication, user data encryption, secure boot, and numerous other advanced security capabilities. In addition, Roku Smart Home devices are certified by ioXt Alliance, the global standard for IoT security.

“We’re expanding the Roku ecosystem for the tens of millions of households who already use [our] devices – or anyone looking for a new option to level-up their spaces with smart lighting, cameras and more,” said Mark Robins, VP of Roku Smart Home.

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The Roku Smart Home initial lineup includes:

  • Floodlight Camera
  • Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
  • Indoor Camera 360°
  • Video Doorbell & Chime
  • Smart Bulbs (white and color)
  • Smart Light Strips
  • Indoor and Outdoor Smart Plugs


“Roku’s new line of Smart Home devices … allows our customers to easily enjoy the security and convenience afforded by these new products,” added Laura Rush, SVP of electronics, toys and seasonal for Walmart U.S.

NPD: 2021 U.S. Consumer Technology Revenue Up 9%, Following Double-Digit Growth in 2020

Last year (2021) was a record-setting year for the U.S. consumer technology industry with sales reaching nearly $127 billion dollars, up 9% from 2020’s double-digit increase, according to new data from The NPD Group.

That momentum is expected to cool from 2022 through 2024. While total sales will remain above pre-pandemic levels, NPD’s most recent Future of Tech forecast reveals year-over-year U.S. CE industry revenue is expected to decline 5% in 2022, 4% in 2023, and 1% in 2024.

“In the near-term we are anticipating slowing demand from the extraordinary rates we have been seeing over the last two years,” Stephen Baker, VP and industry advisor for NPD, said in a statement.

A trend that began pre-pandemic but will carry into the new year is rising average selling prices (ASPs). This year will see the fifth consecutive year of industry level ASP increases, with overall unit pricing expected to top $72, up $16 from 2018.

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Last year ASP increases were in part the result of growing shipping costs and component shortages, but much of that was not felt until the second half of the year. Going forward NPD expects to see selling prices remain stable at this new, higher level due to the combination of strong demand for premium solutions and softening consumer needs for lower-value device categories.

“With such high levels of purchasing in 2020 and 2021 driven, in many cases, by pandemic lifestyle changes, we are seeing a larger, and younger, installed base for a number of devices,” Baker said. “This will inevitably slow consumer needs in the immediate future for technology updates and upgrades.”

Despite the anticipated declines, NPD’s forecast indicates smart homes will be an area of growth for the industry. In 2022, the category is expected to see unit growth of 6%, accompanied by 2% revenue gains, bringing total sales to over $4.1 billion. This will result from gains in security focused segments, including security cameras (up 2%), smart doorbells (up 13%) and smart locks (up 8%).

“Sales of smart-home devices had a strong 2021 holiday season, and we are forecasting unit and dollar sales to continue growing through 2024,” added Ben Arnold, executive director and technology industry analyst for NPD. “Consumers are also focused on entertainment, which will result in sales growth for standalone VR headsets and big-screen TVs (65-inches and above) through the forecast period. While VR offers a unique entertainment experience, growth in big screen TVs will continue from pre-pandemic trends towards larger screen sizes.”

Roku Ups Audio Partner Adoption and International Expansion

Roku Dec. 29 announced new growth and international expansion to its “Roku TV Ready Certification” program. Designed to simplify the home theater, the Roku TV Ready program enables third party A/V and consumer electronics companies to enhance their audio products to support seamless setup, single remote operations, and easier access to home theater settings on screen when connected to a Roku TV.

New partners added in 2021 included Element, JVC, Pheanoo and Philips, with Polk Audio and Westinghouse joining in early 2022. Existing Roku TV Ready partners include Bose, Hisense, TCL North America and Sound United, parent company to Denon, Definitive Technology and Polk Audio. Additionally, the program was expanded internationally with partners launching in the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico.

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For partners, the Roku TV Ready program includes an easy-to-implement software development kit (SDK) and test materials to fast-track integration. In addition to Roku TV Ready, Roku also offers a wireless soundbar reference design for companies looking to deliver high-performance home theater without running wires to the TV.

“Whether you are a soundbar manufacturer interested in providing your customers with a seamless home theater experience or would like to integrate Roku’s wireless audio technology, [we] make it easy for manufacturers to utilize [our] technology,” Mark Ely, VP of product strategy at Roku, said in a statement.

LG to Demo Flexible OLED Tech at CES 2022

LG Display will be demonstrating its flexible OLED technology at CES 2022, showcasing two new product concepts — “Virtual Ride” and “Media Chair.”

LG Display’s Virtual Ride

The Virtual Ride is an indoor stationary bicycle with three vertical 55-inch OLED displays in front of and above it. The advanced displays come together to form one large, curved, r-shaped display that gives users a view both forward and above. The display that bends to create the ceiling above the rider has a curvature radius that reaches 500R, or a radius of 500mm, the most among existing large displays, according to LG.

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“The OLED displays provide unparalleled lifelike colors with their vivid picture quality to make you really feel like you are cycling outside in a forest or down the street of a European village,” according to an LG press release.

The Media Chair combines a 55-inch OLED TV display with a recliner. The screen boasts a curvature radius of 1,500R, the optimal angle for the user, as well as the company’s built-in sound technology Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO), which enables the display to vibrate to make its own sound without the use of external speakers, according to LG. The chair display’s pivot function allows the screen to rotate between vertical and horizontal orientations with a button on the display of the armrest. “This gives the user the unique opportunity to customize their immersive viewing experience thanks to the OLED technology to perfectly fit whatever content they want to watch,” according to the release.

The OLED display boasts tens of millions of self-emitting pixels to eliminate the need for a separate backlight, according to the release. It comes in various forms, such as bendable, foldable and rollable.

“We will continue to provide differentiated value to our customers through OLED’s infinite potential while also moving forward with integrating our business into diverse industries,”  Yeo Chun-ho, head of the business development division at LG Display, said in a statement.

NPD: Mixed Black Friday, Cyber Week CE Sales Results

It was a mixed bag for consumer electronics during last month’s annual post-Thanksgiving Black Friday retail day/week, including Cyber Monday, according to new data from The NPD Group.

The industry saw a 15% year-over-year revenue increase, while Cyber Week saw a 3% increase versus year ago. Much the revenue gains were due to category price hikes Results for these two weeks were up versus 2019, as the strength of online shopping reinvigorated the two core weeks of the holiday selling season.

Meanwhile, while revenue increased, unit sales — which indicate consumer demand — tell a different story. In the first nine weeks of the fourth quarter unit sales are down 4% from 2020, according to NPD.

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The industry-wide average selling price is up, which the Port Washington, N.Y.-based research group contends is due in part to demand for quality and performance, component and shipping costs, lower promotional levels, and industry-wide choices to focus production resources on higher price point goods.

“Consumers are embracing a different kind of value, as they look to invest in higher-end, better-quality products,” Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD, said in a statement.

NPD said that among product categories, the surprise thus far has been virtual reality. During Cyber Week, VR/AR saw revenue growth of 84%, and unit volume more than doubled.

record-high selling prices for TVs resulted in record-breaking revenue during Cyber Week. Headphones continued their strong holiday quarter with a 7% revenue increase.

“Cyber Week 2021 followed a similar pattern to pre-pandemic years, demonstrating that the lack of a post-Black Friday lull in 2020 truly was an aberration,” Cohen said. “High-momentum categories are starting to show some vulnerability, which is understandable given the headwinds at play. However, these categories may still show up with late holiday shoppers looking to take advantage of last-minute deals during the full week of shopping after Super Saturday on this year’s calendar.”