The technology breakthroughs of the past decade have changed the possibilities for home entertainment, and media firms, technology companies, and consumer retailers have all profited as the industry has grown. The introduction of high-definition visual technology, Video on demand, and increasingly interactive gaming has helped the home entertainment sector become an especially attractive part of consumer electronics. Not only is consumer demand high; home entertainment is a traditionally high-margin industry (especially the lucrative speaker cable sector), and new technology is bringing in even more interest and profit.
In addition to the traditional entertainment-specialized players in the sector, a number of familiar heavyweight tech companies have also been trying to break into the profitable business, chasing a goal of "digital convergence"--the unification of internet, TV/cable service, disk media storage (DVDs, high-def DVDs), hard drive storage, gaming, and audio in one high-use, high-expenditure room of the house. From cable companies, who offer bundle packages of high speed internet, TV, and phone lines in one integrated package, to movie studios, who now release their films in formats for regular TV, high definition, portable devices, and online downloading, firms in this industry are rethinking the applications and synergies of their products.
But for each advancement, there is an existing technology that suffers. Blu-ray may be hot today, but movie rental companies will suffer with the coming switch to digital downloads. CDs have all but disappeared as mp3's and iTunes dominate the market. The effects of breakthroughs can be drastic for existing firms, and the best known brand names today may not be those best positioned to profit tomorrow.