I thought it would be interesting to discuss some of the future predictions that I have for the Home Theatre and Consumer AV industry. These are just some personal opinions and in time it will be interesting to see how many of these come to fruition.
Increased use of passive subwoofers in mid level home theatre systems, filtering down from current higher end offerings.
I believe we'll see an increase in the use of passive subwoofers in mid level home theatre system which are powered by rack mounted (or cabinet mounted) amplifiers, it just makes sense from an installation standpoint with cabling, placement flexibility and having all the power at the rack or cabinet.
Passive subs are also very popular in commercial applications and this should filter down to more consumer level products.
We've already started to see this shift with systems such as the Krix MX series, with even their tiny MX5 using passive subwoofers.
This also gives you the option of hiding the passive subwoofers behind acoustically transparent projector screens or fabric wall systems, as you will no longer need to access the subwoofer to turn them on or to adjust the DSP settings since the amplifiers will be stored in a rack / cabinet.
We won't see an 8K streaming service in the next 5 years but we should see higher bandwidth 4K streams within that timeframe.
I'd love to say I think there will be an 8K streaming service to take advantage of all those 8K TV's in the market but I really can't see it in the next 5yrs due to the data requirements which come in at around a whopping 44Gb for an hour of 8K.
Room correction products which use Dirac Live or similar will be more common
Thunderbolt will eventually be used on high end audio processors and streamers, will eventually filter down to AV Receivers in time.
The potential of Thunderbolt is massive and it may even eventually replace or at least complement HDMI in some applications. It's really designed for short cable runs at the moment, so we may not see it fully replace HDMI but it's still's very interesting and has massive potential.
Current Thunderbolt 4 supports 40 Gbps in both directions and reports are Thunderbolt 5 may even double this to 80 Gbps. Thunderbolt displays/connections can also be daisy chained together offering greater connectivity.
DAD (Digital Audio Denmark) has recently released a pro audio modular audio interface which includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports. These offer a channel count of up to 256 audio channels at 48 and 96 kHz with ultra low latency of 95 microseconds.
These devices will initially be used for immersive Dolby Atmos mastering and post production but I think we may eventually see something similar in consumer focused devices, this one just may take a while.
Imagine a future processor which would allow you to use your desired room correction device which could connect to the processor by a single thunderbolt cable or we may also see this used in future video processors.
Dante will be used in consumer products for transmitting audio / video
If you've had any experience with Dante in commercial applications you'll know just how easy it is to use and how powerful it can be with all the products which have been built upon it. Overtime I can see Dante being added to some consumer level devices.