people in consumer electronics retail store looking at latest laptop, television and photo camera to buy

The consumer audio-visual technology sector is a competitive place. It seems that new products are consistently rolled out before their predecessors have reached the homes of most consumers. While high definition flat screen TVs are the current norm for most, 4K TVs are slowly gaining more market share as more networks and streaming platforms adopt the technology and the initial price for consumers decreases. But, before they have even come close to reaching the point of becoming the standard in at-home viewing, 8K TVs (exhibited at CES 2017) are now on consumers’ radar. Why buy 4K when 8K is on the way? Then there are the ‘technological breakthroughs’ that entered the market claiming to be the new standard in the at-home viewing that only reached a niche market before becoming obsolete, such as Blu ray players and 3D TVs, which it would seem are all but dead after LG and Sony dropped their support for the technology earlier this year.

The current technology garnering the same level of media attention that those products received in their day, in my opinion, is VR. Last month, my colleague Mark Salow expressed why VR is here to stay. So, it’s clear it will eventually become a part of daily life, but in what capacity? The obvious place for VR technology is in the video-gaming sector, but will companies try to tap into the television-viewing market as well? In the US in 2015, 116.4 million homes had at least one TV (nearly all homes), but only one in five homes had a video gaming console, meaning companies could capitalize on a much larger market if they choose to go after regular visual media consumers, be that live programing or through a streaming service, as well.

But is it too big of a risk to try to take VR to your average television or Netflix consumer? Could this potential application of VR fall the way of 3D TVs, or could VR deliver a viewing experience akin to what 3D TV technology had promised? Where to take VR next will provide both challenges and opportunities to companies and marketers alike. But it will be interesting to see which markets they will focus their efforts on capturing.

What do you think the best applications of VR will be? Let us know on Twitter and LinkedIn.

— Perri Read, Junior Consultant