Consumer electronics

Consumer electronics

Overview

Consumer electronics are electronic
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 equipment intended for everyday use, most often in entertainment
Entertainment
Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment is generally passive, such as watching opera or a movie. Active forms of amusement, such as sports, are more often considered to be recreation...

, communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

s and office
Office
An office is generally a room or other area in which people work, but may also denote a position within an organization with specific duties attached to it ; the latter is in fact an earlier usage, office as place originally referring to the location of one's duty. When used as an adjective, the...

 productivity. Radio broadcasting in the early 20th century brought the first major consumer product, the broadcast receiver. Later products include personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

s, telephone
Telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

s, MP3 players, audio equipment
Audio equipment
A piece of audio equipment is any device designed principally to reproduce, record or process sound. This includes microphones, radio receivers, AV receivers, CD players, tape recorders, amplifiers, mixing consoles, effects units and loudspeakers....

, television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

s, calculator
Calculator
An electronic calculator is a small, portable, usually inexpensive electronic device used to perform the basic operations of arithmetic. Modern calculators are more portable than most computers, though most PDAs are comparable in size to handheld calculators.The first solid-state electronic...

s, GPS
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 automotive electronics
Automotive electronics
Automotive electronics are the electronics used in the automobiles.It includes body electronics, in car entertainment, carputers, chassis electronics and telematics.Automotive electronics...

, digital camera
Digital camera
A digital camera is a camera that takes video or still photographs, or both, digitally by recording images via an electronic image sensor. It is the main device used in the field of digital photography...

s and players and recorders using video media such as DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

s, VCRs or camcorder
Camcorder
A camcorder is an electronic device that combines a video camera and a video recorder into one unit. Equipment manufacturers do not seem to have strict guidelines for the term usage...

s. Increasingly these products have become based on digital technologies, and have largely merged with the computer industry in what is increasingly referred to as the consumerization
Consumerization
Consumerization is a stable neologism that describes the trend for new information technology to emerge first in the consumer market and then spread into business organizations, resulting in the convergence of the IT and consumer electronics industries, and a shift in IT innovation from large...

 of information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

.

The CEA (Consumer Electronics Association
Consumer Electronics Association
The Consumer Electronics Association is a standards and trade organization for the consumer electronics industry in the United States. The Consumer Electronics Association is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $173 billion U.S...

) estimates 2007 US Consumer Electronics sales at 150 billion dollars.

Consumer electronics are manufactured throughout the world, although there is a particularly high concentration of headquarters, factories, research and development activity in East Asia
Economy of East Asia
The economy of East Asia is one of the most successful regional economies of the world. It is home of some of the world's largest and most prosperous economies : China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea....

, especially in Japan.
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Encyclopedia

Consumer electronics are electronic
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 equipment intended for everyday use, most often in entertainment
Entertainment
Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment is generally passive, such as watching opera or a movie. Active forms of amusement, such as sports, are more often considered to be recreation...

, communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

s and office
Office
An office is generally a room or other area in which people work, but may also denote a position within an organization with specific duties attached to it ; the latter is in fact an earlier usage, office as place originally referring to the location of one's duty. When used as an adjective, the...

 productivity. Radio broadcasting in the early 20th century brought the first major consumer product, the broadcast receiver. Later products include personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

s, telephone
Telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

s, MP3 players, audio equipment
Audio equipment
A piece of audio equipment is any device designed principally to reproduce, record or process sound. This includes microphones, radio receivers, AV receivers, CD players, tape recorders, amplifiers, mixing consoles, effects units and loudspeakers....

, television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

s, calculator
Calculator
An electronic calculator is a small, portable, usually inexpensive electronic device used to perform the basic operations of arithmetic. Modern calculators are more portable than most computers, though most PDAs are comparable in size to handheld calculators.The first solid-state electronic...

s, GPS
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 automotive electronics
Automotive electronics
Automotive electronics are the electronics used in the automobiles.It includes body electronics, in car entertainment, carputers, chassis electronics and telematics.Automotive electronics...

, digital camera
Digital camera
A digital camera is a camera that takes video or still photographs, or both, digitally by recording images via an electronic image sensor. It is the main device used in the field of digital photography...

s and players and recorders using video media such as DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

s, VCRs or camcorder
Camcorder
A camcorder is an electronic device that combines a video camera and a video recorder into one unit. Equipment manufacturers do not seem to have strict guidelines for the term usage...

s. Increasingly these products have become based on digital technologies, and have largely merged with the computer industry in what is increasingly referred to as the consumerization
Consumerization
Consumerization is a stable neologism that describes the trend for new information technology to emerge first in the consumer market and then spread into business organizations, resulting in the convergence of the IT and consumer electronics industries, and a shift in IT innovation from large...

 of information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

.

The CEA (Consumer Electronics Association
Consumer Electronics Association
The Consumer Electronics Association is a standards and trade organization for the consumer electronics industry in the United States. The Consumer Electronics Association is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $173 billion U.S...

) estimates 2007 US Consumer Electronics sales at 150 billion dollars.

Consumer electronics are manufactured throughout the world, although there is a particularly high concentration of headquarters, factories, research and development activity in East Asia
Economy of East Asia
The economy of East Asia is one of the most successful regional economies of the world. It is home of some of the world's largest and most prosperous economies : China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea....

, especially in Japan. The latest consumer electronics are previewed yearly at the Consumer Electronics Show
Consumer Electronics Show
The International Consumer Electronics Show is a major technology-related trade show held each January in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. Not open to the public, the Consumer Electronics Association-sponsored show typically hosts previews of products and new...

 in Las Vegas
Las Vegas metropolitan area
The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA also known as the Las Vegas–Paradise–Henderson MSA which includes all of Clark County, Nevada, and is a metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Valley is defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a ...

, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, at which many industry pioneers speak.

Trends


One overriding characteristic of consumer electronic products is the trend of ever-falling prices. This is driven by gains in manufacturing efficiency and automation
Automation
Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond mechanization...

, lower labor costs as manufacturing has moved to lower-wage countries, and improvements in semiconductor
Semiconductor
A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity due to electron flow intermediate in magnitude between that of a conductor and an insulator. This means a conductivity roughly in the range of 103 to 10−8 siemens per centimeter...

 design. Semiconductor components benefit from Moore's Law
Moore's Law
Moore's law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware: the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years....

, an observed principle which states that, for a given price, semiconductor functionality doubles every two years.

While consumer electronics continues in its trend of convergence
Technological convergence
Technological convergence is the tendency for different technological systems to evolve towards performing similar tasks. Convergence can refer to previously separate technologies such as voice , data , and video that now share resources and interact with each other synergistically.The rise of...

, combining elements of many products, consumers face different decisions when purchasing. There is an ever increasing need to keep product information updated and comparable, for the consumer to make an informed choice. Style, price, specification and performance are all relevant. There is a gradual shift towards e-commerce web-storefronts.

Many products include Internet connectivity using technologies such as Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

, Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a proprietary open wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks with high levels of security...

 or Ethernet
Ethernet
Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies for local area networks commercially introduced in 1980. Standardized in IEEE 802.3, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies....

. Products not traditionally associated with computer use (such as TVs or Hi-Fi equipment) now provide options to connect to the Internet or to a computer using a home network
Home network
A home network or home area network is a residential local area network . It is used for communication between digital devices typically deployed in the home, usually a small number of personal computers and accessories, such as printers and mobile computing devices...

 to provide access to digital content. The desire for High definition (HD) content has led the industry to develop a number of technologies, such as WirelessHD
WirelessHD
WirelessHD is an industry-led effort to define a specification for the next generation wireless digital network interface for wireless high-definition signal transmission for consumer electronics products. The consortium currently has over 40 adopters; key members behind the specification include...

 or ITU-T
ITU-T
The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector is one of the three sectors of the International Telecommunication Union ; it coordinates standards for telecommunications....

 G.hn
G.hn
G.hn is the common name for a home network technology family of standards developed under the International Telecommunication Union's Standardization arm and promoted by the HomeGrid Forum...

, which are optimized for distribution of HD content between CE devices in a home.

Environmental impact


Standby power
Standby power
Standby power, also called vampire power, vampire draw, phantom load, or leaking electricity , refers to the electric power consumed by electronic and electrical appliances while they are switched off Standby power, also called vampire power, vampire draw, phantom load, or leaking electricity...

used by consumer electronics and appliance while they are turned off accounts for 5 to 10% of household energy consumption, adding an estimated $3 billion to annual energy costs in the USA. "In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off."