The mobile video aftermarket has fallen by more than 60 percent in the past 8 years, but some suppliers say the bleeding has stopped and new technology may even restore the market to minor growth.
At present, mobile video amounts to shipments worth $40 million wholesale annually, by some industry estimates.
VOXX and Epsilon both see hope for growth in a new kind of rear seat “Smart TV” similar to the smart TVs now popular in our homes, offering easy access to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime, etc.
Until now, the mobile video aftermarket was stuck in a technology gap. DVD players were outdated and tablet headrests were expensive and required costly data usage. But now tablet prices and data rates have fallen.
“Five years ago there were a lot of limits. We had 3G service so speed was an issue….We now have vehicle manufacturers supporting in-vehicle WiFi connectivity and basically every smart device has a hot spot,” said VOXX Director Business Development, Mobile Entertainment, Joe Caltabiano. With 4G LTE now readily available, “AT&T partnered with General Motors, offering a $19.99 unlimited data plan for GM vehicles….it makes the ideal opportunity to grow rear seat with the Smart TV positioned in the car.”
VOXX claims it sold out of the first two shipments of its SB10UHD Smart TV system that launched in January. It is air freighting product to the US and had hoped to catch up with orders as of last month.
Epsilon agreed with the trend and says it will offer a rear seat Smart TV system in the future.
“TVs have become more relevant as they become Smart TVs and much more desirable to the consumer. The same thing needs to occur with rear seat entertainment,” said Epsilon VP Sales & Marketing Paul Goldberg.
Not all vendors are bullish on Smart TVs. One simply said, “Mobile video is dying. We’ve seen a huge decline in our sales. It probably dropped over 50 or 60 percent since 2017.”
VOXX however said its business isn’t dropping anymore. “It plateaued two years ago for us. Now we’re seeing it take an upswing with the new product.”
Epsilon agreed the Smart TV could also swing the market to modest growth.
Accele also believes the market has stabilized. The company offers an AXVOD10 tablet system with a hard drive where users can store their video for use in the car.
Photo via Movin On Sounds & Security: VOXX’s Joe Caltabiano shows a new rear seat Smart TV.