Sequester Me
February 18, 2013

It doesn't get as much press as "Fiscal Cliff," but the term sequester could impact AV professionals. Unless another midnight deal is reached, on March 1, 2013 a number of cuts will be put into effect. For those of a Libertarian leaning, the cut to pay to congress is the biggest benefit.

The other portion that concerns us in AV is the cuts to defense. Not that any of us manufacture tanks or aircraft carriers, but a major portion of some integrators and manufacturers' sales go directly to the government. Specifically to the defense department.

Study: Home Automation Shipments Nearly Double
November 21, 2012

Damn the economy, it's full speed ahead for home automation services. According to ABI Research, home automation shipments nearly doubled from last year to this year in the United States.

Spurred by a wave of new entrants, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks, Verizon and AT&T, North America is acting as a bellwether for home automation deployments and shipments for markets worldwide, according to ABI.

"Home automation adoption is moving into the mainstream as a combination of home connectivity, standardization, and a range of new sensors and devices

Custom Installers Say Business is Up
July 27, 2012

Despite slow economic growth and weak consumer spending in U.S., Azione's custom electronics installers said their businesses were up between 5 and 25 percent.

The Rise of the Hired Gun
July 5, 2011

Recently, something that I've been noticing come up in conversations here
and there in the industry is an exodus of senior installers leaving their
long-term employers and setting themselves up as freelancers, often
subcontracting themselves back to their own former bosses.

Subcontractors are nothing new, obviously. But what makes these freelance
installers stand out to my mind is that, despite being located far and wide,
they share some common traits: they're senior techs, often with as much as
ten years or more of field experience

Value Is The New Luxury For Home Theater & Audio Enthusiasts
June 14, 2011

As a publisher, the world of social networking has opened me up to all sorts of people that I haven't heard from (or ever heard of), from places like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Forums and beyond. Many of these people are loyal readers and the more I hear from them - they are getting pretty agitated about really expensive audio and video gear.

They've been burned by HD DVD, SACD, DVD-Audio, HDMI and some of them even start talking about Beta. They've bought AV preamps for $5,000, which become worth less than $500 in five years.

Installed Home Tech Helps Grow the CE Industry
April 26, 2011

To call the housing market a roller coaster ride is an understatement. Indeed, the seemingly endless (and often conflicting) reports on the U.S. housing market from government agencies, private analysts, trade associations, realtors and consumer groups often amount to a maze of differing opinions. Are buyers returning to the market? Is the housing market improving or not? When will the foreclosure rate improve? How does one even define ‘improvement’ in the first place?

Digital Signage Survey Indicates Upswing
April 19, 2011

Digital Signage Expo (DSE) recently announced the results of its Quarterly Business Barometer Survey for the fourth quarter of 2010. After a modest third quarter, during which the economic recovery in the United States and other countries began to pick up steam again, 97 percent of all survey participants in North America still remained positive about the future of the digital out-of-home industry, according to the group, representing no significant overall change from Q3 2010. For Q4 2010, 63 percent of respondents indicated they felt "very positive," which represents a 5-point improvement over Q3, said DSE.

Industry Perspective: Marketing…What Marketing?
April 19, 2011

I've spent the past 20-plus years marketing professional audio products to touring sound and A/V rental companies. It seems that every year the hue and cry from the owners of these companies gets louder, who universally claim that their competitors are trashing the pricing of rental equipment and that profitability is sorely lacking. And I happen to believe them. Why is this happening? I believe many factors contribute, including general saturation of rental equipment in the market and poor business management such as a lack of understanding of overhead structure and operating costs within the rental company

Is AppleCare Worth the Cost?
April 14, 2011

Hardmac's Lionel says that over the past decade he's installed probably several hundreds of Macs, and until now, he's never felt the need to purchase an accompanying AppleCare extended warranty contract. He notes that based on volume, his choice to eschew AppleCare has been statistically sound, with most problems encountered having been minor and relatively cheap to fix. In only two cases, involving actual motherboard failure, would AppleCare have provided net benefit.

Bridgelux Says Silicon LEDs Coming: A Huge Step for Lighting
March 9, 2011

Bridgelux says it will bring a lighting technology to market in two to three years that seemed outlandish only a short time ago. If the company succeeds, this move could drastically drop the price of LED bulbs. The breakthrough technology is a functional gallium nitride LED that emits 135 lumens per watt. The lights are 'grown' on inexpensive silicon wafers instead of more exotic materials. These GaN-on-silicon chips are lab samples and Bridgelux will have to fine-tune production processes, but Bridgelux CEO Bill Watkins says that the company could move into production in