Integra's build-to-order home theater receiver system could lure DIY customers to your showroom
By Erik Caplan
Customized home theater components were once the sole domain of the wealthy and serious hobbyists.
Such prized possessions were only designed and built by specialists for specialized installation applications at high costs, or laboriously soldered together in the home workshops of studious electronics enthusiasts. The only way to get one's hands on a custom piece was to drop a ton of cash on one, or spend ages analyzing circuit boards and wiring schematics in order to build the piece at home.
That's all changing now.
The copy on Integra's site refers to its DTR-10.5 build-to-order home theater receiver as "the world's first home theater receiver built around a modular, card-based architecture." The gist is simple: the customer decides on the desired features for his or her home theater receiver, and builds a virtual unit online from modular cards to meet those specifications. The receiver has nine card slots that accept various audio or video processing choices.
A customer reaching the company's build-to-order page is asked for his or her e-mail address and zip code. From there, the customer is routed to a configuration page, where specific elements can be selected for inclusion on the custom receiver. Options include an HDMI module, a Net-Tune audio distribution module, an RCA component module and a BNC component module.
"I always compare it to Dell's laptop-building site," says Eric Harper, product and marketing manager at Integra. "On the Dell site, there's a basic chassis with a base price, and then you choose the options you want from there—processors, et cetera.
"We're doing the same thing with a home theater receiver."
With each new module selection made by the customer, an image of a rear panel is updated to reflect additions. When a project is then submitted on the site, a build number is created for the receiver and retained on file for reference by dealers. A confirmation e-mail is sent to the customer with this information, along with a list of authorized local dealers who can fulfill the customer's order.