Power management components for home theaters are becoming key weapons in C-tailers' arsenals
By Philip Ryan
Power management is nothing new, both for the industry and for many everyday people. Most consumers are very familiar with the inadequacies of the power flowing from their wall outlets. Many have some device—a surge suppressor or, increasingly, an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)—between the wall and their home computers. Through their favorable experiences with protecting PC equipment, consumers are starting to realize they need the same level of protection for their home theaters.
Not surprisingly, numerous vendors are responding to this growing demand. Some, like Panamax and PS Audio, have offered high-end power management to the home theater market for years now. Others, like Tributaries, are offering their first products. Even Belkin, long associated with PC power accessories, is targeting home theater. The thread that connects them all is the realization that there's a huge opportunity in providing home theaters with clean power and protection from dreaded surges. "Mass retail is opening up for home theater just like it was 15 years ago for the PC power market," says Jason Meyer, product manager for Belkin's PureAV line of home theater power protection components. "A/V is right on that mass adoption phase."
Belkin's latest line launched in Best Buy stores this May, and a major part of its sales plan is education. "Consumers need to know they have to protect their home theater investment with a high-quality power product," says Meyer. Other companies in this growing product category echo Meyer's sentiments.
"The market is exploding," says Ingo Schmoldt, vice president of marketing for Richard Gray's Power Company (RGPC). "So much attention is being paid to power compared to five or 10 years ago and lots of companies are coming out of the woodwork. But the market is still a fraction of where it should be."