Brian Ploskina

Brian Ploskina
Five Top Integrators' Tips For Success

Take a drive through some of the most posh neighborhoods in Palm Beach or Broward County, Fla., and you’re likely to spot a lot of nice cars in the driveways.

Where Does Windows Go From Here?

To walk into the offices of cyberManor in Los Gatos, Calif., you’d never know this company is in the business of high-end home
theater and automation. Desks and floors are piled high with boxes, cables and paperwork, and it’s not until you reach the rear of the office that you find something that stands for a demo.

Breaking the Barriers

Pinnacle Speakers represents the creative side of the CEDIA channel. From their corner-positioned subs to their on-ceiling, yes, on-ceiling, speakers, the family-run business constantly eliminates what we once thought were limitations to a challenging install. And they aren’t finished. Before the Brothers Rothenberg prepped for another trip to CEDIA EXPO—where they plan to tackle another installation limitation—Mickey (vice president of national sales) took a time out to discuss with CustomRetailer the newest products, customer service and why Pinnacle’s unique distribution model keeps it positioned for future success, no matter the economy. CR: Pinnacle Speakers is a unique speaker company. How do you position

Projections Look Good

When Dolby Laboratories showed off its much-anticipated concept High Dynamic Range (HDR) LCD in New York City in late March, nearly as striking as the 46-inch display itself (more on that in a bit) was the fact that Dolby chose SIM2 as the hardware manufacturer to bring what was once a pie-in-the-sky dream into reality. SIM2, which doesn’t even currently produce an LCD—it’s Grand Cinema HTL line is being retired—is known globally for its sleek front projectors, especially its flagship C3X 1080, a 3-chip DLP unit. However, Sim2 has a reputation for pushing the envelope, so Dolby saw a natural partner in the Italian

‘No Apologies Necessary’

Dealers often mention that in order to respond to their customers’ desires for in-wall and on-wall speakers, apologies must be made regarding the performance capability of the current market offerings versus even bookshelf models from some of the very same manufacturers. Perhaps not so ironically, the families that demand speakers that are hidden or low-profile are the same ones that won’t stand for sacrificing performance. This is why Wisdom Audio has taken great pains to ensure the performance achieved from the in-wall and on-wall versions of its brand new Sage Series is the same as its freestanding solutions. What’s more, customers are welcome to

A ‘Clear’ Picture

Every young manufacturer has growing pains. Five-year-old upstart Screen Research experienced one last year when it came to the decision that it was time to sever its relationship with StJohn Group, Inc., which was at the time the exclusive distributor of Screen Research products. But there are times when you need the support of industry veterans to establish your name on the market, and there are times when you need to step out on your own and reach out to your clients without a middleman. The last couple years have been filled with moments like that for Screen Research, and it’s sure to face

Getting ‘Sirius’ About the Custom Channel

While one format war is over, another still rages, and custom integrators are once again in the middle of it. While there weren’t exactly parades down Main Street the day Toshiba officially marked the death knell of HD DVD, the pros responsible for recommending and installing systems that incorporated high-def video were certainly fit to be tied. So now they can turn their attention to the still fiery audio format war, one that both XM Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio would be all too happy to bury if only the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would allow them. In March, the United States Department


You turn another softly carpeted showfloor corner and spot a Crestron rep talking up a potential distributor. Before your appointment with Sony salespeople later in the day, you decide to sit down for a Sonance class on mounting in-wall speakers. For all you know, you’ve never left the Colorado Convention Center. Only, this isn’t CEDIA EXPO. It’s Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) and the view outside the RAI Centre in Amsterdam would be difficult to confuse with downtown Denver. Geography isn’t the only difference (the smoke-filled hallways is another), however, to speak with people who attended the show, the similarities are striking. “There’s not a

Quality Connections

The most unique characteristic of working with Honeywell is how much (and how many different ways) the company helps its dealers long before, during and after the sale. When integrators purchase a SKU from Honeywell, they don’t just get the specific part; they get a host of educational tools and testing protocols to make sure the application is executed successfully and that the end user is entirely satisfied with it. Take HDMI, for example. When installing HDMI connections using Honeywell products, dealers get help before the installation in the form of a testing tool that will tell the dealer if the cable is capable

‘Lift’ing Projection Expectations

Your average carpet walker at the Consumer Electronics Show last month was pretty impressed with Panasonic’s 150-inch plasma set. Mouths agape, eyes widened, they awed at the size of it. But if you’re a custom integrator, the awe probably turned into shock sometime after you started calculating the logistics of actually hanging the darned thing, let alone support it should something go awry. And, let’s face it: Why bother when you have projection systems at sizes, resolutions and placement options that blow every flat screen away? That’s the kind of sentiment Stewart Filmscreen director of sales Joaquin Rivera heard from dealers all week. And

Energy Control

There’s never been a more critical time to justify an investment in home entertainment and control technologies than today. The housing and economic downturn has everyone, even the wealthy, wondering how much capital they can spend and still weather the storm. Crestron’s spokesman Jeffrey Singer has some ideas, including ways to show how your customers can save money with some systems, depending on how environmentally conscious they are, and new Crestron initiatives that help educate the end user. He also reveals to CustomRetailer new technology Crestron is debuting later this year. Some integrators have given us the impression that, essentially, “You’re either a Crestron

Windows Everywhere

There aren’t many advantages in this business when you’re young. No experience. No cadre of current customers to market to. And you’re just beginning to make the mistakes most of your competition has already committed and learned from. But there’s one distinct advantage Tyler Jennings and his team of fellow twentysomethings at Imperium Smart Systems in Herriman, Utah, have: Starting from a clean slate, the group can adopt the latest technology earlier than anyone else, and install it quickly. This fall, the company was rewarded for its ingenuity, winning the Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Competition. Announced at the 2007 CEDIA EXPO, the

The Right Touch

Leaving the site of a professional custom install you’ve just completed must feel something like dropping your son and daughter off at the dorm for their first year of college. In a sense, all of the tools and knowledge they will utilize to circumvent this new wonderland will be those you provided them. And because of that, you feel a certain sense of pride and responsibility for how they get along once you get back in the car for the long drive home. When you see them again for the first time, will they gush over how simple it was to accomplish their

Is iTunes Ready for Whole-Home Audio?

Let’s take a trip back to 2001. All settled in? Good. So get this: Some computer company has manufactured a funny-looking handheld device that stores a person’s entire music library—but only if the file is compressed to about an eighth of the size of the original CD-quality song. Who’s going to listen to compressed junk like that? Maybe a bunch of kids who don’t know any better, but clearly not the sophisticated people looking for custom integrators and CEDIA members to install whole-home audio systems. Is it time to go back to 2007 already? Welcome home! OK, maybe we didn’t call the whole iPod

SXSW Heroes

Let’s face it: When you’re a bona fide rock star, you know how your music should sound. And only one volume level will do—somewhere between make-the-neighbors-wet-the-bed and these-speakers-will-soon-bleed. So if you’re in charge of setting up an audio/video oasis for musicians taking a break during the South By Southwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW), held last month in Austin, Texas, then you’d better make sure you have the equipment to satisfy these exacting tastes. Speaker manufacturer Paradigm got the opportunity to be a part of that bit of fun. Marketing Manager Mark Aling didn’t hesitate for a second when he got the call and,