April 2003 Issue


Hardware Spotlight ? BenQ

BenQ PDP46W1 Plasma Display By Ron Goldberg BenQ isn't a household name in home video, but most readers will be familiar with its parent company Acer, which has spawned BenQ as its standalone brand for consumer and professional products. Coming from a background of LCD, CRT and projection technology for the PC and commercial worlds, BenQ has introduced its first plasma display, the PDP46W1, to the U.S. market. The PDP46W1 is a 46-inch, 16x9 model with a native resolution of 852x480 (Wide VGA), which supports up to XGA (1,024x768). It accepts and scales signals from 480p, 720p and 1,080i digital sources through RGB, BNC,

Hardware Spotlight ? Onkyo

Onkyo NC-500 'Net-Tune' Audio Network Receiver By David Dritsas Even with the death of Napster, everyone seems to have found ways to stockpile MP3s as if in preparation for the next ice age. I've got friends whose computers' hard drives resemble crowded CD racks. And any number of custom installers can tell you about the hours spent moving MP3 files to a home audio server. But I have to laugh when I see someone burning a whole load of MP3s to CD, just to listen to them on a stereo system (with MP3 playback) through better speakers. It just seems that a purpose is

Hardware Spotlight ? Paradigm

Paradigm System Six Home Theater Speaker System By Ron Goldberg While distributed audio is one of the killer apps of home installation, many, if not most, customers still expect a freestanding speaker solution for their main home theater and music listening areas. Once you filter out the highest-end, cost-no-object systems, and other speaker systems that are really meant to be seen (or not seen) rather than heard, the formula for both C-tailer and customer is pretty much the same as it's always been — best sonic value for the buck. Paradigm's Monitor series has been gathering followers for years, particularly amongst frugal audiophiles, with

HDTV Summit ? Over the Hump?

By Joe Paone The prevailing message of the eighth edition of the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) HDTV Summit — a gathering of CE manufacturers, content providers and lawmakers held annually in Washington, D.C. — seemed to be, "HDTV, you've come a long way, baby. But we've still got a few tall hurdles to overcome." For residential customers who see HDTV as a killer app for their home installation, and for the C-tailers who hope to sell it, the news isn't perfect, but it's getting better all the time. SILVER LININGS WITH CLOUDS Among the major difficulties cited was the content providers' reluctance to continue

Highlights from the EH Expo Marketing Boot Camp

By Coleen Sterns Basic training is required for success in any discipline, and marketing is no exception. At the Spring Electronic Home (EH) Expo Spring in Orlando, dealers had the opportunity to learn how to successfully market their installation businesses from some of the industry's leading experts. The instructors included Joseph Piccirilli, managing director of AVAD LLC; Carol Campbell, publisher of Audio Video Interiors; Spencer Kalker, president of ImageCrafters; Michael Detmer, vice president of sales and marketing at Niles Audio Corporation; and myself, Coleen Sterns, president of Marketing Matters. If you weren't there, you missed a good one, Effective marketing is critical to

Home Theaters and the Art of Acoustic Silence

By Christopher Klein If it's true, as was once said, that "silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves," it's true for home theaters as well. A home theater that delivers a high-quality audio experience must be designed for silence as well as sound. It needs to be isolated from sounds coming from adjoining rooms, and from any electrical and mechanical systems running through the walls. It also needs to be acoustically correct, so that music and sounds are heard as intended. As an acoustic professional, I'm often called by clients with questions about "sound-proofing." Though most are actually asking about

Mobile Networking A Potential Windfall for the Custom Retailer

By Brett Solomon The mobile electronics landscape has brought us such innovations as navigation, mobile video, satellite radio and vehicle tracking. But one area seemingly lacking in the vehicular environment is mobile networking. After all, if we can install a network in our house, why not install one in the car? Why not have all of the electronics in a vehicle communicate with one another, to make life easier for the end-user, and send the "cool" factor skyrocketing? Telematics has been the industry buzzword for the past few years; it describes the ability to send information to (and from) the vehicle. However, mobile networking

The Flat Speaker Solution

Is the NXT Big Thing Finally Here? By Mark Fleischmann There isn't much of a family resemblance between flat-panel video displays and a bunch of boxy speaker enclosures. But while flat TVs have increased in-wall speakers' popularity, many customers with an audiophile bent still balk at in-walls as a solution. Consumers look at the juxtaposition of new video technologies and old-fashioned speakers and ask: Why can't a surround system be as elegant and space-saving as a plasma display panel or an LCD TV? For almost seven years, NXT, an outgrowth of Mission, the British loudspeaker maker, has been promising an answer. For those not