August 2003 Issue


Aurant's DVD Marketing

One of the most difficult barriers to overcome in selling custom installation is the customer's unease with the post-sale process. It's easy enough to demonstrate hardware and software in a showroom, but these don't really convey what will actually happen, in and out of the consumer's home, from start to finish of the job. As a result, many, if not most, custom installation sales pitches end up based on photos of other installations, reinforced by less tangible selling points such as dealer reputation and positive word of mouth. Not that these are bad things to convey, but Salt Lake City-based integrator Aurant has taken

Correcting the Room

Acoustic correction circuits are home theater's missing piece By Mark Fleischmann The advent of high-definition television, the digitizing of surround sound and the steady rise of custom installation have all contributed to the ongoing improvement of the home theater experience. But the best may be yet to come. Using digital processing to correct a room's acoustic flaws may be the most important innovation of the next 10 years. As any good system designer or installer knows, the room — after good hearing and eyesight — is the most crucial of home theater system components. Rooms with poor acoustic properties suck energy

Elan University - Arrive Without Traveling

By Sean Downey With new gear rolling out as quickly as manufacturers can whip up a sales sheet, knowledge has become as important as inventory to the custom dealer. Like its physical counterpart, intellectual inventory is an investment, not only for the dealer, but for the manufacturer as well. With that in mind, Elan has created an online training forum called Elan University, which it hopes will be a solid investment both for itself and for its dealers. • According to Rick Gratz, Elan's director of technical and customer service, the goal of Elan University is to give authorized dealers across the country around

HDTV in Windows

Microsoft Goes Hi-Res By Grant Clauser You and the family have just settled in for an exciting high-definition movie. The THX intro rumbles the house, but just when things are ready to go, a silent message pops up on screen: "Windows has experienced a fatal error and must be shut down." If this scenario sounds bad, imagine it's not your house, but your client's, and in minutes he or she is on the phone with you, demanding you fix the fatal error. A bad horror movie, or reality TV? Even with all the attention HDTV over cable and satellite,

NHT Emerges Yet Again

Throughout the course of history, innumerable languages and cultures have been lost to us and forgotten, unable to survive in an environment where they were either co-opted by larger forces or simply ignored into oblivion. In the short history of home tech, there are many similar stories. Names like SAE, Apogee and Garrard are only a few immediate examples of innovative CE companies that for one reason or another did not stand the test of time. With so much competition in the loudspeaker business, Now Hear This, better known as NHT, might by all rights have been another such ad-dition to the dustbin of

PARA Knows Best

Sales Training that's a Phone Call Away By Natalie Hope McDonald Don't tell her the dog ate your homework, because Tracy Verrall, trainer for PARA's Get Clients NOW! program, won't believe it. This native Canadian is heading the phone-based seminar program designed to improve marketing and sales on a case-by-case basis. The goal belongs to PARA, the industry organization that set out to tackle what's been described as an underserved inside sales market. Based on C.J. Hayden's book by the same name, Get Clients NOW! is broken into several steps that involve teleconferences and independent work. According to Verrall, participants set

Pioneer Elite Pro-1000HD

By Joe Paone Pioneer's top-shelf Elite brand entry in the 50-inch plasma category is a sleek-looking "picture-frame" model that's low on unnecessary bells and whistles and high on quality. The Elite PureVision PRO-1000HD holds its own and then some against all competing panels. And you might be able to get a deal on this one; a new Elite model in this size could arrive as early as this fall. Weighing just over 100 pounds and measuring about four inches deep, the PRO-1000HD certainly possesses striking aesthetics. I'm not a huge fan of the black look, because I can imagine the shiny, glossy bezel being

Prismiq Media Player

By Steven Kramer You've done all the work installing your customer's media center, and down the hall sits a super fast computer attached to the Internet via broadband. There are gigabytes of songs, video, stills and links to favorite Internet radio stations, but they aren't connected to the A/V system and the customer wants to know why not. The PRISMIQ Media Center is designed to act as a simple, powerful and affordable PC-A/V bridge. The PRISMIQ set-top box sits within the home theater set up and connects to a home computer network via wireless or Ethernet connection. The accompanying Windows-compliant MediaManager software can detect

Site Specific

Making The Web Work For Your C-Business By Ron Goldberg Ask any 10 custom professionals if their company has a Web site, and odds are that you'll get 10 affirmatives. Now ask the same 10 what the purpose of their company's site is, and you might get 10 different answers. Nearly a decade since the commercialization of the World Wide Web changed the planet forever, many C-businesses are still struggling to understand how to use the medium to their best advantage. Custom is an industry based on the sale of technology, convenience and service. When properly deployed, the online environment can

Testing Structured Cable in the Residential Market

By Ed Constantine Many commercial system integrators and installers have taken advantage of the boom in residential custom work and begun to gravitate toward that market. They have brought with them expertise and discipline honed at the commercial level, but are now finding that conditions are quite different in the residential space. For example, not everyone knows that testing structured cable in the residential market is not a requirement, as it is for commercial installations. Most residential owners are simply concerned that the wires and jacks are in and the equipment works. Unfortunately, that's just not enough. Can those building owners now say for

The 2003 Excite Awards

Congratulations to the 2003 Excite Award Winners: AUDIO Audio Disc Player Denon DVD-9000 Krell SACD Standard Audio Server Marantz Opus AudioReQuest Tera Multichannel Processor Meridian 861 Lexicon MC-8 Multichannel Amplifier Elan D1200 Integra RDA-7 Multichannel Receiver Pioneer VSX-49txi Marantz 9300 Multi-Zone Controller Xantech MRC88 Russound CAV6.6 Multi-Zone Receiver B&K CT-610 Niles ZR-8630AV Floorstanding Speakers Tannoy Sensys DC-2 Legacy Whisper Bookshelf Speakers KEF Model 201 Paradigm Monitor 5 Mini Speakers Totem Dreamcatcher Pinnacle Quantum Subwoofer Velodyne CHT-10 SpeakerCraft BassX W-10 In-Wall Speaker Paradigm SA-35 Meridian DSP420 On-Wall Speaker Mirage OMNISAT Jamo A210PDD In-Ceiling Speaker Sonance Elipse 2.0 LCR Parasound C-70 Outdoor Speaker Boston Acoustics

The New Clifford Alarm System

By Brett Solomon As we all know, alarm systems have become increasingly difficult to install correctly on today's sophisticated vehicles. Multiplex technology, fac-tory transponder systems and tricky dashboard panels have left alarm installation only to the most well-trained installers. Of course, lesser-trained installers do wind up installing alarms, sometimes to the dismay of the customer, who may purchase an alarm that constantly falses or leaves the owner stranded. Custom Retailer checked in with the folks at Clifford to get the lowdown on the newly introduced G5 (Generation 5) systems. Since the company's acquisition by Directed Electronics, the goal has been to retain the sophistication

Totem Dreamcatcher Home Theater Speakers

By Ron Goldberg Even though home audio performance is scaling impressive new heights with SACD and DVD-A, pure sound quality is an increasingly difficult selling point for smaller loudspeakers. MP3 files now pass for hi-fi. Retail demos are conducted with crash/boom/bang surround movies. The market is being driven by designer-ish models that are often better seen than heard, and in-wall speakers that often sound as invisible as they look. In this rush to "lifestyle," products that raise an eyebrow on the actual listening front are getting harder and harder to come by, and genuinely audiophile-caliber, "music-first" speakers that are small and unassuming enough to

Zenith HDTV Personal Video Recorder

By Grant Clauser Zenith is the first manufacturer to introduce a HDTV-capable PVR with the new HDR230. It's an off-air ATSC high-definition television receiver, which means that it receives its HDTV programming for free via an antenna, and doesn't require a satellite dish or cable set-top box. Programs are recorded onto an 80-GB hard drive, which can store about nine hours of HDTV, or 27 hours of standard TV. This Zenith proves that HDTV doesn't have to be complicated. Without even consulting the manual, I had the HDR230 connected and comprehended in short order. You can select the output resolution (480i, 480p, 720p or