August 2005 Issue


An alternative to PC-centric whole-house content sharing

By Nancy Klosek While some companies are busy plotting product strategies that center on building upward and outward from the Media Center platform, other solutions are being presented in the market that take different paths: a structured-cabling path, for one. LE&AP (the Leviton Entertainment & Applications Platform) is the result of a collaboration between well-known custom industry brand Leviton and Dedicated Devices, Inc. (DDi), a digital networking enterprise founded two years ago by former Micron Electronics executives. Characterized by Leviton as an "entertainment server that bridges computers and consumer electronics in the home," LE&AP is designed to take advantage of homes' existing structured-cabling

Clean Cash

Promising quick installations and easy profits, the central vacuum industry looks to custom dealers to get its systems into American homes By Joe Paone Central vacuum, as a product category, has a big consumer awareness problem in this country. Ask the average man or woman on the street about vacuuming, and they'll likely talk about the vacuum cleaners with which we all grew up—bulky machines that you plug into an outlet and walk around a room, machines to which the central vacuum industry refers as "portables." These consumers will ooh and ahh over the latest nationally advertised high-tech products from Oreck and Dyson, or

Eyes on the Prize

InFocus is determined to lead front projection into the home entertainment mainstream—but it still has C-tailers' backs By Joe Paone InFocus, long a well-known leader in front projection in the business world, has been knocking on the door of the home entertainment market for almost four years now with its ScreenPlay products. While it's had some significant success placing its front projectors into American homes, it's still largely a TV world. Front projection remains a niche product, but it's a fast-growing niche in InFocus' view. "Every year, we've seen substantial adoption changes with regard to these projectors," says Jim Davis, senior director of consumer

Hey, You Kids, Get Out of My Car!

Geoconferencing systems play dual roles of cop and babysitter By Brett Solomon Imagine a customer pulling in front of your installation bay with a brand new sports car, dealer tags still freshly screwed into the plastic bodywork. Now imagine a nice score for a mobile electronics dealer: the owner says the dealership suggested purchasing a LoJack security system, but the owner did not think the cellular radio-based tracking device was the best thing the market had to offer. Your sale is made—as long as you're carrying some of the aftermarket GPS-based tracking products in which all specialty mobile electronics dealers should be well-versed.

Jordi Verite's Homevision

A 10,000-square-foot Miami showroom serves as the springboard for a growing international home automation business By Joe Paone Many C-tailers and custom installers operate boutique showrooms and home theater demo rooms. Some operate strictly on referrals. Not many operate a gigantic 10,000-square-foot home automation and design showroom like Homevision does. Situated in North Miami Beach, Fla., Homevision opened its doors in May, billing itself as "the world's largest and most unique showroom of technology and design." The facility is the brainchild of Jordi Verite, founder of Verite Distributors Group, which for 21 years has distributed consumer electronics throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. On

Media Center Friend or Foe?

Are C-tailers and Microsoft's platform hitting it off, or does the relationship need more time to flower? By Nancy Klosek These days, practicality must often eclipse passion when it comes to the decision-making of specialty/custom entrepreneurs. Though their involvement in the A/V business may be rooted in love for music, it is money, stability and continuity that have, of necessity, become the drivers. Such are the reasons behind C-tailers' budding relationship with the Windows XP Media Center platform, which parent Microsoft and its licensees have begun promoting among specialty installers and retailers. The Media Center initiative has been afforded the hard sell in

Sell the Whole Experience

It's time to get back to the classic home theater demonstration By Steve Caldero Recently, my doctor—your average guy interested in upgrading his home theater—related to me his experience at a local big box retailer. "I had a really bad experience trying to purchase a 50-inch EDTV plasma," he said. "There's no such thing," I told him. "You can buy a 42-inch EDTV plasma, but not a 50-inch." "Yeah," he replied. "I found that out, so they made me buy HD." His borderline bitterness astounded me. He was unhappy about having to purchase the highest-quality display on the market. Since money is no object

There's a New Source in Town

Satellite radio is gearing up for the home user. Here's what you need to know to keep your clients happy. By Chris Legrange Every emerging market needs to start somewhere. Satellite radio companies began their marketing blitzkrieg by targeting the 220 million cars cruising U.S. highways and byways. As a new consumer trend, satellite radio was an easy sell because it offered a refreshing alternative to the stale AM/FM airwaves, with their hit-or-miss local programming and five-minute blocks of commercials. No longer did the average Joe or Jane have to miss out on regional sports broadcasts when outside his or her metropolitan area. Now,

Total Video Immersion

UHDV is in the labs right now, and 1080p - literally - isn't the half of it By Cliff Roth Move over, high-def: there's a new kid on the block. Just when you were beginning to think the public was finally catching on to the nuances of high-definition television, along comes something even better: ultra high-definition. Though not a commercial reality yet, this new super high-resolution video format does offer a taste of things to come. At the same time, it has the potential to add yet another layer to the mess of consumer confusion that surrounds advanced TV technology. Linguistically, it was inevitable,

UHDV and 4K Projectors

By Cliff Roth With almost identical resolution to the new UHDV format, the best 4K projectors used in digital cinema movie theaters for digital projection of popular films have offered a somewhat similar experience for over a year. Sony's SRX-R110, for example, was introduced in 2004 and features 10,000 ANSI lumens brightness and 4096 x 2160 resolution. It's recommended for screens up to 40 feet wide. So what's the difference between UHDV and 4K? Technically, on the display side, there may not be much distinction. In terms of how these technologies will be deployed, however, there are big differences. 4K is considered a strictly