July 2005 Issue


Feed Your Head

Dealer education and strategic goal-setting take on a cosmic bent at SpeakerCraft By Janet Pinkerton The dormouse in Alice in Wonderland never said it—no matter what Grace Slick sang—but "feed your head" might as well be a SpeakerCraft maxim. No, SpeakerCraft isn't endorsing hallucinogens. Rather, the loudspeaker manufacturer is attending to its dealers' mental focus and drive as individuals, and their goals and strategies as companies. "Our whole spin on the world is that everybody has to be imparting knowledge to somebody, or else the world stays the same," says SpeakerCraft President Jeremy Burkhardt. SpeakerCraft's annual dealer meeting, the Global Intellectual Gathering (GIG), is

InfoComm Courts Residential Installers

At this year's show, the lines between the commercial and consumer A/V markets continued to blur By Grant Clauser Commercial is going residential; residential is going commercial. The line between the two is becoming less well-defined as display and distribution systems for both markets begin to look more alike than not. That blending of technologies and markets (as well as installers) was a common theme at this year's InfoComm Expo, held by the International Communications Industries Association (ICIA) in Las Vegas last month. Both attendance and exhibitor numbers were up this year, with more than 25,000 attendees and 725 exhibitors. Tech Trends Industry watchers

Inventory Insights

Jeannette Howe is national membership manager for the Home Entertainment Source (HES) buying group. What is HES doing to help its membership cope with inventory management issues? Our group has taken on the whole issue in a way no one else has. With our Expert Warehouse Program, which began in October 2003, we are buying for our dealers to get inventory they couldn't otherwise get for themselves due to allocation issues. For example, I was talking to one dealer who, in calendar 2003, did $250,000 with a manufacturer, and they were told by that manufacturer that they were now number 1,911 on their allocation

Inventory Insights

Roy Martin is product manager at GERS Retail Systems, a provider of inventory software solutions whose CE retail/installer client roster includes Harvey Electronics, Abt Electronics, Bernie's, and Sony Style. Do inventory management issues differ considerably between larger CE retailers and those smaller CE dealers who are now hybrid custom installers? Yes. One thing really strikes me as a big difference. When you're an installer, keeping track of all the little bits and pieces is a challenge. For example, when you're putting in stereo speakers, you have to take into account the clips that hold the wire against the wall. How do you track that?

Panasonic Viera TH-42PX25U/P Plasma TV

By Ron Goldberg Back at WCES around 10 years ago, a tiny New York-based research company called "Plasmaco" exhibited one of the first plasma monitors in the United States. We in the press looked on in amazement at the color and clarity offered by this small (perhaps 15-inch) monitor, and predicted big things for the company. Big was right—within months, Matsushita had acquired Plasmaco, and the Panasonic brand immediately became a player in plasma display technology. The company's latest line is the Viera series; the TH-42PX25U/P is the 42-inch model. DESCRIPTION Stylishly presented in a curved metallic base supporting a black bezel, the Viera

Power Wash

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

Stocking Stuff

Industry veterans weigh in on the lifeblood of C-tailing: managing inventory By Nancy Klosek Ah, the way things used to be. In the salad days of brick-and-mortar consumer electronics retailing, inventory management was a matter as simple as stocking a kitchen cupboard with the fixings for a pound cake. Keeping track of the four or five major ingredients you knew you'd always need was a cinch, and the quantities didn't vary much. Replenishing the shelves in 2005, however, is a bit more complicated. Even for Betty Crocker, whose ready-mix cakes have splintered into a dozen niche permutations, the larder has become a microcosm of

The Wide World of Wheels

New products and new technologies are creating big opportunities for mobile installers By Brett Solomon The aftermarket for in-vehicle entertainment and other applications is exploding, even as automakers set up their OEM efforts. This month, we take a look at some hot products and applications in the four major segments of the in-vehicle market: audio, navigation, video and security. Video Front-seat mobile video products are becoming big sellers as price points drop. As much as these systems have been in the news recently because of cases involving driver distraction, consumers are still demanding the technology for the front of the vehicle, and why not?

Working with Architects

Integrating with the masters of the house By Janet Pinkerton Cruise the online portfolios of award-winning architects and you'll find residential designs that look jarringly unlike the prize-winning home theaters or media rooms found in CEDIA circles. These residential designs often feature soaring, clean lines, huge windows that bring the outside in, massive stone fireplaces, a complete lack of visual clutter and a myriad of acoustically brutal surfaces. You might see a lone plasma display starkly placed over a mantle, with nary a speaker in sight. It makes you wonder how people who live in these houses watch movies with all that ambient light