October 2006 Issue

 

A Long Way from Vinyl and Turntables

We have different personalities and styles, but we share a passion for serving our customers well. That’s quite likely why Jamiesons’ Audio/Video has been successful for so long and continues to thrive. David’s father and uncle opened a hi-fi shop in Toledo’s Old West End in 1954, selling amps, turntables, speakers and records. Now Jamiesons’ is a full-service A/V specialty retailer that offers not only products but also system design and installation. Our current location, the third for Jamiesons’, is in a strip center not far from a major shopping mall. Although the usual big-box stores are located nearby, we compete more directly with several


CEDIA EXPO 2006: The Buzz Wasn’t the Products

CEDIA EXPO 2006 has come and gone, and as with every show, we are all looking for The Buzz. What were the dealers talking about? What made them excited enough to tell their peers? I know you’re all eagerly anticipating my take on all of that, but hold your horses for a second.First, let me tell you about my winner for Best Retail Sales Story at CEDIA. Gordon Friend, a wonderful retailer executive who works out of the Metro New York market, relates the following conversation he overheard between one of his salespeople, Albert Chua, and a customer. The woman asked, “What is the difference between plasma


Control and Automation Roundup

Remote Technologies Inc.’s (RTI) T2C Universal System Controller ($799 MSRP, available fourth quarter) is its latest wireless controller. It sports a high-resolution color touchscreen and 35 hard buttons. Bi-directional ZigBee technology provides RF control. Using RTI’s Windows-based TheaterTouch Designer software, installers can develop a control tool based on the T2C for any size of home theater. www.rticorp.com Somfy Systems’ Sonesse Motor Range automates roller shades, roman shades and wood blinds with ultra-quiet precision. Available with built in Radio Technology Somfy (RTS), its near-silent motors can be integrated with many home automation systems. Simplified plug-in wiring makes installation easier. www.somfysystems.com Crestron’s Isys


How Many Automation Companies Do We Need?

If you walked the CEDIA EXPO floor, you found dozens of companies offering some form of home automation product. Some of these companies have been in business for less than two years. Others are newly formed. And, of course, there are the longtime stalwarts of the category. One wonders, however, how many more automation companies our industry can support. And why. Historical Parallels Look to the automotive industry and you’ll see some parallels. Remember Corbin? Mercer? Watrous? They’re a few of the 1,000-plus automobile companies that manufactured cars in the U.S. since 1900. Here’s the arc of product development. At first, a few brave companies invest in the


Inventory Control

One of the trickiest parts of running a custom business is managing inventory. Prices drop quickly as new technologies become more mainstream. If you buy too much inventory, you could be stuck with products that might have cost you just about what they’re worth to your customers today. On the other hand, if you run low on merchandise that may be tightly allocated by your suppliers, it can be just as costly. Given this ambiguity, what’s a C-business to do? Well, allow me to drop off your keys to inventory control. You must: Measure the performance of your inventory. Inventory turnover (turns) and Gross


Let’s Talk - Bruce Jacobs

The kids are back in school, football is in full swing, and the CEDIA show has come and gone—all signs that fall has arrived. Those of you who know me know I never, ever exaggerate, right? (OK, we’ll let that one go for now.) But really, it’s no exaggeration when I say that this is the most important fall C-tailing season ever. Reports are coming in from all corners of the industry about what we can expect for the holidays. Bigger, cheaper flat panels from bigger, better, more efficient factories. More, and simpler-to-install, networking, IP-addressable and Ethernet systems. Built-in speakers with sound quality that’s closer in


Let’s Talk - Joe Paone

I'm a born complainer. A cynic. A killjoy. A grouch. A long, long, long- suffering Philadelphia sports fan, for cryin’ out loud. So cut me some slack. But yeah, I’m a cranky one. Sometimes, though, I’m moved to get all warm and fuzzy about something, and last month was just that kind of time. Specifically: I was sincerely blown away by how enjoyable and convenient this year’s CEDIA EXPO venue, Denver, was. And judging from your comments, both during the show and in these pages, many of you felt the same way. Thanks to the free and frequent 16th Street Mall bus, I never had to hail a


Most EXC!TING Products

Crestron Adagio For an ever-growing number of manufacturers, service providers and installers—from Microsoft to Comcast to Sony to the tiniest C-business—the key to capturing the digital home network is getting a box into the media room. It’s the old Trojan Horse strategy. And with its Adagio home entertainment system, Crestron has provided its dealers with just such an opportunity. The venerable home automation vendor has long been known for the elaborate, feature-rich control systems its dealers lucratively and elaborately customize for wealthy clients. Adagio, however, allows the C-business to offer an “out-of-the-box” multi-room, multi-source audio distribution system to less affluent clients, or those who


Power Management Roundup

The Panamax MAX 7500-PRO improves picture and sound quality through its power filtration capabilities. Its 720VA isolation transformer provides power for digital source components or displays. AC regeneration through electromagnetic coupling between the primary and secondary windings of the transformer allows only clean, pure AC power to reach equipment. Noise generated by digital source components is isolated and prevented from reaching A/V components over power cords. www.panamax.com Tripp Lite’s HTRL15UPS Line-Interactive Digital UPS System ($349.95 MSRP) offers voltage regulation, surge suppression and battery support for home theater and media center components. Its rotatable LCD display indicates input voltage, battery capacity and


Speaker and Sub Roundup

Atlantic Technology’s IWCB (In-Wall Closed Box) line of architectural speakers features completely sealed enclosures for improved performance. The three models employ either 5.25-inch or 6.5-inch woofers, soft dome tweeters, and acoustic controls. The IWCB-525 (pictured) includes a second diaphragm, identical to that used in its woofer, that is mounted as a bass pressure driver for improved linearity and extended bass response. www.atlantictechnology.com Klipsch launched in-wall versions of its THX Ultra2-certified custom home theater system: the KL-7800-THX in-wall LCR ($1,000 MSRP) and KS-7800-THX in-wall surround ($750 MSRP). These models can create a complete THX Ultra2-certified in-wall system when installed with Klipsch’s KW-120-THX subwoofers and


The 2006 EXC!TE Awards

Custom Retailer’s annual EXC!TE Awards pay tribute to products that best exemplify the excitement and growth of the home electronics industry. Recipients are selected through consultation among our editors, contributors, selected retailers and industry observers, as well as through reader nominations received via e-mail and fax. The EXC!TE Awards honor products that are exceptional in terms of innovation, value, market presence or market impact. EXC!TE winners have distinguished themselves as the leading lights of the business. Most EXC!TING Products Winners in the Video Category Winners in the Audio Category Winners in the Control Category Winners in the Accessory Category


Video Roundup

LG’s 60PC1D is a 60-inch plasma HDTV ($5,899) that boasts a 7,000:1 contrast ratio, LG’s proprietary XD Engine upconversion technology, built-in ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuners and two HDMI inputs. www.lgusa.com Vidikron’s Vision Model 50 DLP projector (starts at $9,995) features 1,280 x 720 native resolution and CineWide with AutoScope technology for widescreen reproduction of movies originally filmed in CinemaScope 2.35:1, utilizing every pixel of available resolution and eliminating black bars. Vidikron’s V2 Aperture Control and electronically controlled iris system enhance contrast ratio and dynamic range. The precision optics system includes power zoom and focus controls, electronic lens shift and a generous operating throw distance range. Two