October 2007 Issue


Chantel’s Little Black Book

Editor’s Note: In August, Ira kicked off his new series of educational columns. This month, Ira focuses on the importance of building a Secrets List—an arsenal of strategies and tradespeople—that helps build consumers’ confidence in your ability to get the job done. Part 3: Why a Secrets List Is Important Talk at length with any good designer, and you’ll find she has a collection of “insider” tips and tricks. The stucco guy from Sicily. The drywaller who does touch-up work at the local art museum. Designers, because they are consultants and not tradesmen, must assemble a cadre of great resources in order to create their vision.

Chief MFC Mobile Cart

Chief’s MFC Mobile Cart is lightweight with a collapsible design that includes telescoping height adjustment and integrated cable management. It offers quick assembly and ClickConnect Technology to confirm the flat panel is in place and Centris Technology for fingertip tilt. With a weight capacity of 125 pounds, it is part of Chief’s mounting-solution range suitable for 30-to-50-inch flat panels. Other mounts in the line offer fixed-, tilt-, swing arm- and ceiling options. www.chiefmfg.com


The motorized flat-panel lift provider Lift-Tech has introduced the impending availability of a new swivel control system for its motorized lifts. The system, called the LT-200-5 Series, allows users to program three separate position pre-sets, and move them back and forth with the push of a button. The product also comes with a remote control, higher-resolution swivel position reading, and various other features. The LT-200-5 series will be released in December; no pricing information has yet been announced. For more information, visit www.televisionlifts.com

CustomRetailer’s 2007 Excite Awards

CustomRetailer magazine is pleased to grant our annual EXCITE Awards to the best products available to the industry this year. Each year CustomRetailer invites nominations of products that stand out for being innovative, high performing and solutions oriented for the custom installation professional. This year the winners were selected from the hundreds of nominations received and judged by the magazine’s editorial staff. All product categories relevant to the custom installation market were considered. This year’s winners stood out as particularly impressive, considering the unique challenges custom installers face every day. The impact these products have on the industry is felt in the installers’ productivity,

Distributors at the Fall 2007 CEDIA Expo

Dealer interest at the D&H booth was trained on the newest Seagate surveilliance-optimized products and on SlingBox, which is now available in a Mac version. Other product additions at D&H include WiLife’s home monitoring systems and the Antennas Direct line. Dealers here are looking for IT and networking products,” said D&H director of business development Lynn Gorecki of the clientele that frequented the company’s CEDIA booth. Rob Eby, the company’s director of purchasing, added: “Convergence till now has been a buzzword but I think we’re finally seeing it take place. Companies like Russound are now marketing media centers – and computer companies

Essence of Audio

Cool-running, ‘green,’ wireless, svelte, small-footprint, thin-bezeled, flange-free, uni-cabled, unobtrusive, stealthy, minimalist. Quite a packet of adjectives—but at least one or more applied to nearly everything audio at the Fall 2007 CEDIA Expo. The only “fat” things about the bevy of products unveiled in Denver last month were their performance levels and their potential for lifting profitability for both hybrid c-tailers and custom integrators soon to be faced in the fourth-quarter with a reprise of 2006’s flat-panel feeding frenzy. Chris Byrne, NHT managing director, whose company dedicated its booth acreage to showcasing the high-performance Pro Theater System founded on the brand’s Xd-based speakers and

Evolving Priorities

What happened to audio and video? I’ve been back from this year’s CEDIA EXPO for about a week now, enough time to go through my notes (sloppy) and piles of press kits and materials (heavy) to draw a few conclusions and questions on the trends evident from the show. What stuck out most to me there, and my study of the press materials and course/seminars confirms, is that audio and video seem to be taking a back seat to control and automation. Look back at a CEDIA show a few years ago and you’ll still see the biggest booths and biggest buzz around

Hit the Ground Running

As of this writing, I would bet that most of us are still winding down from the week spent in Denver attending CEDIA EXPO. The e-mails and work orders were stacked high on my desk when I returned and I am still buzzing over energy that EXPO generates! I am sure I’m not the only one who welcomes the change of venue to the blue skies of Colorado. Next year, let’s try to get outdoors more—perhaps some hiking and whitewater rafting? Reports show attendance figures exceeded 29,000—a 4 percent jump over EXPO 2006—and most attendees I’ve encountered shared positive feedback about the venue, Denver’s

If Your Customers Had A Million Dollars

If your potential customers had a million dollars, how many of them would spend it buying products and services from your business? Could you sell them a million dollars worth of stuff? Are you prepared to sell the better products and understand what it does for your customer? Ira Friedman in his July Essentials column talked about the success of Viking appliances and buying expensive, prestigious products. He makes some great points, but there is one point he did not discuss—Why do customers buy luxury goods? It is because it makes them feel GREAT. You can

Juggling Priorities

A “green” home-building project is never simple. Custom retailers and integrators seeking to become subcontractors on “green” homes need to be prepared for a higher-degree of collaborative planning and problem solving. For Jeffrey Fullerton, director of the architectural acoustics group at Acentech, an acoustics/vibration/technology consulting firm headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., “The biggest challenge is making sure we understand the goals of green design.” To paraphrase the Environmental Building News’ 2001 article, “Establishing Priorities with Green Building,” the priorities of a green building should be to: • Save energy (via high levels of insulation, high-performance windows, the use of renewable energy sources,

Phoenix Gold To Launch New Rock Speakers

Phoenix Gold, the producer of rock-based decorative speaker systems, said this week that it will introduce its latest line of speakers at an expo next month. The new speakers, sold as pairs, will be introduced at the Electronic House Fall Expo, scheduled for Nov. 7-9 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Available in either granite or sandstone finishes, the speakers will be offered at a suggested retail price of $129.99 per pair; no official release date has yet been announced. Phoenix Gold is a part of Rodin Audio, as are AudioSource and Carver.

Practice, Practice, Practire

It’s an old joke, but how do you get to Carnegie Hall? The answer—practice, practice, practice! You could ask the same question of CustomRetailer: How did it get to be a player on the best custom integrators’ and specialty retailers’ teams? The answer is pretty much the same, with a twist. Practice, practice, practice what you preach. By taking a page (or in this case, pages) out of our own book, CustomRetailer listened to the best in the business, our contributors, and put their wisdom to the test. Grant Clauser, our editorial director, applauds our readers for getting creative. It takes one to know one,

Project management by the numbers

Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time When I heard that CustomRetailer wanted me to focus on the topic of project management, I must admit a little smile crossed my lips. I couldn’t help but think of that old joke, “How do you eat an elephant…?” Project management is tough. Sometimes just approaching a big project feels like eating an elephant. Where do you begin? Will you ever finish? It can be overwhelming. Project management is also a subject that I’ve studied quite a bit. While I grew up through the ranks of sales and marketing, I