Archive for May, 2008

Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – May 30, 2008: DON’T JUMP AT EVERY WEBSITE OPPORTUNITY.

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Because of our high visibility, we get frequent offers from various companies out there who want to cash in on what we have.

One such offer came in about a month ago from a very high profile website that lets a reader get comparison prices listed on a particular item mentioned. So, for example, if we reviewed a certain speaker, a reader could click the menu at the bottom of the review and see who sells it, and what the lowest price is out there. They sent us a contract and asked us to sign it, thinking that because they are so prominent, we would jump at the chance to be associated with them.

Wrong.

We showed our attorney the contract, and she said it restricted us from doing certain things but did not restrict them in any similar way. Also, there were line items on the contract that were irrelevant to our A/V focus. Lastly, we did not want to make any income from actual sale of a product, because that is a huge conflict of interest with reviewing the product objectively. We would make income only from click throughs to the various companies who sell the product, whether or not the reader bought anything. If a reader was interested in the product we reviewed (obviously based on a favorable review) he could check out the prices at several stores, and we would get paid for the fact he went from our website to the stores, but we would not make any commission on any sales.

So, she modified the contract, and we sent it back to the company.

They were shocked. They said no one had ever requested so many changes. Others had simply signed the contract. They could not understand why we refused income from actual sales to readers who went from our website to an Internet store and bought products that we reviewed.

So, around and around we went, until finally, they just dropped the whole thing. That’s amusing because we are certain they came to us in the first place as serious competition to their business model has started showing up on the Internet, and they want to sign up as many websites as possible before the others begin eating into their business.

The point is that, if you have a good website, others will want to share your success. You can make a fortune sharing your success with them, but it is not worth selling your credibility. Secondly, don’t just sign any contract that is part of that sharing. Read everything you are about to sign in fine detail. Request changes. If they don’t agree, then to hell with them. Wait for the good stuff. It will get to you sooner or later.

RTI Announces Distribution Agreement with Invision UK

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Control System Manufacturer Partners with Leading International Distributor to Service UK and Ireland

SHAKOPEE, Minn. — May 29, 2008 — Remote Technologies Inc. (RTI), the leading control systems manufacturer, has announced a distribution agreement with Invision UK, one of the UK’s leading trade-only distributors of groundbreaking home technology products. Catering to the high-end consumer electronics and home automation markets, Invision UK will serve as RTI’s exclusive international distributor in the UK and Ireland effective June 1st. (more…)

OmniMount Expands Low Profile Series to Include Fixed Mounts

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Entire Line of Impressive Low Profile Flat Panel Mounts Now Include Both Fixed and Tilt Versions

PHOENIX, Ariz. – May 29, 2008 – OmniMount, dedicated to being a one-stop shop for professional products, has expanded its Low Profile Series to include fixed versions of its award-winning low profile tilt mounts, ideal for applications where tilt functionality isn’t necessary. Appropriately named the Low Profile Series, this line features a remarkably slim mounting profile—only 1.5” off the wall in the fixed position—that ensures that flat panels blend seamlessly into any environment and collectively address every point and application in the market. The LPHDM-F, LPHDL-F, and LPHDX-F fixed mounts and the LPHDM-T, LPHDL-T, and LPHDX-T tilt mounts support flat panels from 26”- 42”, 40”-63” and 55”-75” respectively. (more…)

Daily Blog – Ross Jones – May 29, 2008: WAITING FOR THE ANALOG TV SHUTDOWN.

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

It’s less than a year until the oft-delayed analog TV shut-off takes place (264 days, if you’re keeping track). While that is a big deal to people still using rabbit ears, for the rest of us, not so much. Those with digital displays aren’t affected, and consumers who subscribe to satellite already have digital receivers, even if their televisions are analog-based. Cable customers with set-top boxes are good to go, and thanks to our federal government, even those who plug their cable directly from the wall to their TV will get a coupon for a free digital-to-analog converter.

The real question, for us cable subscribers (at least I am this week), is whether the nation-wide shutdown of analog stations will lead to a treasure trove of new, high definition channels. At least that’s what is being sold as one of the benefits of the digital transition, since theoretically analog stations take up much more bandwidth that even an HD channel (using advanced compression).

Call me a skeptic; I’ll believe it when I see it. If it does happen, it will benefit not only cable customers but will put more pressure on the satellite providers to increase their HD offerings. 264 days and counting.

AVAD Introduces Its “We Know What You Do” Customer Service Guarantee

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Latest Dealer Friendly Initiatives from AVAD Feature 30-Day Initial Failure Exchange and 90-Day “Good as New” Full Credit Return Privileges

Van Nuys, Calif. – May 28,2008 – AVAD LLC, America’s leading distributor of custom home electronics, continues to demonstrate its understanding of the needs of custom dealers with its “We Know What You Do” Customer Service Guarantee, which features a 30-day exchange for all initial failures and a 90-day “Good as New” full-credit return privileges. (more…)

MilesTek Introduces Broad Series of IP Cameras Ideal for Security and Surveillance

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Over 12 CMOS-Based Cameras Provide Powerful, Economical Solutions in Wired, Ethernet and Wireless Versions; Ideal for Businesses and Homes

INFOCOMM ’08, LAS VEGAS, May 28, 2008 — MilesTek, a global distributor delivering a vast range of networking and A/V integration products, introduces a series of more than 12 technologically advanced IP Cameras at INFOCOMM International 2008, the annual convention of the International Communications Industries Association, beginning here next month. (more…)

Liberty Wire & Cable Launches Green Connectivity Initiative for A/V Products, Pros

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Eco-Savvy Policies Include RoHS-Compliant and Halogen-Free Cables, Lutron Products, Energy Audits, Low-Carbon Footprints, A/V Client Benefits, More

INFOCOMM ’08, LAS VEGAS, May 28, 2008 — Liberty Wire & Cable, worldwide supplier of a broad range of wire and cable products for the audio/video trade, including custom installers and systems integrators, has announced a major Green Connectivity initiative that embraces environmentally sensitive and responsible corporate citizenship in both the A/V products the company manufactures, as well as the way it conducts business and operates its facilities. (more…)

Daily Blog – Brian Florian – May 28th, 2008: BLU-SOMETHING-OR-OTHER

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

I was at a certain video rental store the other day and overheard a gentleman ask the clerk, “Will these Blu-ray things play in my DVD player?”

Before you accuse that innocent bystander of being a neophyte, it gets better:  the clerk actually said, with abject uncertainty, “Um . . . I don’t think so…”

Sad, really.

Now we could point a finger at the chain store head office for not making sure their employees are versed in what should be the basics of their trade, but the bottom line is that, by and large, many consumers really still have no idea what Blu-ray is.

Makes you wonder what all the format-fighting was really about.

Come on Sony: are you just going to sit there and watch your “winning” format spin its wheels into oblivion, or are you going to get off your duff and actually nurture the thing?  If there is one thing the past 20 years have taught us, its that Hi-Def-anything doesn’t exactly sell itself.

History has also taught us something about Sony-backed formats . . . but here’s hoping.

Daily Blog – Piero Gabucci – May 24th, 2008: Denon Line Show Report

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

DENON Line Show, May 20th, 2008

 

 

At the Laguna Cliffs Resort, Dana Point, Ca, Denon introduced not less than 10 new receivers, a new Blu-Ray player some noise cancellation headphones and once again showed their very cool new 2-channel stuff already selling (well I might add) in Europe.

The new receivers offer an abundance of new features including HDMI 1.3a, deep color at all levels, and their continued Audyssey partnership with the new Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume. Dynamic EQ is based on the principle that as you lower the volume, dynamic range is lost especially in bass. This “loudness” feature allows you to hear more at lower playback levels and since most of us don’t listen at reference levels anyway, this might be a great feature.

Dynamic Volume is more about balancing out the immediate changes in volume typically apparent watching TV and commercials, for example. Movies that you strain to hear dialogue and turn down when the explosions happen no longer present a problem with 3 settings from low to high as the feature prevents you from leaping for the remote.

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The AVR-2809CI

 

Joining the current line, the new receivers include: the AVR-2809CI (custom installer) at $1,199 and the non-CI version (which essentially removes the RS-232) AVR-989, the AVR-2309 at $849/AVR-889 at $799, the AVR-1909 at $649/AVR-789 at $599, the AVR-1709 at $449/AVR-689 at $399 and finally the AVR-1609 at $349/AVR-589 at $299.

The prized pieces are still the separates, the AVP-A1HDCI and POA-A1HDCI combination is selling so well that they are backordered leaving JJ chomping at the bit for his, ordered some time ago.  True balanced digital and analogue from source to speakers Denon boasts it’s the only one of its kind. I won’t bother to give you the features but you can assume anything a home entertainment core-unit (can’t just call it a receiver anymore) this thing has it at $7,000 MSRP each.

The new Blu-ray player is the DVD-1800BD at $749 and should be out by October. Offering bitstream output of Dolby and DTS-HD and 1080p scaling from SD material, it should sound pretty good too as it inherits the DVD-2930 2-channel performance.  Look for more units by the end of the year including a flagship unit.

And the most groping was done at the 2-channel table where Denon reminds you of its roots and its continued commitment to “true reproduction” with the CX Series Reference components. Beautifully styled in solid aluminum the DRA-CX3 receiver and DCD-CX3 SACD/CD player (both at $1,200) emulates the styling of the previous S-Series.

Notably the footprint is LP-sized at 12” x 12” and around 2” high, but don’t let it’s modest size fool you, it packs 75 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 150 into 4, and if you’re into vinyl these days a phono section for both MM and MC cartridges.   The mahogany ring round the volume control sure adds to the dignified look.

Add the beautifully styled, solidly built monitor speakers, the SC-CX303 (also $1,200 for the pair) a complete audiophile grade system from Denon.

 dracx3sp_dcdcx3sp_e2_ot_03.jpg

 

 

Some extremely comfortable 95% noise cancellation headphones, the AH-NC732 will surely give Bose a run for their money at $299. Add in Denon’s 40 mm driver, extended battery life from a single AAA battery (around 40 hours), iPhone compatible, and folding into a neat carrying case coolness.

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Daily Blog – Sumit Chawla – May 23, 2008: A NEW HD DVD UPDATE DISC 3.0 FROM TOSHIBA.

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Last week I was surprised to find a firmware update CD in my mailbox from Toshiba.  This firmware was for their for their first generation HD DVD hardware platform and was said to address handshake issues with some display devices and improve playback of some titles.

I have hung on to my HD-A1 and it still gets an occasional spin.  The player’s firmware has gone through several updates since I first bought it, and it will receive this update at some point.  Yes, I wish that none of this was necessary and that the platform was stable from the very beginning, but  . . . still, kudos to Toshiba for bowing out respectfully and continuing to support their customers, mostly early adopters, who invested in HD DVD, a format that is now gone.

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