By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Audio/video accessories come in many shapes and sizes, a variety of suggested retails and take on a myriad of tasks — ranging from audio and video home theater linkage to game platform solutions and digital-device technology — that tie in with both audio and video products and computers.
While cables and connectors drive this category's basic business, manufacturers are unveiling a number of new products for the spring selling season.
A cable specifically engineered for use with digital video equipment such as HDTV, DVD and digital home theater systems, Model AV92674, is new from Jasco Products.
Called the GE-brand Ultra Prograde, this component video cable offers materials and construction comparable to high-end cables retailing for up to $49.99, said the company. The AV92674 is positioned to profitably retail for under $20, according to the Oklahoma City-based Jasco.
Jasco's entire lineup of Ultra Prograde cables provides oxygen-free copper construction for optimal signal transfer and precision engineered 24-karat gold connectors for maximum conductivity. Connectors are double shielded to protect against EMI and RFI, and are color coded to match the components input jack for ease of hook-up.
Vibrant color balance, rich details and reduced distortion are provided with component video cables from Acoustic Research (AR), a Recoton company based in Lake Mary, Fla. Utilizing AR's FNT technology, the cables give advanced protection against noise and interference.
Cables offer frequency-corrected, silver-coated, solid pure oxygen-free copper center conductors that deliver optimum high-frequency signal transfer. RCA connectors with 24-karat gold-plated split center pins allow superior fit and signal transfer.
Suggested retails are $89.99 for the MS 290 3-ft. cable, $109.99 for the MS 291 6-ft. cable and $139.99 for the MS 292 12-ft. cable.
A new series of RCA-brand high-performance hook-up connectors from Thomson Multimedia incorporate center pin technology that enables consumers to make coaxial and speaker connections without stripping, soldering or crimping tools. The new connector line includes F-connectors, in-line F connectors, RCA A/V connectors and speaker connectors.
Coaxial F-connectors provide improved base band and cable TV reception, as well as maximum signal transfer. Model DT60CF for RG6 has a suggested $7.49 retail.
Speaker connectors sized for 16-gauge speaker wire include Model DT90CWT, speaker wire pin connector, Model DT92CWB, speaker wire banana connector and Model DT94CWS, speaker wire spade connector. All speaker connectors have a $6.99 suggested retail.
One of the most exciting aspects of the A/V business is the constantly changing technologies, such as those found in compact digital cameras, DVD players and home game and satellite systems. And that doesn't even include the many audio and video components already in the home.
To connect all of these units together means a variety of wires, that, most of the time, end up looking like a plate of spaghetti that has fallen to the floor. To handle this mess, JVC Company of America is offering its JXS777 A/V Selector, what JVC calls a professional quality switcher designed for the average consumer.
The JXS777 offers 8 lines of inputs and 5 lines of outputs, and has a remote control. To handle today's high-end signals, the JXS777 will pass an HD signal, and has Y/C separation circuits to allow for the purest picture possible. The JXS777 also can handle two separate signal paths at the same time.
Featuring a suggested retail of $799, the A/V selector, from Wayne, N.J.-based JVC, offers consumers all the connections and functions they will need for ever expanding home A/V systems, said the company.
"With the growing popularity of items like digital video cameras and DVD players — all of which are designed for high-speed connections — consumers are looking for faster connectivity between their high-tech devices," said Jim Beile, senior product manager for power protection at Fellowes.
"Products with high-speed USB 2.0 technology are the next 'must-have' options for anyone using PCs and PC-compatible products. Fellowes high-speed USB 2.0 line is designed to give consumers the speed they need and the ease of use they want," continued Beile.
New from the Itasca, Ill.-based Fellowes is the 4-Port Swivel Hub USB 2.0, Model 99462.
Styled in gray and graphite, the 4-port Swivel Hub adds four ports to a workstation and provides support for up to 127 devices. Its design reduces desktop clutter to and from a user's PC, by allowing each port to swivel 180 degrees.
The port's three-speed option allows a computer to choose the right speed necessary for the best transmission, up to 480MBps, making it ideal for transmitting data from cameras, scanners, printers and mass storage devices, said Fellowes.
The Swivel Hub does not need software to operate and is certified and listed with the USB Implementers Forum. It is backward compatible to 1.1 and compatible with all USB devices. It works with Macintosh, Windows 98, 2000, ME and XP. The Hub, which includes an AC power adapter and a 6-ft. AB cable, has a suggested $69 retail.
The latest cable to ship from Monster Cable Products is the company's new interconnect cable designed especially for a powered subwoofer, called MS Series Bass 1000 (MSB1000sw).
Monster's MSB1000sw maximizes subwoofer performance and reduces noise. It features three conductors tightly twisted in a helical configuration, which greatly reduces sensitivity to magnetic noise sources like power transformers and power cords.
Unlike ordinary audio interconnects that use only foil shielding, the MSB1000sw features high-density double shielding for maximum rejection of high- and low-frequency interference, even over long runs.
A subwoofer can be placed in a faraway corner of a room without worry about noise generation. Balanced conductors deliver wider dynamic range and more natural music reproduction.
MSB1000sw is terminated with patented 24-karat gold contact RCA Turbine connectors for an airtight fit, optimum signal transfer and corrosion resistance, according to the Brisbane, Calif.-based Monster.
Suggested retails range from $150 to $250, according to length of the cable.
Sony is offering an "intelligent" automated switcher, Model SBV55A, which adds flexibility to a user's system by including an automatic input select function that provides a "simple, organized solution" to manual selection.
The Auto Switcher, from Park Ridge, N.J.-based Sony, features four dedicated inputs, which help provide total and dynamic system control. The four inputs include 3 S-Video (Y/C) and 1 Front Terminal with S-Video. It also has 1 Output with A-Video.
Features include automatic input selection function, automatic power on/off, LED indicator, automatic input video signal transform function that virtually eliminates cable hassles, S-Video (Y/C) connections, composite video connections and AC power adapter.
Suggested retail is $79.99.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.