By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sales of home antennas are getting a sharp boost from healthy businesses in both satellite dishes and digital televisions, antenna makers agreed.
"Consumers used to receiving their television signals through cable are switching to satellite and digital TV," said Mark Schaffner, marketing manager at Deptford, N.J.-based Thomson Multimedia. Schaffner — who said strong sales in satellites and digital television have boosted sales of RCA-brand antennas this year — feels consumers "now are embracing the terrestrial antenna.
"And they are discovering these new products are better than just silver 'rabbit ears,' continued Schaffner. "The new designs are unique and attractive, making antennas an acceptable solution for both indoor and outdoor television reception."
A good mover from Thomson is the RCA ANT 1020, a passive antenna designed to resemble the steady snail. The unit, which receives VHF/UHF/ FM signals and comes with 39-inch adjustable VHF dipoles, includes a UHF loop, integrated hook-up cable, screw-on "F" connectors and no-scuff pad to protect cabinet finishes. The unit, at a suggested $14.95 retail, receives digital and HDTV signals, and comes with a one-year warranty. Terk Technologies, which currently is shipping new multi-satellite products to serve high-end retailers, is finding the high-definition and digital broadcast satellite business "one of tremendous growth," said Greg Keys, VP of sales.
"We are finding more opportunity within that. Besides offering multi-satellite products, sales of our TV42 local-to-local clip-on antenna have never been better. With this product, we are providing retailers with a simple easy-to-install antenna that serves the local needs of every satellite customer," said Keys.
Terk's TV42 outdoors clip-on antenna is a supplement to a digital satellite system, pulling in local to local signals. These are quick and simple to install, said Commack, N.Y.-based Terk, and require no extra wiring or special tools. Units have built-in diplexers to combine local antenna and satellite signals, so neither requires extra wiring from the dish to the home. Each incorporates highly tuned, efficient receiving elements that allow for superior reception of local programming not picked up by DSS systems, said Terk.
The TV42, made for use with dual LNB dishes, offers a built-in amplifier that ensures there is no signal loss from the point of capture to the TV source. Suggested retail is $79.95.
The home antenna continues to be an important growth category for Jensen and its retail customers, said Eddie Oliver, senior product manager at the Lake Mary, Fla.-based Recoton company. "Add-on antenna sales to increasingly popular satellite systems and digital televisions significantly increase retailers' per-ticket gross margin," said Oliver.
"Consumer dissatisfaction with continued increases in cable subscription costs have also helped maintain the growth of the home antenna category," said Oliver. "With more consumers using their home theater system as their primary form of entertainment and news, we see additional home antenna purchases to ensure a non-interruption of signal."
The company's new designs and technologies for home antennas are best seen in its TV940 VHF/UHF model. Said to be the industry's only remote control programmable indoor antenna, the unit offers 44-inch VHF dipoles and low-profile UHF antenna elements, each of which adjusts independently by remote control.
A programmable memory function on the remote control makes it possible to lock in and easily recall the best antenna positions for all channels. An LED window shows which channel's position is being recalled. The TV940 includes a built-in A/B switch that easily alternates between TV and video games, cable or satellite systems. Suggested retail is $99.99.
"With the consistent growth in satellite and digital television, off-air antennas continue to be an essential part of any product mix," said Ken Goodrich, product manager at Oklahoma City-based Jasco Products. "Both our Omni and Futura amplified antennas couple outstanding performance with unique designs at very competitive price points. This, in conjunction with the GE brand, positions these antennas as a great value for both retailer and consumer," said Goodrich.
Jasco's new GE-brand Futura Amplified TV Antenna, TV94725, is UHF/VHF/FM amplified and connects to any television. It also can be used with mini dish satellite systems and is digital compatible. The unit, said to be exclusively designed to offer a unique look in the home, includes a UL-listed AC adapter and an amplifier that incorporates adjustable gain control up to 20db for clear reception on each channel. Suggested retail is $24.99.
The Jasco GE-brand Omni, TV94727, also with a unique design, said Jasco, has 39-inch retractable black dipoles and an UHF loop that rotates 360 degrees with full-tilt capabilities. It is UHF/VHF/FM amplified, connects to any television and also is perfect for use with mini dish satellite systems and is digital compatible.
At a suggested $26.99, the Omni includes a UL-listed adapter and the amplifier incorporates adjustable gain control up to 20db.
New for 2002 from Clifton, N.J.-basedGemini Industries is an HDTV-capable series of antennas call Signal Choice. The series, which provides the reliability and convenience of a dedicated reception center, is capable of providing primary or secondary access to local broadcasts. Signal Choice is being provided in both the Philips/Magnavox- and Zenith-branded accessories lineup, with packaging that offers information that prompts consumers about the appropriate antenna choice for their particular broadcast conditions.
Each model has antennas that receive digital signals, offers a 75ohm connector, allows a consumer's satellite system to receive local programming, has FM radio capability and includes a detachable RG179 coax cable that is thinner and more pliable than most traditional coax cables.
The Signal Choice model lineup includes both passive and active designs, with up to 45db of active signal amplification. The Zenith-brand Silver Sensor model incorporates "log periodic" design principles to deliver an even response across the whole of the UHF frequency range. The Digital EM UHF Yagi is designed with a cylindrical parabolic reflector, which focuses reception and provides integrated multi-path rejection.
Other model-specific features in Gemini's Signal Choice antenna lineup include built-in analog clock, separate fine-tuning elements and a built-in A/B switch to allow users to switch between antenna reception or a different video source such as VCR, DVR or video game, without the need to change any connections.
Suggested retails are $24.99 for a Philips Magnavox VHF/UHF/FM indoor antenna, model SCP040. This comes with a built-in clock and availability is January 2002. An HDTV specialized Yagi outdoor antenna has a suggested retail of $150 and will be available January 2002 or sooner. A Zenith HDTV indoor Silver Sensor antenna, ATS810, has a $35 suggested retail and availability of January 2002 or sooner.
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