By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Monster Cable announced the company's first two IR-controlled power-conditioning products and two new wireless iPod accessories.
Head Monster Noel Lee, in town for last week's Consumer Electronic Association's (CEA) CES Preview event, also shared details of the company's continued efforts to combat confusion by consumers and retail salespeople over high-definition home entertainment, including an upcoming joint effort with Disney.
Aimed at the custom installation channel, Monster's new Empowered line of power conditioners feature integrated IR remote signal distribution to allow control of units in racks behind closed doors, a first for the company. The base unit features power filtering and surge protection while included IR emitter cables allow remote control of up to six components.
The EPIR 2450, available now, has seven surge-protected AC outlets with sequential turn-on at a protection rating of 6,420 joules. It features four out and two in IR control connections and carries a $350,000 connected equipment warranty. It has a suggested retail of $499.
The EPIR 3650, available in late December, has 10 AC outlets and a protection rating up to 6,960 joules. It has six out and two in IR connections as well as DC-in and DC-out triggers. It will retail for $599 and carries a $500,000 connected equipment warranty.
Both models also have coaxial, phone and network connections, digital voltage and amperage meters and Monster's proprietary T2 and Tri-mode protection circuitry with an audible alarm.
For the iPod, Monster unveiled two wireless transmitters, one for the car and one for the home, that also work with the iPhone.
The iCarPlay 250 wireless FM transmitter is engineered to reject TDMA noise, traditionally the biggest performance issue with FM transmitters and the iPhone. It also features Monster's AutoScan 3D technology that automatically scans the FM spectrum three times to find the clearest available frequency. Additional features include three programmable station presets, line-level audio output for more dynamic sound and less distortion, automatically adjusting power output on individual frequencies for maximum signal strength and an LCD display. It also acts as a charger. It will retail for $99 and ships in December.
For home iPod listening, the iSoniCast audio bridge is a two-piece 2.4GHz wireless transmitter and base station that links the iPod with a home stereo system. Intelligent frequency-hopping minimizes interference while 4Mbps streaming eliminates compression artifacts, the company said. Playback control is from the iPod. It ships with a 2-meter mini-to-RCA cable. It will also retail for $99.
Monster is also stepping up its consumer education efforts through retail initiatives, including a DVD giveaway in cooperation with Disney, and an increased online presence.
The DVD, "The Higher Definition Home Theater Experience," is an educational presentation featuring content from Disney films as well as segments on HD specifics by CEA president/CEO Gary Shapiro and executives from the HDMI consortium and Simplay Labs, among others. It will be given away through retailers and a Blu-ray Disc version is expected in December.
Monster is also contributing content to the HDMIinfo.org Web site, launching a Monster HDMI education center on its own site and publishing a book by "the Simple Tech Guru" Barb Gonzalez titled "Home Theater Made Simple."
Said Lee: "According to the CEA, an astonishing 56 percent of consumers who own HDTVs never watch in high definition. Thirty percent are not even aware they're not watching in HD. And with sales of HDTVs expected to exceed 52 million by the end of 2007 (according to CEA), consumer confusion and dissatisfaction only stands to grow. Monster Cable is committed to educating consumers and demystifying the sometimes overly technical aspects of today's home theater."
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