By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
INDIANAPOLIS — Klipsch will wire most of its speakers internally with Monster Cable wiring and the two companies will jointly promote the partnership in marketing materials, advertising, packaging and training programs. The partnership, unusual for an accessories company and an audio company, covers Klipsch home, pro, multimedia, and custom-install speakers. Klipsch's first Monster Cable-wired speakers are eight Reference series home speakers due in stores in June. Four existing Reference speakers will be upgraded with Monster Cable in time for fall sales.
INDIANAPOLIS — CEDIA has scheduled a Bonnie Raitt concert to replace the traditional banquet at the Electronic Lifestyles Awards ceremony held during its annual September Expo. Raitt will perform after the ceremony. The John Cleary band will perform before. Concert proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. During the Sept. 5-9 Expo, CEDIA will also host its first-ever Installer Olympics. Tests of skill and endurance will include: an amp toss, a video-calibration test whose winner gets an HDTV; a wire-fishing test; and a van load, in which contestants have to load as many boxes onto a van as possible.
NEW ORLEANS — Home automation company HAI has launched support programs for builders and dealers, offering volume discounts to builders who qualify and a marketing kit to help builders and dealers promote HAI home automation solutions in model homes. The marketing kit includes literature, fact sheets, and merchandising displays.
ATLANTA — Philips is focusing initially on selling its flagship multichannel-SACD/DVD-Video player through AVAD, the Association of Value Added Distributors, to reach boutique AV specialty stores best equipped to do quality demos, said TV/video marketing manager Marc Harmsen. Nonetheless, the company will add larger retailers as time goes on, he said. Already, the Good Guys has picked up the product in a limited number of stores, he noted.
WAYNE, N.J. — JVC has established a $499 suggested retail for its seven-disc DVD-Audio/Video player, available in June in gold or black. It will be preceded by May shipments of a $349-suggested-retail single-disc model that also plays MP3 CDs. It's also available in either color. An existing single-disc player launched late last year continues and has been retailed at $399. A $5,000-suggested-retail is also on the way.
SECAUCUS, N.J. — Panasonic's ShockWave extreme-sports promotion enters its fifth with a June 22-24 kickoff event in Venice Beach, Calif. The tour, which promotes ruggedized ShockWave headphone portables, features in-line skating, skateboard, mini scooter and BMX bike competitions, plus musical bands and amateur musician contests.
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. — For the first time, Crestron has prepackaged all of the components, except for speakers, needed for a multizone audio system. The six-zone Audio Six-Pack consists of the 12x60-watt CNAMPX amplifier, controller, audio distribution processor, keypads and network-distribution block. In another development, the company has developed software that lets consumers use the Philips Pronto remote and Marantz RC5000 touchscreen remotes.
WESTFORD, MASS. — Lansonic has developed an optional component that lets consumers automatically rip and encode music from discs stored in Sony CD megachangers and store them on the company's hard-drive audio servers.
The $395-suggested MusicLoader makes it unnecessary for consumers to use their home PC to individually rip and encode multiple CDs, said business development director Paul Salvo. It works with Sony CD megachangers because they're equipped with two-way data ports.
Once connected between a server and a changer, it lets consumers select the songs they want ripped, then transfers them automatically to the server.
Lansonic's three servers are priced at a suggested $1,590, $1,890 and $2,390 for 30GB, 60GB and 120GB models.
LAS VEGAS —iBiquity has reached its first agreements to license its terrestrial digital radio technology to the Harman Consumer Group and to Harris, the radio-transmission equipment maker.
Harris will integrate iBiquity's in-band on-channel (IBOC) technology for AM and FM transmission into IBOC transmitters and exciters planned for a 2002 NAB convention debut. Harman plans to incorporate digital reception in its 2003 Harman Kardon home-receiver line, iBiquity said.
An iBiquity spokeswoman said the FCC is expected in Q3 or Q4 to establish rules for the digital conversion.
LAKE MARY, FLA. — Acoustic Research plans June shipments of its newest home theater speaker package, the HC6, intended to retail for a tentative $699. The piano-lacquer five-satellite/powered-subwoofer system will replace the HC2.
The HC6 improves on the previous model by using a subwoofer that's cosmetically matched to the satellites and offering a horizontal center channel. The previous model used indoor/outdoor speakers as satellites.
The HC1 package remains through the end of the year at a retail range of $499-$599. It uses indoor/outdoor speakers.
MELVILLE, N.Y. — Joseph Audio has begun shipping its first on-wall speaker and first tower with sidefiring subwoofer. The company's first powered sub is due in the fall.
The on-wall RM7 retails for $1,899/pair. The RM33 narrow-profile tower with sidefiring passive subwoofer retails for $7,499/pair.
MINNEAPOLIS — Canton has begun shipping a new home theater speaker package that uses smaller speakers than the company's previous packages.
The system also establishes a new opening price point for the company's packages: a suggested $899, including powered subwoofer, compared to $1,150 for a system that remains in the line. Optional stands are available.
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.