By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
A group of industry veterans banded together with an Asian factory in a joint venture that will market custom installation products direct to dealers via the Web.
The company, Conextion Systems, is starting with in-ceiling speakers due in January and will follow up later in the year with Conextion-branded electronics products, said sales and marketing VP Russ Swanson, who once worked for Infinity.
Other Conextion executives are marketing director Nancy Weiner, formerly with Atlantic Technology, industrial designer Doug Wright, and speaker designer Vance Dickason.
Conextion "is in partnership" with an Asian speaker and electronics manufacturer that sells on an OEM basis to companies marketing in the United States, Swanson said. The Asian company "is investing money in us" to tap directly into the U.S. market, he noted.
Marketing through the Web without independent reps or distributors will enable the company to "add features and value while keeping product pricing competitive," a company statement said. "Conextion Systems' proprietary products are both higher quality and less expensive within a given price category than any of its competitors," the statement added.
The company "will work with dealers on a sample basis" to get them to audition the products, Swanson noted. The company also auditioned the products at Electronic House Expo, where the company made its official debut in mid-November. It won't exhibit at CES. The company's Web site is www.conextionsystems.com.
Conextion's first products consist of six in-ceiling speakers and a series of outdoor speakers. The in-ceiling models are said to be designed from the ground up first for home theater applications and then for traditional distributed-audio use. Most in-ceiling speakers marketed for home theater use were designed first for distributed audio as background-music speakers "with little or no additional technological improvements to enhance their use in home theater applications or solve the acoustic problems of ceiling installations," the company claimed.
Conextion's in-ceiling models, in contrast, feature a woofer that angles up to 20 degrees and a tweeter that angles up to 50 degrees to extend slightly below the ceiling and point toward the listening area unobstructed by the speaker mounting frame. Competing models, the company said, feature woofers that angle up to 15 degrees and tweeters angling up to about 20 degrees.
The in-ceiling lines tops out at $600 each for a three-way with 8-inch woofer, and all models come with a frame that allows mounting without tools, even without a power screwdriver, the company said. The outdoor speakers feature integrated mounting bracket, lever-controlled angling mechanism to tilt the speaker up to 40 degrees, and end caps that hide prethreaded installation screws and speaker wire to improve theft resistance.
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