San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Component audio struggled in 2009, weighed down by the worst recession in a generation and ongoing structural challenges, but suppliers expect a gradual turnaround in 2010 as the economy recovers.
Wall-hanging and pedestal-mount components are the key elements in a trio of home theater-oriented audio components that Sharp plans to unveil at CES.
All three feature vertically oriented components, universal SACD/DVD-A/V playback, and proprietary 1-bit digital amplification. They will be available in early 2004 to A/V specialists that want to combine them with other brand-speaker systems, including wall-hanging speakers, to create their own plasma-friendly HTiB systems.
Enhanced audio and video are the key drivers of new component-audio introductions here at International CES.
Here's a sample:
Anthem: The $4,699-suggested AVM50 preamp processor adds 1,080p up-scaling and video-format up-conversion to HDMI to its predecessor, the AVM30. It also had four HDMI inputs and Zone two component-video output.
Dealers looking for some audio-component action will find new speakers and electronics from the following companies:
Atlantic Technology: The IWCB-727 closed-box in-wall speaker is the first speaker of any type to get THX Select2 certification, which is more stringent than the previous THX Select performance standard. The speaker retails for $1,125 each, plus $75 for a separate grille/frame assembly.
Rotel came to the CEDIA Expo with its first two audio components that stream Internet radio and network with home PCs.
Both new Rotel products also control media on a connected iPod or other USB Class 2 device.
The company joined several other audio companies unveiling their first networked components, including Sherwood and NAD.
Dolby Digital EX receivers and preamps will turn up for the first time at CES, where other suppliers will unveil their first THX Ultra2-certified electronics and their first products equipped with DTS 96/24. Here's what dealers will find:
Component-audio suppliers will return to CES in January in a somewhat celebratory mood after the industry posts what is expected to be the first annual component-sales gain in almost a decade.
For the January-October 2004 period, factory-level component sales rose 38.1 percent to $1.05 billion, following eight consecutive years of decline, according to CEA statistics.