By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
D&H Distributing, a national IT and CE distributor based here, has developed a multiroom demo “home,” replete with a fully functional home entertainment network, that has begun making the trade show rounds.
The company's Digital House display features four walk-through rooms and incorporates a broad array of CE- and IT-based products and technologies from such D&H vendors as Archos, Belkin, Elite, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Linksys, Microsoft, Russound, SMC, Toshiba and ViewSonic.
The mock rooms include an office, a bedroom and two living rooms, with the latter spotlighting two home entertainment configurations — built around a rear-projection DLP TV and a projector-and-screen combination — that utilize different technologies and control zones.
Featured products include Archos' portable, pocket PVR device; Russound's distributed audio speakers; an Xbox gaming system; Panasonic IP network cameras; Linksys media extenders; an Intel Entertainment PC (ePC); HP's Digital Entertainment Center (DEC), which includes Media Center PCs and its 42W-inch plasma display; and a 52W-inch Toshiba DLP TV. The system runs on Microsoft's Windows XP MCE '05 operating system.
The Digital House is an outgrowth of D&H's “Connected Living Room” exhibit, the distributor's first home-networking trade display. That exhibit quickly expanded to encompass an office and multiple bedrooms replete with streaming audio and video distributed throughout the display. The display also supported D&H's Digital Convergence Road Show, an educational seminar series that played the trade show circuit last year.
“The latest advances in home entertainment technology were only hinted at in our first digital exhibit,” recalled Dan Schwab, the company's VP/marketing. “The ability to run all your devices on one operating system, to create individual management zones, to facilitate wireless connectivity — these capabilities mean that dealers can finally begin to capitalize on the market's maturity. Our exhibit, and our campaign to inform dealers, has exploded along with the technology.
“Our … objective is not just to demonstrate how IT and CE products work in tandem,” he said, “but to teach dealers, installers and resellers the best way to sell and deliver those solutions, regardless of the dealer's core competency.”
The current incarnation of the Digital House made its debut earlier this year at the spring 2005 Electronic House Expo (EHX) in Orlando. Due to an enthusiastic reception by attendees, the display is now slated to appear at the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations (APRO) Convention and Buying Show (August 8-11 in Las Vegas); D&H's own Digital Convergence Expo (Sept. 29 in Camp Hill, Pa.); EHX Fall 2005 (Nov. 7-11 in Anaheim, Calif.); plus D&H's annual Hershey, Pa., and West Coast computer shows.
In addition, at least two major manufacturers whose technologies are featured within the Digital House have asked to borrow the exhibit for inclusion in their booths at other trade events.
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