HES To Dealers: Embrace Home Technology

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Dallas - Home Entertainment Source (HES) is urging dealers to add home control to their repertoires to help offset margin declines in their core A/V businesses.


Executive VP Jim Ristow yesterday outlined a new model to members attending the group's 2010 Spring Summit, here, in which dealers become "integrators that do A/V specialty," rather than A/V specialists that provide limited integration services.

"That's where we can go to make money," he said. "Gaming, IP, IT, A/V -- only we can pull it all together."

Home control is one of several areas that members should pursue in this time of "hope and opportunity," he said, including 3D and rear- and front-projection TV, whose large picture and fast refresh rate provide a better 3D experience.

Other opportunities include video-on-demand, which he deemed a saleable feature in TV, as well as plasma displays and audio.

None of the options alone will provide a home run, Ristow said, although together they can provide "lots of singles" and important margin opportunities.

He added that those who adapt to the new marketplace realities by changing their business models will be rewarded for their resiliency and perseverance. "A whole new market is about to explode," he said. "The good-old days are gone -- you need to renew and reinvent."

In other HES news, Ristow reported that the group's Expert Warehouse instant-rebate portal became operational in January, and that about two-thirds of members are utilizing it. The online tool, which consolidates claims, reduces administrative costs and reduces average payment time from two to three months to 15 days, could recoup as much as $10 million in unclaimed funds if all 550 members participated, he said.

The annual HES meeting and buying show is running concurrently with its AVB parent group's BrandSource Spring Summit here at the Hilton Anatole Hotel through Tuesday. CEO Bob Lawrence, who will address the AVB rank and file in a general session this morning, told TWICE that the summits are enjoying "the best attendance ever," and reported that the Expert Warehouse distribution program is "rapidly approaching $1 billion in sales."


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