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Tivoli Taps Interior Design, Fashion Trends

New York —Tivoli Audio unveiled 13 new finishes for its NetWorks tabletop Internet radio to leverage furniture- and interior-design trends and position the product as an interior-design accessory.

All finishes — four in the Texture Collection, six in the Color Collection, and three in hand-laquered finishes created by Italian furniture designer Giulio Cappellini — will be available in 90 days. The company is also bringing the Cappellini finishes to its original Model One tabletop AM/FM mono radio.

While it broadens its visual appeal, the company is talking to U.S. buying groups to expand the number of brick-and-mortar stores that will commit to selling a broad selection of Tivoli’s premium tabletop and portable radios.

In the Color and Texture Collection finishes, the NetWorks Global Audio System will be available at the same prices as they are in their current finishes and configurations: $599 with built-in mono speaker, $649 with mono speaker and embedded FM radio, $699 for a stereo version with second speaker in a separate enclosure, and $749 for an FM/stereo version. The Cappellini-series models will be available only in FM/stereo versions at $999, a spokesperson said. The Cappellini-finish single-chassis Model Ones will be $290 compared to the standard Model One finishes at $199, she said.

The colors in the NetWorks Color Collection are Grass Green, Stone Grey, Ocean Blue, Carmine Red, Midnight Black, and Frost White. The contemporary finishes in the Texture Collection are Zebra, Chisel, and Lines and V-Stripes. The Cappellini colors are China Blue, Acid Green and Chestnut Brown.

In any finish, the NetWorks system streams more than 13,000 free Internet radio stations and podcasts via a Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet connection to a home network’s broadband modem. They also stream music from a networked PC and play music stored on a connected USB drive or USB-connected MP3 player other than an iPod. The NetWorks also display a menu of the USB-connected device’s contents and controls the device via the NetWorks radio’s included remote. Each cabinet features a 3.5-inch speaker.

Recent downloadable upgrades added automatic time/date updates, automatic turn-off of Wi-Fi when not needed, improved FM auto-seek accuracy and AAC decoding. The device also decodes MP3, WMA and Real files and streams.

In the third quarter, Tivoli plans to offer such upgrades as podcast play/pause and forward/rewind as well as near-gapless playback. Later this year, the company will upgrade the NetWorks Web-based portal to add such things as station search by bit rate.

As for distribution, Lenbrook America, the company’s U.S. distributor to brick-and-mortar retailers, has entered into talks with buying groups, including PRO, to bolster distribution, a Lenbrook executive told TWICE. Lenbrook took over Tivoli’s U.S. distribution and dealer support in the brick-and-mortar channel last September. Tivoli continues to sell direct to consumers, including through a kiosk in Boston, as well as to businesses and to online retailers.

“We are in the process of weeding out the weak and strengthening overall distribution,” said Patrick McKeever, president of sister company Lenbrook Canada, which represented Tivoli in Canada before September. Buying group members would have to be individually approved by Lenbrook to sell Tivoli, he said. “We’re looking for dealers to display Tivoli’s rainbow of colors,” he explained.

About 20 percent of Tivoli’s brick-and-mortar storefronts are design shops and high-end furniture stores, McKeever said. Other brick-and-mortar dealers are independent specialists and such regional chains as Electronics Expo in New Jersey.