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Distributors Debate Impact Of New Technologies On Dealers

NEW YORK — In Part II of our Distributors
Roundtable, leading A/V and IT distributors
discuss the impact that new high profile technologies and product launches
could have on retail sales this year.


What effect will 3D TV, mobile
TV, e-book readers, iPad accessories and other
exciting new categories have at retail?

Jeff Davis, senior sales VP, D&H Distributing:

It will be interesting to see
how 3D plays out. The continued demonstration
of the technology will be key
to its adoption. As more 3D movies hit
the theaters, the category will gain momentum.
When the message gets out
that consumers can enjoy that same 3D
experience at home, the market will see
a swell. Broadcast availability will also be
a driving factor: The consumer
will need content
in order for 3D TV to be
ready for widespread use.

In mobile TV there are
a number of different formats
in development, including
free, paid and localized versions,
and this influx could help drive adoption.
We predict this will become a healthy
category within a short period of time.

E-readers and the iPad will have an
uphill battle against Kindle. However,
the diversity of the iPad [and] slate
computing will drive sales. Content capability
and pricing will be the decisionmakers
as to which formats thrive.

Stephen Bodnarchuk, national sales
associate VP, M. Rothman and Co.

: The
continued increased acceptance and mass
market appeal of these products will be
a nice shot in the arm for the consumer
electronics industry.

E-readers and mobile TV have the
potential for the greatest upside in the
short term. The anticipated increased
performance and lower price points of
the next generation of these products
will positively impact sales going forward.
The larger install base for products
such as e-readers and
iPads will also once again
lead to increased accessory
sales and offerings.

3D TV generated great
interest as it has the newness
factor, but appears to
be a little early with regard to actual sales
and consumer acceptance. There are also
still a lot of questions revolving around
the format and the performance, not to
mention the content.

Benjy Goldstein, CEO, Fesco Distributors:

3D TV is a great enhancement to
home theater. It brings the real, life-like
imagery that you would see in the movies
to the comfort of your home. Some
of the best reactions have been with children’s
programming since this has such a
huge “wow” factor. It will drive revenue,
not just for the TV but for the BD players,
and other content.

Warren Chaiken, president/COO,

Our feeling is that while exciting,
none of these categories will drive huge
revenues in retail this year. This is because
all of these product categories are
in the early adopter phase, particularly
3D TV. As a result, the impact will not
be felt until they become more mass-market

Doretta Raffio, residential and commercial
A/V senior product manager,

True 3D is still in an early-adopter
phase, and consumers are considering
3D-ready products as an extra to the features
they are already receiving. We will
begin to see a real push for 3D TV once
there are more consistent sources.

Jeff Kussard, strategic development
director, Capitol Sales:

3D is getting
tons of attention, but there is one aspect
that has not been mentioned very often,
even though it has relevance to our dealers. With 3D television comes the
need for 3D glasses — replacements, upgrades,
limited editions and so on. I can’t
overstate the importance of add-on accessory
sales to 3D TVs.

As far as iPads are concerned, we’re
all optimistic that it will be Apple’s next
great product, but I wouldn’t call it a slam
dunk just yet.

Fred Towns, sales and marketing
senior VP, New Age Electronics:

3D feature films increasing in popularity
it’s no wonder that 3D TV is the
latest “must have” technology with early
adopters. Major television manufacturers
began developing 3D home
television technology in 2009 and although
movie studios don’t really produce
movies in 3D, consumers will be
able to get a 3D experience from a 2D
high-definition TV.

Executives and business travelers are
paying close attention to the e-reader
technology as it evolves. Although the
electronic briefcase concept is very appealing,
the e-readers of today, sized 8.5
by 11 inches, are more than what people
want to carry. People are trying to figure
out the best way to access content and
whether there is really a need for it when
the netbook and iPhone are satisfying
business executives on the go.

Mark A. Gustavson, marketing and
communications executive director,

3D TV may gain traction during
the tax refund and “dads and grads”
buying season, and the success of e-readers
other than the Nook and Kindle will
be driven by the growing availability of
free, non-proprietary content.

The jury is still out on whether the
iPad will generate demand for accessories
at even a fraction of the levels of other
“iLifestyle” products. Mobile TV looks
promising, but its success will be determined
by how consumers embrace mobile
phone apps as opposed to an additional
piece of hardware to carry around.

Bill Stewart, president/CEO, Petra

The great thing about our
industry is that amazing innovations
always provide new opportunities. All
these categories will have a positive impact
on our dealers.

With the major movie studios coming
out with films in 3D, sports networks
beginning to explore ways to record and
broadcast in 3D, and manufacturers creating
new and improved products every
day, it’s only a matter of time before the
demand begins to increase. However,
like the adoption of HDTV, it might be
a few years before it becomes common to
find 3D in every household.

E-readers have such a huge potential
for application in schools and leisure
reading. Add functionality like Wi-Fi, a
PDF reader, games and social networking
like the iPad has, and Apple could be
leading the way in how our children learn
and our companies run in the future.

Our dealers need to be on the forefront
of offering all of the accessories that go
along with these products to be able to
reap the benefits of these innovations.