Dealers See Much Positivity at HTSA Fall ConferenceOctober 25, 2013 By Stephen Silver
"I commented to several of my colleagues that I think this has been the most positive vibe that we've had at (an HTSA) event in about five years," Jon Robbins of the Philadelphia-area HiFi House said. "I think folks are feeling good about where there businesses are going. It's been a long ride for a lot of people for five years, [but] we're starting to have fun again, and I think that good business is having fun."
What's driving the good feeling? Dealers at the event said that the housing market is finally showing signs of life, with new construction, more remodeling and rising disposable income leading to new business. Also noted at the conference is consumer excitement about streaming and other high-end audio, and even a strong start on the market for 4K/Ultra HD.
When it came to audio, more than one dealer pointed out that the Blue Sound system, recently introduced by HTSA member Lenbrook America, has been a huge hit with its customers in the early going.
BlueSound "has completely changed our approach" to consumer audio, David Wexler of the Chicago-area The Little Guys said, because the product entails "taking ease of access, and turning it into high fidelity."
"Streaming music has been hotter than its ever been," Robbins said. "Obviously everyone's doing quite a bit of Sonos, the key is how you can make streaming music sound better in people's homes." He added that he was very excited about high-resolution audio, which the Consumer Electronics Association recently endorsed for a big push at next year's CES.
"We've just started to dabble in Bluesound and we're starting to get sell-through," Robbins said, adding that the Lenbrook product has only been on his floor for about 30 days.
At the group's awards winner during the show, Bluesound received a Technology Innovations Award, with the presenting board member stating that with the advent of the technology, "our group can enter streaming media without supporting Sonos, who don't support us."
Then again, some said good audio never really went away. "As long as our ears are analog, there will be a need for good speakers," John Selby of Missouri's Stereo One said.