Dealerscope magazine presents:

Tech Confidence Reaches Two-Year High

The Consumer Electronics Association's monthly measure of tech consumer confidence has reached its highest level since 2012, CEA said Tuesday.

The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE) reached 95.3 in July,  a 4.1-point increase from last month. In addition, the overall CEA Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE) rose 0.6 points, to 171.3.

“As CEA’s sentiment indexes have continued to show, consumer confidence is improving steadily following a weak first quarter,” Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research, said as part of the announcement. .

 “The improved sentiment is helping establish a solid foundation for stronger tech spending - especially with the growth of emerging technologies like wearables and Ultra HDTV - to materialize in the back half of 2014.”

Apple Profit Rises to $7.7 Billion

Apple on Tuesday posted a third quarter profit of  $7.7 billion, based on $37.4 billion in revenue. The profit was an improvement over the $6.9 billion figure the same period last year.

According to AP, the results were above analyst expectations. The company sold  35.2 million iPhones.

"Our record June quarter revenue was fueled by strong sales of iPhone and Mac and the continued growth of revenue from the Apple ecosystem, driving our highest EPS growth rate in seven quarters,”   Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said as part of the announcement.

 “We are incredibly excited about the upcoming releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, as well as other new products and services that we can’t wait to introduce.”

The next quarter will likely see the introduction of Apple's newest iPhone, with the possibility of other products as well.

Samsung's 105-inch Curved TV Available Now For Preorder

Samsung's UN105S9W 105-inch curved TV is available now for preorder, the company said Tuesday. Each unit is built to order at the price of $119,999.99.

The TV boasts 5120 x 2160 resolution and a cinematic aspect ratio.

“We continue to set the bar as the UHD market leader by delivering the best picture quality, design and most immersive viewing experiences in home entertainment,” said Joe Stinziano, Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics America.

 “The introduction and availability of our new 105” Curved UHD TV represents our unremitting efforts to reshape TV, driven by consumers’ passion for entertainment. Made for the premium entertainment lover, the 105” Curved UHD TV features the most advanced technology and design, a massive movie-theater style UHD screen and a curve that creates the ultimate cinematic experience.”

Klipsch Debuts New Reference Speaker Line

Klipsch has unveiled the first tier of new Reference Speakers, released under the company's new strategy of realigning products under the Reference name.

The line includes two floorstanding towers (R-28F and R-26F), two monitors (R-15M and R-14M), one center channel (R-25C), and one surround (R-14S,) as well as -10SW and R-12SW subwoofers.

Pricing ranges from $698 to $898 for a pair of floorstanding speakers, $199 for a pair of monitors, $249 for a center channel, $279 for a pair of surrounds, and $349 to $449 for a subwoofer, the company said.

“The Reference sound signature is what makes people passionate about the Klipsch brand,” Mark Casavant, senior vice president of global product development for Klipsch, said in a statement.

 “It is our goal for listeners to feel the power, detail and emotion Klipsch speakers are able to bring out of music and movies, as if they are being heard or seen for the first time. Our new Reference speakers not only create this experience but inspire passionate listeners alike.”

Nationwide Offers Chance to Win Martina McBride Tickets

Nationwide Marketing Group is offering front row tickets and backstage passes for Martina McBride's concert during the upcoming PrimeTime! event.

According to Nationwide's Facebook, those who download the PrimeTime! meeting app are eligible to win two tickets and VIP reception passes for the show. The app is available in the App Store.

Nationwide's PrimeTime! is scheduled for August 10-13 in Nashville. See the Nationwide Facebook page for more information.

Paradigm Debuts On-Wall Millennia Speakers

Paradigm this week announced its new Millenia LP 2 and Millenia LP XL on-wall speakers, which the company describes "the perfect complement for today's flat-panel TVs."

"Millenia LP 2 and Millenia LP XL provide the ultimate solution to these poor-sounding flat-panel displays, delivering Paradigm’s signature sound, perfected over the past 30 years, in a beautifully slender package that looks stunning on-wall or on-shelf," Paradigm said in a statement. "

"Both new models are meticulously engineered by Paradigm to incorporate the predictable effects of a wall on the speaker’s frequency response. Their ultra-thin enclosure is optimized to exploit the maximum wall area for a complete absence of vibration, even when performing at maximum output."

The Millenia LP 2 is priced at $499 each, while the LP XL is $699 each. Both will arrive next month.

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Core Brands Ships Niles Auriel Controller

Core Brands said this week that its Niles Auriel MRC-6430 whole-home audio controller is now shipping. The company describe the product as "the first-in-its-class multi-room audio chassis that integrates multi-room audio and home theater control in a way that is both simple for the installer to set up and easy for the homeowner to enjoy."

“We’re making multi-room audio simpler than ever to install and use,” Yann Connan, Core Brands’ Director, Audio Segment, said in a statement.

 “The number one concern for buyers is that multi-room audio controllers are complicated, so we developed the Auriel software platform to show them just how accessible it can be. With any smartphone, tablet or computer running Auriel, users can quickly select what source they want to play and in which rooms they want it to play. Of course, we had the system integrators in mind as well, and have been getting great responses from those who have experienced the Auriel demo on the Core Brands Summer Tour."

Voxx, Steelmate Reach Distribution Deal

Voxx Electronics and Steelmate Automative this week announced that they have reached a distribution agreement. Steelmate will supply their full line of collision avoidance and automotive accessories to Voxx on an exclusive basis, the companies said.

The first included product is the DVR 700 In-Vehicle Dashboard Event Video Recorder.

"As a leader in the 12-volt aftermarket, VOXX is always looking to expand product offerings to meet consumer demand for new technologies," Tom Malone, president of Voxx, said in a statement. "This new agreement will allow us to bring additional products into our newly introduced Advanced Driver Assistance System line, giving our retail partners additional profit opportunities and satisfying the customer's desire for safety products."

EcoXGear Launches Ecostone Bluetooth Speaker

EcoXGear Tuesday announced the arrival of its new Ecostone Bluetooth speaker. The product, the company said, is meant to "answer the demands of outdoor enthusiasts looking for big sound in a dependably rugged form factor, the ECOSTONE waterproof Bluetooth speaker."

"Now bigger and louder than any audio solution we’ve yet to introduce, the ECOSTONE is by far the most reliable option in the world of waterproof, rugged, portable speakers,”  CEO  Greg Fadul said as part of the announcement.

 “Athletes, adrenaline junkies, and adventure enthusiasts favor our rugged speakers because they are 100% waterproof, not just water resistant, and allow them to take their music with them anywhere they go.”

The product retails for $149.

Custom Plus Distributing Appoints Ricks

Custom Plus Distributing said this week that it has named Steven Ricks Territory Sales Manager for its new location in San Jose.

Ricks is a veteran of NetStreams and Crestron, who previously worked for Custom Plus from 2002 to 2006.

”Ricks’ focus is on working with dealers to maximize their profit and inventory levels to make sure that they run efficient businesses,”  Custom Plus Distributing President and Owner Bob Oliver said in a statement.

 “Working with dealers to help close business is something that Ricks enjoys greatly. He looks forward to meeting new dealers and reacquainting himself with those he has worked with in the past.”

Custom Plus is part of the Catalyst AV distribution network.