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D&H Appliance Linecard Expands Twice in One Year
December 4, 2006

D&H Distributing has announced the second expansion of its small appliances and housewares category in 2006, bringing the total number of manufacturers on that department’s linecard to 39. Spurred by year-to-year sales growth in the category nearing 300 percent, D&H has added Royal Appliance Mfg. Co., Coleman outdoor living products, Rival electric kitchen appliances, Forschner cultery and Swiss Army pocket tools, Mercer Tool cutlery and cookware and kitchen specialty items from The Meyer Corporation. Dan Schwab, vice president of marketing at D&H, said, “The goal of enhancing our appliance line-up is to provide a varied inventory for this customer profile, so

Glimpse of The Future?
December 1, 2006

Even with so many exercise gurus, Atkins addicts and health food evangelists pushing their mantras over the airwaves, Americans are still having a weight problem. And the problem is extending to some of our neighbors as well. This was the inspiration behind a recent design challenge by Electrolux, which put to task designers from all around the world to come up with appliances that could help encourage healthier lifestyles. The results were a variety of innovative products, most of which will probably not make show room floors, but may inspire similar products in lines yet to come. The winner of the competition was announced in

Contacts: Bob Walsh, Chief Operating Officer, Karl’s Appliance chain (Northern New Jersey)
November 30, 2006

Though the northern New Jersey area is home to some of the highest-income consumers in the country, it’s also the stage for cut throat retail competition. One of the survivors among appliance retail chains is the Karl’s Appliance seven-showroom operation. Karl’s Chief Operating Officer, Bob Walsh, has a simple explanation for their success: “Niceties separate us from the pack. Karl’s is an experience.” The experience, says Walsh, is the result of salespeople refusing to push product as if they were used car salesmen. “We understand now that a customer’s first visit isn’t necessarily the sale visit,” says Walsh. “People come in looking

Shop Talk: Stephen Baker, NPD’s Vice President of Industry Analysis
November 22, 2006

“We’re only just now starting to get a decent critical mass for networks installed in homes, only in the last year or so. Over half of internet households have broadband. People want to share that connection and get everyone online. Once you have multiple PC’s (wired or wireless) and a home network in place, you can explore what other opportunities people really want. The easiest concepts for people to understand are webcams and network storage, but we expect to see people start moving video around in a meaningful way. Home networking is growing a lot, but from a computer standpoint right now.” -Stephen Baker,

Control4 Moves Into Magnolia
November 21, 2006

Control4 continues its march into national retail, announcing that Magnolia Audio Video will now carry the company’s complete line of home control products. This is part and parcel of strategy—earlier in the year Control4 began offering products at Tweeter. “We’ve been working with them for at least a year and have been in test markets,” said Will West, CEO of Control4, of the Best Buy owned retail store. He added that Magnolia’s design and installation services were good enough that his company feels confident in offering its full line at Magnolia’s stores. Magnolia will display Control4 products on the floor and demonstrate home

CEA and CompTIA Create New Certification
November 17, 2006

Shortly after teaming with CEDIA and NSCA to form certification programs for contractors, CEA has joined forces with the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) to create a new certification altogether. The CEA-CompTIA Digital Home Technology Integrator+ certification would verify the ability of a professional to configure and maintain an electronic home system. Technicians with 18 to 24 months of home integration experience are encouraged to apply for this advanced certification. Says CEA TechHome executive director Kerry Moyer, “Together, CEA and COMPTIA will help prepare technicians for installing and maximizing the performance available from today’s sophisticated digital home systems, while ensuring

HAI Watermark for Z-Wave
November 16, 2006

The latest Z-Wave news out of this week’s Electronic House Expo in Long Beach, Calif. involves Home Automation Inc.’s Omni and Lumina controllers. HAI announced Wednesday that the award-winning devices would now support Z-Wave technology. HAI will also support Leviton’s ViziaRF series of lighting control devices. Z-Wave devices used with Omni or Lumina home control systems are optimized for Multi-Dwelling Unit (MDU) applications, while the UPB technology of HAI Lighting Control (HLC) products is recommended for single family homes or larger applications. HAI President and CEO Jay McLellan explains, “HAI recognizes the importance of supporting various technologies so

Sonos Teams With Tweeter to Bring Home Audio to Retail Floor
November 16, 2006

Sonos has announced an initiative to present point-of-sale displays in Tweeter stores across the U.S. to demonstrate the functionality of their home audio system. Broadband-enabled set-ups give the customer the experience of using the system to access millions of songs or thousands of radio stations at the press of a button. The system takes advantage of the Rhapsody Online Music Service to deliver tunes to any room in the house. The display aims to give consumers a taste of that service in over 150 Tweeter locations. Says Thomas Cullen, co-founder and vice president sales and marketing for Sonos, “We are

Shop Talk: Peter King, London-based analyst for Strategy Analytics
November 15, 2006

“We have the view that entertainment is really the key to make home networking kickstart. Our premise is that homes should be networked using IP technology. A proprietary high-end solution to give you multi-room audio and security features is fine for some, but our premise is that anything networking the home should be IP based using open standards. Broadband has been adopted globally. It’s pervasive and faster all the time. The next stage is to start putting entertainment in the home. Then, when we have a critical mass of home entertainment users, service providers and home operators can start making money on home

CEA, CEDIA and NSCA Unite to Form ESPA
November 13, 2006

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) and National Systems Contractors Assocation (NCSA) have joined forces to create a unified educational entity known as the Electronic Systems Professional Alliance (ESPA). The agency hopes to create a qualified workforce equal to the growing demand for electronic systems contractors in a way that lessens the confusion created by numerous industry associations across the country with varied certification programs. Chuck Wilson, chairman of ESPA and executive director of NSCA, explains, “By coming together and offering a single entry-level education and certification platform for any and all industry organizations, ESPA will

Beyond White
November 1, 2006

Bosch’s Hand Blender Goes Cordless Following the trend of branding products with famous faces, Bosch’s new hand blender carries the name of chef Todd English. But its bigger selling feature is the fact that it is powered by a lithium-ion battery. The company says it can get up to up to 20 minutes of continuous mixing time and that an LED indicator displays the battery’s power level. It sells for $119.99 and an optional companion chopper is available for $19.99. Whirlpool Sees Benefits From Acquisition The third quarter brought good news to Whirlpool Corpporation. The company reported that it earned net sales of $4.8

NetStreams Launches Musica 6-Pack Plus
November 1, 2006

NetStreams announced the release Monday of an all-in-one-box distributed audio system for residential or commercial locales. The NetStreams Musica 6-Pack Plus bundles a four-source, six-zone multi-room audio system with iPod integration and three digital FM tuner cards. Instead of one digital amplifier, six digital amplifiers come behind each of six Musica 5000 series in-wall keypads to simplify installation and reduce noise, distortion and power loss. The Musica Audio Distribution Center simplifies installation further by storing IR codes for up to four global audio sources centrally, eliminating the need to program each keypad individually. NetStream’s “Shh!” Technology gradually lowers the volume

DDG to Distribute NevoSL
October 31, 2006

Digital Delivery Group (DDG) announced a deal Monday to distribute the NevoSL universal controller from Universal Electronics Inc. The controller is designed to simplify both programming and post-installation service and support. The NevoStudio 2.0 software suite was recently released to compliment the controller, which has won the Residential System’s RESI Award for Best Handheld Controller, the Electronic House Product of the Year and CEDIA Australia’s Best in Show. Said David Kaplan, executive director at DDG, “We are truly thrilled to add this product lineup because it exemplifies the type of product solution Digital Delivery Group was formed to bring to the

CEDIA Launches Educational Initiative
October 31, 2006

As a part of its 2007 Electronic Lifestyles EXPO, which will take place next April in Las Vegas, CEDIA will incorporate three educational outreach components to inform its members about the industry. Inspired by feedback from attendees of CEDIA’s first Electronic Lifestyles Forum who requested more hands-on experience and training, this year’s forum will take architects, builders and designers onto the showroom floor to get that experience. Industry professionals will act as CEDIA Ambassadors, who will guide attendees through this training. A second aspect to the initiative, CU on the Road, takes CEDIA University core curriculum courses, seminars, certification reviews/exams and

NetStreams Web Site Gets Makeover
October 30, 2006

NetStreams launched a new Web site last week at www.netstreams.com The site boasts navigation altered to simplify the process of viewing commercial-oriented vs. residential-oriented products and solutions as well as accessing information about NetStreams’ technologies. Case studies involving the use, installation, upgrading and support of NetStreams products have also been added. Password-protected sections allow for the segmentation of the site’s content by commercial, residential or OEM partner-specific information. Petra Shimanishi, NetStreams’ vice president of marketing and product management, said, “This new website reflects our overall technological leadership in IP-Based distributed entertainment and provides a resource for all vertical

Life|Ware Makes Retail Showcase Debut at Magnolia
October 27, 2006

Magnolia stores opening today in Santa Monica and Santa Clara, Calif. will be host to the first retail display of Life|Ware’s digital entertainment and automation solution. A home integrated with the Life|Ware product will be on display inside each store. The showroom will demonstrate multiple zones in the home, including a media room, media bar, home office, equipment office and front door. HP products, such as the HP z565 digital entertainment center, will dominate the showcase, but the flexibility of the platform to work with multiple manufacturers is also on display with products from Lutron, B&K, SpeakerCraft, Aprilaire, GE Security,

A Remote You Don’t Need to Point
October 25, 2006

Universal Remote Control, Inc. (URC) has introduced the new RF+Pak, which combines the MasterControl RF10 Remote with the PowerBlaster Base Station. The upshot of all this is a remote that can be pointing in any direction and still operate the component you choose. The remote emits a multidirectional RF signal through air and solid objects alike up to 100 feet. So, if you’re in the living room and realize you forgot to turn off the TV in the kitchen, just press a button. And then wonder if you really need a TV in the kitchen. MacroPower and SimpleSound features on

ELAN on Hawaiian Honeymoon with NOW
October 23, 2006

ELAN announced a deal with NOW Marketing last week appointing the firm as ELAN’s sales reps for the Hawaiian Islands. NOW has represented and distributed in the area since 1981, expanding from high end home products and 12 volt audio to wireless and broadband. Paul Starkey, ELAN executive vice president of sales and marketing, said, “With the addition of NOW Marketing to the ELAN family of rep firms we have added yet another prestigious and results-oriented company with a fabulous track record.”

Logitech Gets Slim
October 20, 2006

On Thursdy, Logitech International announced its acquisition of Slim Devices, Inc., makers of the award-winning Squeezebox home audio networking system and its high-end big brother Transporter. The $20 million purchase positions Slim Devices as a distinct group within Logitech’s Entertainment and Communications business unit. Guerrino De Luca, Logitech president and CEO, said, “With the acquisition of Slim Devices, Logitech is building on our foundation of innovation in digital music and home-entertainment control to address an emerging market.”

Contacts: Robert Allaire, President of Bellingham Electric (Bellingham, Mass.)
October 19, 2006

For the last fifty-four years, someone in Robert Allaire’s family has been selling electronics or appliances. That day-in, day-out retail experience has earned the business, Bellingham Electric, a strong local reputation as well as a roster of store traditions. “Our customers have come to expect our quarterly sales,” says Allaire. “They’ll ask us, “Hey, what’s the date of the Private Sale this year?’” That Private Sale, launched back in 1992, is one of four major promotional events the Allaire family has developed and advertised over the years. “We take one day at the end of March each year and, basically, make it a customer appreciation