"I personally haven’t seen costs going up on products, despite suppliers having to pay more for materials. We’re six months into the gas crunch, and we’re down a dollar in our gas prices where we are in California. Also, there are lots of goods already in the pipeline,” he said. “ Past behaviors were such that manufacturers got used to lower prices with each new product introduction season; I think that now, we might just see them keeping prices at par with past pricing instead of reducing them.”
Shad Bethke, Systems Designer with Future Home of Fresno, Calif., said one of the coolest products he saw at the show was LG’s BD 300 Blu-Ray player with integrated Netflix streaming. “It’s really going to change the way people do business,” he said. “I looked for something comparable from other vendors and couldn’t find anything. The Pioneer Elite Pro series gear is also unbelievable.”
Besides the products, dealers at Expo also have access to dozens of training courses and are also exposed to a plethora of ideas they can’t get back home. Bethke is no exception.
“One cool thing we’ve decided to do at our store [a 10,000 square-foot building that houses and showroom and 36 employees] was based on what I saw at EXPO,” he said. “We are going to build another demo room and duplicate the space at the Stewart booth that had the new Cabaret retractable screen that descended over a plasma. I’m going to style the demo room just like the space that Stewart had at CEDIA.”