Grant Clauser

Grant Clauser
Connecting to Content

There was a lot of pessimism in the electronics industry just before this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The abysmal economic news of late 2008 and the poor sales at electronics stores threatened to cast a dark shadow over the bright lights of Las Vegas. However, as Vegas prides itself as a place where anything can happen, CES proved that technology innovation hasn’t slowed down, and people have good reason to look forward to a 2009 filled with plenty of impressive new products designed to entertain and enhance people’s lives.

Panasonic Focused on Compact Cameras

This spring Panasonic will launch a series of new compact digital cameras to the US market, most of them aimed at the step-up customer who’s looking for more advanced features but also easy operation. Despite the down economy and heavy price competition, the company hopes to achieve 15 percent market share by 2010. Panasonic invited a group of journalists to a special sneak peek at the products in Miami.

D-Box Motion Effects System Gets Cheaper

D-Box, the company that puts roll, pitch, heave and shake into your home theater experience, just announced a new way to get the body-jarring in your house for a lot less money. The new GPH-120 is hybrid motion system that be configured either as a PC gaming chair or as a home theater chair.

Philips, Funai Launch New Eco LCD Lines and BD Players

This was a first for Philips, no CES show floor exhibit. Instead, the company, post the acquisition by Funai of its TV business, held private viewings in a ballroom at the nearby Renaissance Hotel.

Chicago and Denver First Cities with Tru2Way

From Abt Electronics in Glenview Ill., Panasonic and Comcast kicked off a limited launch of tru2way technology to Chicago electronics shoppers. A similar kickoff happened in a Denver Ultimate Electronics store.

Rothfest Combines Good Deals with Good Times

Ramsey, NJ-based CE distributor M. Rothman & Co. held its 10th annual dealer show at it’s headquarters September 23 and 24, this time dubbing it Rothfest and offering attendees free concerts. About 1,500 people were expected at the two-day event. The idea behind Rothfest, said associate vice president Stephen Bodnarchuk, was two-fold: to show appreciation to the dealers as well as increase awareness of 4th-quarter promotions. “It’s a selling show,” he said. The selling part involved the manufacture showroom, which was lined with vendors such as Pioneer, LG, Universal Remote Control, Audiovox, Toshiba, Omnimount, JVC and others. Dealers browsed the 30-plus vendor

GE Back in the TV Business with GDT

GE has been out of the television business for quite some time. However, 2009 will see the rebirth of the GE TV business through the formation of a new joint venture with LCD maker Tatung. The brain-power behind this new venture is none other than CE veterans Peter Weedfald, president and Marc McConnaughey, CEO. The new company, called General Displays and Technologies, will produce LCD HDTVs and set-top boxes sold under the GE brand. One of the keystone features of the new products will be Internet connectivity, which will be included on all GE TVs and boxes. “GDT will be responsible for marketing,

SIM2 Partnership Promises New HD Format

Attendees of SIM2’s CEDIA 2008 press conference were expecting to hear all about new projectors. Instead, after a discussion of the David Lynch endorsement—announced the previous day—the company dropped a bomb on the crowd with the news of a partnership with a company promising a new high definition delivery format. SIM2’s partner, Entertainment Experience, made up of former Kodak Digital Cinema people, is coming out with a home theater media system it’s presently calling “Better Than Blu.” The complete system includes a SIM2 projector, modified to display the wider color gamut of Better Than Blu, plus a media player and downloadable or disc-based

Sharp Unveils Limited Edition Aquos Line

Sharp took the wraps off a new Aquos Limited Edition line of TVs at CEDIA. The LE line includes its first RGB LED back-light model with local dimming. The back-light style allows the TV to produce 150 percent of the NTSC color gamut while the local dimming allows for a 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Also included on these models is a 10-bit panel, 120Hz refresh rate technology, AquosNet integrated and a separate input box with 5 HDMI inputs and an optional wireless connection. A separate speaker, using Sharp’s 1-bit digital amplification system and co-developed with Pioneer is also part of the package. At its

Sony Intros Ultra Thin and 240Hz TVs

Sony unveiled two new BRAVIA LCD TVs at CEDIA with industry-first features. The KDL-52XBR7 LCD TV features 240Hz high frame rate technology called Motionflow 240 which the company says is ideal for sports and video game viewing. Sony says the Motionflow algorithm quadruples the frame rate of conventional LCD TVs by interpolating three new frames for each existing frame. Other features on the model include Sony’s Advanced Contrast Enhancer (ACE), which produces a dynamic contrast ratio of 80,000:1 Sony’s latest digital video processor, BRAVIA Engine2, that enhances all incoming signals to match the TV’s 1080p resolution. The second major TV release is the 40-inch BRAVIA

Toshiba Intros New Fall TV Line with Advanced Video Processing

“Roll with the Changes” is Toshiba’s theme for the 2008 CEDIA Expo, and VP of Marketing Scott Ramirez drove home that point by coming onstage at the company’s opening day press event with REO Speedwagon’s song of the same name playing. Among the changes Toshiba is rolling with are the trends in TV sales. Ramirez noted that plasma TV sales dipped by 1 percent, while LCD sales rose by 54 percent overall and 97 percent for size 40-inch and above. Toshiba’s increase, he pointed out, was 117.5 percent. “That’s where the growth is in the industry.” He added that 40-inch and above currently represents

Robert Perry, Senior Vice President, Panasonic Display Group

Dealerscope: In this economic climate, what are the bright spots for the A/V community? Perry: Interestingly enough, historically speaking, when the economy starts to slow down and consumers start changing their behavior, one of the behaviors they don’t change is how many televisions they purchase. When consumers are in a crunch—and today consumers are very concerned about gas prices—they tend to drive less. Instead of traveling away, they’re staying closer to home. And what we’re seeing is that consumers are still buying TVs and they’re buying them almost at exactly the same rate. For some consumers whose budgets are a little tighter, they may

FCC Going on the Road for DTV

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin conducted a press conference Monday to address the state of the DTV transition six months prior to the cutoff of all analog TV broadcasts (with the exception of Wilmington, NC, which makes the switch in September). Commissioner Martin announced a nationwide initiative to increase DTV awareness. The plan specifically targets 80 markets in which more than 100,000 households or 15-percent of households rely on over-the-air signals. The five FCC commissioners and staff will make personal visits to these markets to raise awareness and assist in consumer education. Martin said that the visits will include public events, workshops or commissioner

Toshiba Launches Better DVD Player

Toshiba may not have come out on top of the high def disc format war this year, but that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t have something to say in the continuing DVD market. As was hinted at a few months ago in Japan, the company is launching a new standard definition upconverting player with new color, sharpness and picture enhancements powered by the company’s new XDE (eXtended Detail Enhancement) technology. The new $149 XD-E500, says Toshiba, is more than just an upconverting DVD player—though it does scale 480i/p DVDs up to 1080p via HDMI 1.3. The XDE technology provides additional picture modes to