Stephanie Zmyslo

Stephanie Zmyslo
TiVo and BellSouth Partner Up

TiVo and BellSouth will join forces to co-market TiVo Series2 and BellSouth FastAccess DSL beginning this week. Both companies are hoping to reach additional consumers through the partnership and will offer select FastAccess DSL subscribers special pricing on the TiVo box and service. Combining high-speed Internet with TiVo’s broadband applications, these DSL subscribers can have access to online scheduling, TiVo ToGo transfers, TiVo Guru Guide recommendations, streaming radio and movie browsing. Also offered are TiVo’s Home Media features, which allow subscribers to use their television for broadband delivered video and enjoying personal music and photos. KidZone with features to find, record and watch child-friendly

Feature Films Coming Soon to Amazon.com

Amazon’s Digital Video service arrives next month, allowing customers to download feature films and TV shows. Taking a new step into the digital downloads market, Amazon has decided to focus on movies, videos and television shows, since services like iTunes hold a firm grip on digital music downloads. Plus, the online retailer appeals to studios and networks as it is already a reliable name in Internet shopping. With Amazon.com’s new feature, customers will have access to film downloads in two forms: a subscription service with a flat fee for movies over a specified period of time or through a pay-per-view/pay-per-movie scenario.

Microsoft Confirms Launch of Zune Brand

Last Friday, Microsoft announced it will try its hand at the digital music market and launch the brand Zune. The brand looks to challenge Apple’s signature iPod and iTunes and will offer its own music players and services. Microsoft plans to use a hard drive for music storage and implement Wi-Fi in the device. The wireless technology involved would allow users to share playlists and recommend music between devices. The company hopes to eventually include computers, phones and even the Xbox 360 into the music sharing and listening mania. To date, details on the wireless technology are not determined as Microsoft is still exploring

PeachDirect and Warrantech Form Strategic Partnership

PeachDirect, an online retailer of electronic goods, seeks to please customers with its new one-year agreement with Warrantech Corporation. Retailing directly to the consumer products from brand-name manufacturers like Bose, Hewlett Packard and Panasonic, PeachDirect will now offer buyers Warrantech warranties on all consumer electronic purchases while the contract lasts. PeachDirect already provides buyers with pre-approved financing options in the mail to make purchasing more affordable. Sean Hicks, president of Warrantech Consumer Products, comments, “The agreement between PeachDirect and Warrantech is really a strategic partnership for both companies.”

People on the Move

Vonage America Inc. names Robert “Sandy” Gunn executive vice president of human resources. Formerly senior vice president at EMI Music North America, Gunn brings with him over 20 years of experience. In his new position at Vonage, he will focus on the company’s organization and structure and report directly to CEO Michael Snyder. SpeechGear Inc. appoints Martha Baird to oversee the company’s quality assurance activities. Before joining SpeechGear, Baird held similar positions at Unisys and Cray Inc. Her past experience included developing and implementing software as well as leading development teams in their practices of quality assurance. D&M Holdings Inc. announces Jeffrey Cowan to the new

People on the Move

Myron & Davis hires Bob Goodman for national sales manager position. Goodman’s previous industry experience includes senior management roles with Harman Consumer Group, AuraSound, Sherwood America, Soundstream Technologies, HitchCam and Massive Audio. At Myron & Davis, he will focus on creating quality product lines directly through relationships with the company’s customers and manufacturer’s representatives. SpeakerCraft appoints Jim Scatena north east regional sales manager. He brings with him selling experience in the industry from working at a nationally recognized high-end custom retail firm, where he helped to develop the business into a Top 100 custom installation firm for 2004 and 2005. SpeakerCraft looks to Scatena to

People on the Move

Vonage promotes Timothy G. Smith to interim president of Vonage Network Inc. Smith held management roles at Sun Microsystems Inc., UUNET Technologies Inc. and Wayport, Inc. before becoming senior vice president of network and systems infrastructure at Vonage in July 2005. Responsibilities for his new position will include overseeing the company’s network and systems operations globally and managing Network’s staff. Smith’s move from within will allow Louis Mamakos, CTO and former president of Vonage Network, to serve solely as CTO. Dana Innovations appoints Elliot Schwartz to director of sales for HomeTech and HiFiWorks retail-distribution brands. He brings with him audio-video experience from his management

Pentax Gets Rid of the Shakes

Pentax attempts to bring versatility to picture taking via shake reduction technology in its K100D digital SLR camera. A free-floating image sensor that operates by an electromagnetically controlled system compensates for any unwanted camera movement allowing for sharp, blur-free shots. The technology can be turned on or off and lies within the actual body of the camera, so users can benefit from it while using any Pentax lens. Other features found in the K100D include a 2.5-inch LCD monitor with 210,000 pixel resolution and 12x zoom and a selection of camera modes exposure, auto picture, picture and scene. The camera will be available in

Pioneer’s Future U.S. Store Will Serve as Testing Ground

Apple and Sony have successfully done it, now Pioneer plans to open a retail store in Costa Mesa, Calif. this August. The store will offer Pioneer and Pioneer Elite products while also serving as a strategy to improve products based on consumer feedback. The store, a testing-ground, will feature new products currently only available in Japan. “Product technology is evolving so quickly and commoditization of product happens faster than ever,” said Craig McManis, vice president, Pioneer Stores (USA) Inc. “A company store allows us greater access to consumers for product testing and planning.” That company claims that other retailers will benefit from these test-opportunities helping

Tower Records Expands Retail with Digital Downloading

Tower Records continues to bring music to everyone’s ears with its new retail plan of digital downloading. Tower will allow customers to purchase tracks for 99 cents each or $9.99 for an entire album online at http://Tower.com/Digital. With Puretracks, who is powering the service, music is encoded at a higher bit rate than most online downloads. Tracks are also available in Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio format, a feature which increases tracks’ compatibility and enables purchasers to burn them, play them in most CD players as well as transfer them to digital music players. The tracks are not transferable to Apple’s iPod, however.

Vann’s on the Range

On August 4th, Vann’s will cut the ribbon on a “lifestyle” shopping experience at its new Bozeman retail store. Rooted in the process of matching customer lifestyles with the proper technology, the new showroom is designed to feel like home. The stone and stucco facade houses five live kitchens with working appliances by Subzero, Viking Thermador, Dacor and GE Monogram. A home theater room shows off custom installation and the latest Mirage speaker products. Vann’s invites customers to test drive dishwashers and laundry products in its friendly demo room and to take a tour of the Viking and SubZero sponsored rooms complete with a

People on the Move

Circuit City Stores, Inc. names Steven P. Pappas senior vice president, president of small stores. Pappas joins the company with 21 years of experience from RadioShack Corporation, where he most recently held his position as vice president and general manager of Kiosk Operations, Inc. He also served as division vice president at three of the four RadioShack divisions. Responsibilities at Circuit City Stores, Inc. will include overseeing operations of the company’s small format stores, the international segment and the domestic small format, and working on the company’s new format innovation activities. DBL Distributing, Inc. announces the arrival of Don Anderson as senior vice president of

DealerData

The NPD Group reports that mobile phone sales to consumers in the U.S. have reached 34.8 million units in the first quarter of 2006. Representing an increase of more than 11 percent from sales in the first quarter of 2005, NPD predicts total first quarter 2006 consumer sales will be around $2.3 billion. NPD’s Mobile Phone Track percentages show Motorola continuing to lead in the U.S. market. The company experienced an increase in share percentages for its first quarter from 27 percent to 29 percent. Other leaders include Nokia and Samsung with 18 percent and LG at 15 percent. Looking at the GSM market,