From Custom Retailer Magazine: JBL Strikes Calif. Production Homes Deal
August 2, 2006

JBL and systems integration specialist Radio Active have partnered with developer Drummond Co. to offer a range of “high-end JBL custom-installation home theater systems” for production homes being built at the Andalusia at Coral Mountain development in La Quinta, Calif. Plans for Andalusia encompass 680 luxury homes priced between $1.125 million and $2 million and based on six models. The community will also feature two championship golf courses. JBL is the “exclusive provider of home theater systems” at the development. The A/V installations feature complete JBL Synthesis, Performance Series and Cinema Vision home theater systems available in six system configurations; they are available built

EDGE Expands with New Partnerships
July 28, 2006

EDGE Distributors Group announced four new partnerships on Thursday. The company will now carry products from Gefen, Xantech, Chief and Sanus Systems. Of Chief and Sanus Systems, EDGE President Mike Hench said, “They bring two trusted names with great products into our fold, giving us the ability to fully support our dealers in this critical product category.” He asserted that Gefen products “will help us offer our dealers real world solutions to the complex problems associated with connecting and distributing high definition video and digital audio signals.” And on Xantech, “They offer our dealers a vast selection of high-quality products

HTSA Meets in St. Louis
July 26, 2006

The Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA) buying group conducted its fifth annual Custom Manager’s Meeting in St. Louis over the weekend. The three-day event drew 57 heads of custom departments from the group’s membership. Presentations were delivered by Joe Zanola (“Hiring methods to capture great employees”), Crestron’s Craig Gulley (“Why and how to get in the lighting business”) and SpeakerCraft’s Dave Donald (“How to hire, motivate, and keep teammates for life”). Attendees participated in roundtable discussions on project management, tracking billable hours, rewarding installers and attracting builders and architects. Members who delivered presentations included Ed Condiracci of Electronic Design Group, who discussed “rip outs,” Chris

Vutec Opens Training Center
July 25, 2006

Vutec Corporation, a manufacturer of projection screens, has opened a new training center at the company’s Pompano Beach, FL headquarters. The center is designed to accommodate Vutec’s growing network of 2,000 consumer and commercial dealers located in 67 countries. The facility will be the launch site for a comprehensive training program for dealers, distributors and systems integrators. Kicking off the program will be a series of two-day workshops taking place in late 2006 and early 2007. Spencer Mallinson, Vutec’s technical director, commented on the program, “Attendees will gain a solid grounding in Vutec’s product lines--their design, manufacture and installation--from the on-site training.”

APC Joins D-Tools MVP Program
July 21, 2006

American Power Conversion (APC), a manufacturer of high performance audio/video solutions for custom home theaters, has recently joined the D-Tools Manufacturer Vantage Point (MVP) program. D-Tools System Integrator software now features detailed information about APC’s A/V products. The D-Tools MVP program is aimed to help provide system integrators with the newest product information using D-Tools System Integrator 4.5 (SI 4.5). By using a single project file, custom installers can now save hours of research time through downloading free product details from D-Tools’ extensive database. While the end goal is to simplify the design process of a company, the program also attempts to make it easier

New Bluetooth Dash Kit from Scosche
July 18, 2006

The BTDIN, a new Bluetooth DIN Kit from Scoche’s BlueLife wireless accessory line, is now shipping. BTDIN aids in real time streaming of digital audio via Bluetooth. The installation kit is designed to allow for the mounting of BlueLife’s receiver, part of the BlueLife IUBCKH interface, in the head-unit location of a vehicle. The customer can then use the interface to wirelessly stream the output of an MP3 player to the vehicle’s audio system. The BTDIN fits any OEM or aftermarket DIN radio space. Two tinted face plates are included for covert install. Available for $20.50, the

Theater Xtreme Projects into Delaware and Maryland
July 17, 2006

Home cinema designer/retailer/installers Theater Xtreme plans to open stores in Towson, Md. and Wilmington, Del. this fall. They have signed a lease agreement for the Towson store and are finalizing the same for the Wilmington location. The Wilmington store will be their second in that city. Scott Oglum, CEO of Theater Xtreme Entertainment Group, explains, “We see a competitive opportunity to move the Wilmington store into class-A retail location, and to open a design center in the Towson area. These markets are very attractive to us.” Additionally, Theater Xtreme has acquired a franchise-owned location in Leesport, PA.

hhgregg to Sell Klipsch Products
July 6, 2006

Klipsch’s Synergy Series speakers are now available at all of hhgregg’s 69 stores. Floorstanding, bookshelf and wall-mounted “sub sat” speaker configurations are all being offered by the retailer. Klipsch Group Americas President Dave Kelley had this to say of hhgregg, “The company’s sterling reputation for outstanding customer service and knowledgeable salespeople make it an especially suitable retail environment for Klipsch Synergy speakers and home theater systems.”

PRO Group to Sell Power Condioners from Furman and Panamax
June 21, 2006

The Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO) Group has struck a deal with Furman Sound and Panamax to supply their power conditioning products to member companies. John Maloney, vice president of sales for Panamax says, “Our combined product lines and technologies allow the member companies of the PRO Group to offer their customers the broadest range and highest quality power conditioning and surge protection available.” Furman Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dave Keller adds, “ creating one financial program for the two brands, we’re making it easy for PRO Group members to be able to offer their customers these two leading options

Panasonic Introduces Support Program for HDTV Purchases
June 12, 2006

Taking a page from the PC customer service playbook, Panasonic is providing a new Plasma Concierge program that gives customers free access to tech support for their plasma TV purchases. Membership, available to current and future Panasonic plasma HDTV owners, includes live access by phone to consultation on set-up, operation, troubleshooting and integration. Members asking for in home service get a callback within 24 hours to schedule an appointment. A benefits card provides members with the information they need to access the program. By September, it is expected that a live online chat with a tech representative will become an