HD DVD Goes On Tour
February 22, 2006

NEW YORK 2/22/06 -- Hoping to win the hearts and minds of consumers who are generally unaware of high definition DVD formats, Toshiba is embarking on a forty-city tour to promote its format, HD DVD, a competitor to the Blu-ray disc format being championed by Sony and others. In New York the company set the stage today at a regional retail chain, P.C. Richards, who began taking pre-orders today for either of Toshiba's two HD DVD players. The products have been promised to ship by the end of March. The players (the HD-XA1 and the HD-A1) are priced at $799 and $499, the more expensive

Bring on the "War"
February 1, 2006

By Jonathan Takiff All the groaning and moaning about a format war ignores the positives that result from competition. The biggest "plus" is that the technology updates at a much quicker pace. In today's high-def videodisc conflict, we've already seen the Blue-Ray (aka BD) camp adopt one user-friendly feature first championed by HD DVD—managed copying. That's the consumer's right and new ability to move content off the disc to computers, servers and portable devices. As happened in the Beta vs. VHS affair, we'll soon see rivals pushing hard for higher storage capacity—HD DVD growing from its initial 15 GB and 30 GB dual-layer discs to an

Format Wars Are Bad for All
February 1, 2006

By Grant Clauser This could be a banner year for the new frontier of HD recording and packaged media, but it won't. Instead, it will be recorded in history as yet another year where the industry, plagued by an inability to think of the greater good, failed to unilaterally consider the larger consumer base which supports it. What we have are HD DVD and Blu-ray. Both offer great benefits, which can easily be seen by consumers, and differences that are barely discernible by the layman. We have been promised HD DVD products from Toshiba and RCA, as early as Spring. Of course, that was supposed

Toshiba Delays HD DVD Players
September 28, 2005

According to a story distributed by Reuters, Toshiba has announced that it will postpone the shipment of HD DVD players until at least February or March of 2006.  In the story, Yoshihide Fujii, senior vice president at Toshiba was quoted as saying, "We have been discussing with content holders the most effective way to launch in the U.S. market, and it will probably be in February or March." The article further stated that Toshiba said it believed it would be best to start sales of high-definition DVD players in the United States on a wide scale rather than gradually, and that it

Specialty Dealers Have a Reason to Celebrate
September 1, 2005

According to a study released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), "Understanding Specialty, High-End Electronics Shoppers," the most popular places for consumers to shop for home audio and video equipment are mass merchant retailers and general big-box electronics stores, with 62 percent and 57 percent, respectively, of consumers frequenting those outlets for their home audio and video needs. Fifteen percent of consumers report shopping for audio and video equipment at specialty, high-end stores. While specialty, high-end electronics stores draw a smaller percentage of consumer electronics shoppers than larger retail outlets, says CEA, consumers who frequent specialty stores count product quality as the primary

Back Office- The Invisible Store Manager
August 1, 2005

Manage retail remotely by adding Big Brother to the payroll It may not always have the best connotation attached, but the concept of an omniscient presence within any business, vis-à-vis "Big Brother," means that less manpower can conceivably cover more territory. A Big Brother-like solution has recently found its way into the world of retail management thanks to Appleton, Wis.-based Sovus Media, a company that has taken the idea of audio and video monitoring to a new level with its Digital Assistance solution. According to Sovus, Digital Assistance allows retailers to literally manage multiple store locations remotely in real time—from anywhere in the

Retail Guinea Pig
February 1, 2005

About 40 years ago, Sam Walton told John Kiefer: "If you really want to see what's going to happen, you don't want to talk to old guys. You want to look at the kids. If you look at the kids in the sandbox, you can look at everything you need to know about marketing." At the time, Walton was opening up a chain of tiny variety stores across Arkansas and Kansas. The first Wal-Mart debuted in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962. Kiefer's distribution business, Kief's Records & Stereo Supply, serviced the record departments in the first six Wal-Mart stores. The "look at the kids

The Rise of the Digital Integrator
January 1, 2005

You might say that Gordon Van Vuiten was ahead of his time. For 12 years he worked as a value added reseller (VAR) who provided service, support and sales to major companies—a corporate IT man for hire. His company had contracts with million dollar corporations and B2B was the place to, well, be. But in 1997, he sold the business and took a step in a direction that seemed risky for a person with a background as a VAR—offering services to the consumer. But today, this transition is making sense to more than just a handful of VARS; they are becoming the newest faces

The Media Center Effect
January 1, 2005

In October, Microsoft made its largest push yet to gain a foothold in the living rooms and entertainment centers of America with its announcement of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, along with complimentary products and services from third parties, such as Dell, HP, Gateway, Toshiba's Digital Products Division, D-Link, Linksys and Netgear. Media Center proposes to run your whole entertainment center, acting as a TV tuner, a digital video recorder, a DVD player, a broadband internet access device, a music player, a photo viewer. If it works, it's a very compelling sell. The press, analysts and hardcore geeks went into their predictable tizzies