Tepid 3D and connected TV sales have disappointed dealers, but new approaches to home networking might spur unexpected growth.
Universal Remote Control
Dealerscope's complete 2011 Buying Group Directory, as featured in our March 2011 issue:
URC’s Jon Sienkiewicz, director of marketing, has reported that the company has made a few modifications to its recently announced Total Control line of whole-house audio, lighting climate control and IP-based surveillance products, which are now nearing the end of an alpha-testing period. The line is to be sold by a franchise of around 500 direct dealers who must pass a certification examination on the URC web site to qualify to carry it, he explained.
Some electronics retailers think the only time folks buy a new universal remote control is when their dog decides he wants a snack with buttons on it. Wrong. Consumers buy new remotes to consolidate, not replace, old remotes. And they're doing so for good reasons.
The word "universal" suggests that a universal remote works with any TV brand. That's true, but it's just the beginning. Most remotes contain the codes required to handle virtually every A/V device that can be controlled by IR. And many remotes have the ability to learn commands from other remotes, thereby expanding their versatility. In the world of electronics, where there's no such thing as non-obsolescence, remotes that can learn commands from other remotes come pretty darn close.
More sophisticated RF remotes eliminate the necessity of line-of-sight operation; they extend control through walls, doors and floors, allowing your customers to hide their components inside cabinets or otherwise out of sight. An RF remote requires a base station that receives its RF signals and converts them into the IR signals that the components can understand.
RF controls also offer single button "Macro" automation that makes several devices work together with one simple button press. That's huge. To watch a movie the old-fashioned way, the user may have to dig through the couch cushions to find the right remote, turn on the TV, use a different remote to turn on the DVD player, figure out which button to press to change the input on the TV, turn on the sound system, curse quietly under their breath and finally press play.
Jeff O'Heir talks to Univeral Remote Control's Eastern regional manager, Scott Srolis, about the new KP-4000 in-wall touch panel.
Universal Remote Control this week announced that its Network Series controllers can now integrate iTunes with other home control functions. Users can now control the iTunes library from any computer or Apple TV unit in their home through their URC controllers.
The Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) Monday announced this year's winners of its annual vendor awards. The award winners, being presented for the ninth straight year, were nominated by HTSA's board of directors and chosen by association members.