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Friday, February 19, 2010

By Jessica Camerato
They are two companies with two very different results.

MyerEmco is shutting its doors after 55 years; American Alarm is thriving in a down economy.

So what's the difference?

Tale of the Tape


When Jon Myer, CEO of MyerEmco, spoke about the closing of the specialty retailer, he offered up several words of advice for those in the custom electronics industry.

Among them was an urging to "reset into a new type of business."

MyerEmco once counted flat-panel displays as 45 percent of its business. But when vendors did not pay for months, it essentially had to finance its own sales. Items that were once a staple of Myer's revenue were being competitively sold by big-box retailers. The company also took a hit when the pre-wiring business dried up.

Despite the decline in traditional recurring revenue sources, there are still opportunities out there. The CE industry is no longer just about flat-display panels and home theaters.

American Alarm, in Arlington, Mass, is thriving, generating about $800,000 in recurring monthly revenue. It's a solid base that keeps this security company strong even during recessions when installation revenue drops.

Focusing on Recurring Revenue


It's why recurring revenue is a focus at EHX Spring 2010 (March 25-27 in Orlando, Florida). There, attendees will learn about recurring revenue opportunities in a dedicated track featuring in-depth training from…
Posted by Jessica Camerato on 02/19 at 10:30 AM
Blogs, Events, EHX Spring, (3) Comments, Permalink


Thursday, February 18, 2010

By Tom LeBlanc
CE pros are always looking for legitimate ways to stay in touch with their clients. For two weeks in February anyway, Crestron has provided a nice conversation piece with its ADMS Intermedia Delivery System Winter Olympics icon.

On the Internet TV menu, the icon provides direct access to all Olympic content and instantly plays selections in full-screen 1080p, according to a Crestron press release. Viewers can search on a specific team, athlete or browse through “Most Popular” or “Latest” competitions. ADMS also delivers related content such as interviews, background videos, photos and local lifestyle coverage.

A call to existing ADMS clients might go something like this:

Have you been watching the Olympics?

Have you noticed that your Internet TV menu now has an Olympics icon?

Do you know what it's for?

Is there anything else I can do to help you with your system?

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Posted by Tom LeBlanc on 02/18 at 07:49 AM
Blogs, Video, Digital Media, Home Automation and Control, Control Systems, (2) Comments, Permalink


Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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By Julie Jacobson
35-year X10 veteran Dave Rye takes offense to my January 2010 CE Pro Industry Insider in which I suggest that we're still a long way from mass-market automation. Below is Rye's entire rant.

Julie, I regularly read your column in CE Pro and Electronic House just so I can have a laugh to myself. I am always amused by your total lack of knowledge of X10, or is it just that you ignore us because we don't advertise with you any more?

Anyway, you said in your January issue of CE Pro, quote:

"For about a dozen years, manufacturers have tried to sell "easy-to-install, easy-to-use" home control systems to the masses, but for the most part the masses aren't buying. Despite some capable, affordable, turnkey do-it-yourself products from the likes of iControl, Mi Casa Verde, Wayne Dalton, Xanboo and others (and a great fear among CE pros), we're still a long, long way from automation at retail."

Julie, how can you be so out of touch with an industry that you cover and are supposed to be an expert on?

First of all you say: "For about a dozen years"

X10 introduced home control to the masses in 1978! That's 32 years ago! (I have been with the company for 35 years).

Next you say: "manufacturers have tried to sell "easy-to-install, easy-to-use" home control systems to the masses"

X10 doesn't just "try" sell to the masses - we DO It,…
Posted by Julie Jacobson on 02/17 at 07:39 AM
Blogs, (80) Comments, Permalink


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

By Tom LeBlanc
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GameDay Stadium theater in the Pro Football Hall of Fame features two DPI projectors.

Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith aren’t the only ones getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It turns out DPI also has been inducted — err, installed — in Canton, Ohio.

A LIGHTNING 40-1080p projector feeds NFL Films content to a custom 30-by-16-foot Stewart Flimscreen Cinecurve in the GameDay Stadium theater inside the Hall of Fame.

A TITAN 1080p Ultra Contrast projector is used in a companion theater connected by a rotating floor.

I’ve never been to Canton, but this has me thinking it might be worth a trip. DPI describes the theater as two rooms displaying separate but synchronized programs and a complementary turntable floor to move the audience.

The digital content is synchronized with an Alcorn McBride V16 Pro Show Controller, which also acts as a control trigger for the automatic doors, rotation of the theater, and all aspects of lighting and video playback.

The 20,000-lumen LIGHTNING projector combined with that NFL Films guy’s voiceovers and a rotating floor are pretty enticing.

The GameDay Stadium installation was specified by the Russ Berger Design Group (RBDG) and integrated by Altel Systems Group.
Posted by Tom LeBlanc on 02/16 at 01:41 PM
Blogs, Displays, Projectors and Screens, (0) Comments, Permalink



By Jessica Camerato
We recently told you about signs of growth in the custom electronics industry.

CE pros from around the country are eager to grow their businesses with these new opportunities.

Custom electronics professionals from nearly all 50 states have already signed up to attend EHX Spring 2010 (March 25-27) in Orlando. Registrations from California to Florida, Texas to New York, and everywhere in between affirm a nationwide interest in the event. Plus, another 14 countries are also currently represented.

The value of information attendees can gain just in just three days at EHX is well worth a few hours on a plane or in the car. (EHX offers discounts on both of those, too.)

Everything CE pros need to tap into these markets can be found under one roof. And the New Opportunities Pass grants EHX attendees access to the following event features once they are in the door:
  • Every CEDIA University class
  • Every CEU offered
  • Every CE Pro Super Session
  • Every Dealer-to-Dealer Panel
  • Every Office Hours session at the CE Pro HQ
  • Every Exhibitor on the Expo Floor
  • Every Manufacturer Training
  • Every Special Pavilion
  • Every Demo Alley room
  • EPA Lead Paint training and test (deadline for compliance is in April)
  • CEA’s TechHome Division Breakfast Session: Building Home Technology’s Future
  • CE Pro All-Star Band Jam & Reception
  • EHX Beer Bash
  • $50 Hotel Voucher at EHX properties
  • $10 Food Voucher at the convention center
  • Complimentary reservations and private dining services through the Orlando Convention Aid
Check out one Minnesota editor who is hibernating…
Posted by Jessica Camerato on 02/16 at 10:07 AM
Blogs, Events, EHX Spring, (7) Comments, Permalink


Monday, February 15, 2010

By Julie Jacobson
In this promo video for EHX Spring 2010, CE Pro editor Jason Knott describes (with his usual panache) the "New Opportunities" showcased at the event.

But look closely. I'm there in the background, hibernating until the show, which takes place March 25-27 in Orlando, Fla.

It's been a long, cold winter in my home town in Minnesota.

Looking forward to some sunshine, networking, and the CE Pro All-Star Band.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on 02/15 at 02:35 PM
Blogs, Events, EHX Spring, (3) Comments, Permalink


Thursday, February 11, 2010

By Jason Knott
Hunter S. Thompson was known for his lack of self control and use of mind-altering substances. That history is apparent in this 2-minute, 45-second voicemail he left for his A/V integrator years ago.

The voicemail was given to Jeremy Burkhardt of SpeakerCraft by Thompson's electronics dealer.

Sounding as though he was under the influence, Thompson complains that his wiring has been messed up and his new system doesn’t work. And on and on.

Hopefully this doesn’t sound familiar to any of you.

Editor's Note: The voicemail is filled with expletives. It is certainly more reflective of Thompson's character than it is of his integrator or any of the equipment.



Related: Rants from Ozzy and that guy from Modern Family

Posted by Jason Knott on 02/11 at 11:18 AM
Blogs, (7) Comments, Permalink


Wednesday, February 10, 2010
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New South Wales energy department is seeking a family to live like George Jetson in a smart house for one year.


By Jason Knott
Calling it “The Jetsons Meet Big Brother,” the Australian government is looking for volunteers to live rent free in a smart home in Sydney for one year.

John Robertson, the minister for energy in New South Wales, says the family will be testing the latest technology to save energy and water.

"This trial is about taking smart green technologies out of the lab and putting them to the test in the real world with a real family," Robertson told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "We're looking for a family with children because we know that kids use technology different to their parents."

The home is in the old Olympic Village in the city of Newington and is powered by rooftop solar panels and a fuel cell that converts natural gas into electricity. The family will have access to an electric car, OLED TV, and home controls “that will enable the family to turn lights and appliances on and off from an iPhone or laptop.”

Whoever lives in the house will be required to write about their experiences. "We need someone who can blog,” says Robertson. “And we'll probably need a family who's got a good sense of humor and plenty of patience, because not everything we test in the house we know is going to work perfectly every time.

But unlike “Big Brother,” there won’t be any cameras in the home.

Energy and water use will be monitored. All rent and utilities will be covered. The family will be selected in April or May and move into the home in June or…
Posted by Jason Knott on 02/10 at 11:59 AM
Blogs, Home Automation and Control, Control Systems, Energy Management, (0) Comments, Permalink



By Julie Jacobson
It's that time of the year again. CEDIA is accepting nominations for its annual Lifetime Achievement award, recognizing "an individual who has exhibited outstanding, creative, innovative, and visionary leadership to the growth and advancement of the residential electronic systems industry."

It's a travesty that CEDIA recognized no lifetime achievers in 2009.

We can change that! Since I am unlikely to receive the award myself -- they didn't say anything about "controversial" -- who would be your second choice for the award?

We ask this question every year. Last year, the CE Pro community recommended (in order):
  • 39 Cent Stamp
  • Richard Stoerger
  • Tied: Frank White, Jeff Hoover, Joel Silver, Noel Lee
  • Tied: Ken Moyes, QQQ, Howard Sinkoff, Don Stewart, Hank Eisengren
Previous Winners:
  • 2009 - No one
  • 2008 - Dr. Floyd E. Toole, acoustics pioneer
  • 2007 - George Feldstein, Crestron founder and CEO
  • 2006 - Bill Skaer: Eric Grundelman, Inc.
  • 2005 - Billilynne Keller, CEDIA
  • 2004 - Scott Miller, AMX
  • 2003 - Theo Kalomirakis, TK Theaters
  • 2002 - Scott Struthers, Sonance
  • 2001 - Tom Doherty, Escient Founder/Integrator
  • 2000 - John DeSilva, Runco/J.D. Marketing
  • 1999 - Tomlinson Holman, THX
  • 1998 - Ivan Zuckerman, Niles
  • 1997 - Brad Kibble, Sony
  • 1996 - Bill Cawlfield, Xantech (then)
  • 1995 - Chris Stevens, Harman Kardon (then)
  • 1994 - Sam Runco, Runco International
  • 1993 - Audio Video Interiors
  • 1992 - Albert Langella, Audio Design Associates

Who should win it this year? Vote for your "visionary" leaders…
Posted by Julie Jacobson on 02/10 at 11:12 AM
Blogs, Events, CEDIA, (15) Comments, Permalink


Tuesday, February 09, 2010
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SurgeX’s new power protection demo kit enables dealers and manufacturer reps to use IEEE tests to showcase the company’s power protection products’ ability to eliminate surges up to 6,000 volts and to filter line noise to levels that won’t affect A/V system performance.


By Robert Archer
Could it be that after years of criticism, the power protection category and more specifically, SurgeX, has found a way to effectively showcase power protection products to consumers?

SurgeX, a company that dabbled in the custom market for awhile then left the sector to focus on commercial a few years ago, has just reentered the market through its new ownership.

One of the company's first moves was to bring on industry veteran Rick Komendera as its vice president of sales. With Komendera in place, the company has since moved on to focus on building its dealer network and developing its dealer support programs, which includes what may be one of the most convincing power protection presentations ever introduced to the custom community.

Developing an effective power protection demonstration is arguably one of those Holy Grail milestones within the custom market that seems nearly unobtainable. SurgeX however may have a solution for dealers to overcome the typical obstacles associated with power product demonstrations. The company's custom-designed demo box kit produces the same tests used by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to verify and validate performance claims.

To prove the power, no pun intended, of its demo box, SurgeX demonstrated for CE Pro the differences between surge suppression and surge elimination during a visit to the company's suburban Raleigh, N.C.-based facilities.

The box can be used in the field to perform a battery of tests, including the ability to generate large amounts of voltage to replicate the effects of a power spike. And after passing 6,000 volts through…
Posted by Robert Archer on 02/09 at 05:57 AM
Blogs, Electrical, Power Protection and Management, (0) Comments, Permalink



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