Are you offering landscape audio solutions?

Now that we’re past Memorial Day, your customers are frequently utilizing their backyards for activities and outdoor entertaining. While you may have set up whole home audio systems for them inside, did you add on a landscape audio system to complete their audio experience? Landscape audio systems offer many benefits for your customers and for custom integrators.

For your customer, a landscape audio system offers the best listening experience outdoors. Small speakers are spaced out around the yard providing music throughout the area at an even volume no matter where they are. Unlike centralized speaker systems, the music will not be overly loud in one area just so that it can be heard in the corners of the yard. The speakers can be placed inconspicuously so that they are not interrupting the landscaping or hanging off structures. A below ground subwoofer provides depth to the sound while being hidden in the foliage.

A customer’s neighbors will also appreciate the landscape audio system. Instead of the sound emanating out from the house towards the yard, the sound points from the outer edges back towards the house. This minimizes the amount of sound that spills into a neighbor’s yard interrupting their music, conversation or serene quiet. Also, as mentioned above, the overall volume of a landscape audio system can be lower while still reaching all corners of the space.

A benefit for the customer and integrator is the scalability of a good landscape audio system. Customers get a system that can be designed specifically to fit the shape and size of their yard, maximizing their enjoyment. Integrators get a single system solution without needing to worry about mixing different products or systems together. This makes it easy for an integrator to design a system and estimate the costs and labor.

Lastly, but not least in importance, landscape audio systems offer great margin opportunities plus installation revenue. Landscape audio is not a typical DIY product, customers want a quality, professional installation. Increase your revenue this summer by adding landscape audio to your company’s offerings.

At DOW, we believe landscape audio has great potential for our customers. To help integrators, DOW has free demo loaner kits available that can be used to prove the amazing audio quality. Experience landscape audio yourself so you can speak confidently to your customers.

ONKYO, USA

During the month of December, DOW Electronics’ featured vendor is ONKYO, USA, and we are running specials all month long on a variety of ONKYO products.  In addition to the special offers, we wanted to give you an inside look at ONKYO, their best-selling products and why we, at DOW Electronics, love ONKYO.

Founded in 1946 as a division of ONKYO Corporation, ONKYO, USA, has been a leader for over 50 years in the audio/video components and home theatre systems industry.  At the beginning, the company concentrated on producing the best in audio and video components; however, ONKYO has expanded in the last decade to come to the forefront in the home theatre and digital revolutions, which can be seen in ONKYO’s over 20 production plant, development center and sales subsidiary locations.  The company’s philosophy is to deliver products that are well designed, with a focus on the basics, leaving out the frills and using the highest-quality parts possible in every ONKYO product.

“ONKYO offers our retailers a very broad line in the Home Theatre arena,” noted DOW Electronics’ Consumer Electronics Director, Ken McAvoy.  “It essentially gives them a ‘home theatre in a box’ solution, with additional options for two channel receivers for multi-zoned home systems.”

The multi-zoned function allows your receiver to play in two separate locations at the same time.  For example, you could be watching the latest Blu-Ray in your multi-media room, while your spouse listens to an iPod in the kitchen, all at the exact same time!

“Our best selling products, which are the TX-NR515 and TX-NR616, are so popular because of the second zone capabilities,” stated McAvoy.  “It is a good option for our retailers to offer as an upgrade to an existing home theatre system.”

In addition to the receivers, DOW Electronics carries the popular SKW-204 10-inch Bass Reflex Powered Subwoofer, which offers premium sound quality at an amazing cost. CNET.com reviews note the powered subwoofers’ excellent sound quality being more than ample to fill a media room with rich sound, which McAvoy states as a reason for it ‘being one of DOW Electronics’ best-selling ONKYO products.’

These ONKYO product specials are a limited time offer, and will only be available through the end of December.  Make sure you inquire about them while you still have a chance because time is running out!

CEDIA Expo 2012 Recap

Well another CEDIA show has come and gone. But, this year’s show was an exciting one to be sure. The overall attitude from the manufacturers was quite positive. With all the activity at the show and manufacturer enthusiasm, it seems like the economy isn’t as grim as one may be led to believe by the media. People are spending disposable cash on home theater equipment again, and manufacturers are bustling to come out with next generation products to meet their needs. I heard that dealers and vendors alike seem to be banking on the recovering residential and strengthening commercial markets to grow their businesses. This feeling was stoked by CEDIA’s newly released market research data reflecting a 5 percent lift in revenues and a 17 percent lift in the number of jobs in 2012 compared to 2011.

While everyone says that things are coming back, it’s obvious from booth sizes and locations they’re not coming back to the way things once were. The core mix of vendors has shifted from entertainment based products to networked based control solutions, lighting, shades and environmental controls. The old audio and entertainment based companies, who once dominated shows of past, have reduced their footprints while control based companies, lighting and shade providers continue to expand their presence on the main show floor. Additionally, switching and widget companies seem to be expanding into the control space as well with new IP-based, iPad controlled system interfaces. That’s not to say that entertainment based companies such as Denon , Onkyo and Sony were nonexistent. To the contrary, audio companies were there in force with refined offerings of traditional speakers and amplifiers as well as newly developed outdoor loudspeakers and wireless audio products for single and multi-zone applications. Moreover, there is still a focus on the home theater category with displays of high-definition projectors and screens, theater seating, memorabilia and sound panels.

Here are some of the new products and categories that I picked up on:

Wireless Streaming Audio & Video

WISA was making big strides at CEDIA. Not only did they have a HUGE banner hung at the main show floor entrance but they had a killer demo area too. They were giving a full demo of completely wireless Klipsch speaker system in full 96kHz/24 bit TrueHD audio. The sound was great. What blew me away afterwards was when we found out the HD video feed was also transmitted wirelessly (likely care of a new 60GHz DVDO system). Look for future WISA enabled products from your favorite television, soundbar and/or Blu-ray player manufacturer. Imagine simply plugging in your display or Blu-ray player, then connecting your 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system to power and having everything operate together in harmony. No A/V receiver is needed and there is no complicated setup. WISA is making this a reality and they’ve got a lot of big manufacturers behind them to see this into fruition (i.e. Sharp, Polk, Pioneer, Aperion Audio, Klipsch, etc.).

App control – Remote Controls are All About the Software!

Want to find the best local restaurant, or know how close a lightning storm is to you? No problem, just download an App on your smart phone and let it do the work for you. Expect the same for home theater devices as more and more companies are building apps to control their products over your home network. If I were a remote manufacturer right now who is shying away from network apps, I’d be worried. Fortunately, most are embracing this new ecosystem. I long for the day I can just walk the house with my iPhone or iPad and control all my audio gear on the fly. Virtually every manufacturer I spoke with told me this is the wave of the future so I may not have to wait too long.

SoundBars

Virtually every manufacturer was spitting out sound bars at CEDIA this year, and why not? TV’s today look so good and sound so bad that clever marketers are putting a stake in the sand to deliver a wide array of solutions for everything from 32-inch to 90-inch plus flat panel sets.

The one that really stood out for me was from Atlantic Technology. The H-Pass PB-235 sound bar solution put out impressively rich sound from a pair of 4” woofers and ½” dome tweeters. We demoed this sound bar in their booth with a two channel demonstration and also a 5.1 surround sound movie clip.  After the demo I walked away dazzled with the sound of this Atlantic Tech speaker without using a sub. They state it goes down to 42hz +/- 3db.  At $899, I can’t imagine a better solution on the market!

Wrap Up

In thinking about writing this blog I asked myself what I value the most about these shows – the CEDIA EXPO and CES.  I came up with the building of relationships with both vendors and dealers. As I walked the floor, bumping into so many acquaintances, it dawned on me that these are truly people shows. Seeing how interactive everyone is in the display booths , demo rooms and just walking the floor. I’m truly impressed with the sense of community our industry projects. One filled with people, products and passion for the design and installation process that feeds us all. It’s a good thing!

I look forward to going back to CEDIA in Denver next year.