Keeping Afloat in Down Times

Infocomm reported a 30% decrease in attendance for the training sessions, which is a big indicator that business is weak, because companies tend to cut their training allowance, all though training is critical to an integrator.  Fall behind in training, and an integrator will see problems crop up when business picks back up.  When business is slow, this time should be used to get as much training as possible, learn about new technologies and plan for the future.  Even in a down economy, people and companies still buy.  They just make more conscientious decisions, and do more comparison shopping.  If they believe that they need a product or service, they will buy.  It is up to you to take advantage of these opportunities.

OLED Televisions, Myth or Reality?

OLED is a "green" technology.  An OLED TV will not use any electricity when turned off, contrary to LCD, which has power to the backlight at all times.  When viewing action scenes, the images will not blur because of OLED's faster response time.  OLED TVs will look like a picture hanging on the wall since it is so thin, rather than sticking out because of a heavy duty wall mount.  In fact, you might be able to roll it up when it's not in use and it can be stored out of sight, until the next viewing.  You can even roll it up and place it in a tube, and take it with you on vacation or a business trip.

On Energy Management, Manufacturing and Factory Automation

It's not enough to monitor our energy use. We don't really care about that unless it does something to change our lives or save us money. So, let's put a solar system on the roof. Now that can do both of these things and should attract our attention. But let's take it a step further. With that solar system there is a new variable in the mix --- FREE CLEAN ENERGY. What can and should we do with it.

Project Showcase - NR Audio/Video

This project was a culmination of many years to trial and error.  The house was built in 1995 and at that time, there were few options in multi room A/V.  I originally had a soundstream music and video distribution system which lasted  a few years.  When an addition was added to the house in 06, that is when I decided to change over the system.  I upgraded an old Omni to the latest Pro II and during the construction, ran all new cabling to the rooms and theater. Everything is now networked. I changed out the switches to UPB and installed the Russound system.

Review - Long-Runner HDBASE100MSW HDMI Extender

We use this solution for conference rooms, lunchrooms, hospital waiting rooms and nearly all-custom Home Theater projects. It's the bang-for-buck theory. HDMI, IRE and Ethernet from one cable save time, costs and headache. When you add up the cost of twin CAT5 x5 for typical baluns and Ethernet equivalent plus an IR Repeater you're WAY higher than the cost of this single unit.

Service Providers and the Connected Home

As consumers buy more connected and smart CE, there will be a greater need to bring these devices into the home network configuration and provide at least basic management functionality to ensure a high quality of experience, particularly in their use as video playback devices. To account for the variety of consumer desires, as well as regional differences as to which digital home features matter most, DSPs need flexible activation, provisioning, and monitoring solutions that are capable of providing support for a great many devices and services.

Social Divide…When a Tree Falls in the Forest

Businesses are investing heavily in social media.  It's where all of the action is.  But is it where all the money is at?  Research continually shows that boomers are "not quite" as social media active as millenials.  The solution is that we'll just ignore them.  Who cares if there are over 1.5 billion of them around the globe?  Who cares if they have a greater proportion of the population's disposable income?  After all social media isn't about producing sales, profits.  It's about being social.  Right? If their numbers are growing we may need to determine how we're going to reach, inform, educate, influence them or not.  But if they have the money....

Why are Cable Companies Adopting ZigBee RF4CE for consumer electronics - remote controls, TVs and

The new generation of remote controls provides more than some additional convenience for the consumer: it bolsters the position of cable operators into our home and provides them with an avenue for new services. If cable companies want to survive - they have to innovate. ZigBee RF4CE is an important path to their prosperity and growth!

The number of U.S. consumers planning to purchase a smart TV has nearly doubled in less than a year

Aaccording to new consumer research from Parks Associates reports more than 10% of broadband households plan to purchase a smart TV in the second half of 2011, up from 6% in the first half. These households, representing 50% of the nearly one-fourth of U.S. broadband households planning to purchase a flat-panel TV, anticipate an average cost of $1,000 for the smart TV, defined as an HDTV with built-in Internet access capability. Consumers show strong preferences for entertainment and social networking options on connected CE devices such as Blu-ray players, game consoles, and smart TVs. Preferred features include the ability to stream and download movies and TV shows as well as access to Facebook and online music.

Amazon unveils $199 Kindle Fire tablet and $79 e-ink Kindle

After months of speculation, it's here: Amazon's tablet, the $199 Kindle Fire, was unveiled Wednesday. Smaller and cheaper than Apple's dominant iPad, the Kindle Fire has a 7-inch display and runs on a heavily customized version of Google's Android operating system. The tablet offers Wi-Fi connectivity, but no 3G or other cellular connection. It also lacks a camera and microphone, two features found in most rival tablets. But the Kindle Fire isn't trying to be an all-in-one computing device. Amazon's focus is on media consumption, like reading books and magazines as well as watching video and streaming music. The tablet includes a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, the company's $79-a-year service that includes two-day shipping and some free streaming video access.

Best Buy Preps For 'Hassle-Free' Holiday

 Best Buy will launch new initiatives and enhance its return and price-match policies to help provide a "hassle-free" shopping experience this holiday season.  Initiatives include the introduction this fall of specially trained "connection specialists," a product of the chain's Connected Store pilot, who will help shoppers navigate Best Buy's wide assortment of mobile products and services. Other holiday enhancements include an extended return period of Nov. 13 through Jan. 24, and a promise to match the price of any brick-and-mortar competitor on any identical product between Nov. 13 and Dec. 24, excluding Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  

Blockbuster offers streaming for Dish customers

Blockbuster unveiled a video streaming service limited to Dish Network satellite subscribers, a move to better compete with movie rental giant Netflix and rival cable and satellite TV providers. For non-Dish subscribers, the company plans to unveil an online streaming plan later this year, Blockbuster president Michael Kelly told Reuters in an interview. Called Blockbuster Movie Pass, the new subscription service will start at an additional $10 a month for streaming plus movie and video game DVD rentals by mail and at the company's more than 1,500 stores.

Forecast: Expect Holiday Ho-Hos To Be Only So-So

'Tis the season to read holiday tea leaves, and three just-released forecasts predict that consumer spending will be lukewarm, at best. At the low end, the International Council of Shopping Centers is looking for a 2.2% rise. And while the trade group points out that there are many components to such a forecast, the overall trend is tepid. "No matter which metric of performance is used, ICSC projects 2011 U.S. holiday sales are likely to advance at a slower pace than in 2010 as strong economic headwinds continue to persist," says Michael P. Niemira, ICSC's chief economist, in its release. "The 2011 holiday season forecast also envisions a pace of sales considerably slower than during the first half of 2011 since retail sales generally advanced at a faster pace in early 2011 than during the 2010 holiday season." It predicts a gain of 2.7% in apparel and 1.2% in electronics; overall, it anticipates higher-end stores to fare better than moderate or lower-priced stores.

The global home automation and control systems market is estimated to grow

The global home automation and control systems market is estimated to grow from $16,888.27 million in 2011 to $35,627.83 million in 2016 at a CAGR of 16.1%. Starting off with pneumatic phase, the home automation and control systems market has reached the world of standards, protocols, and data distribution systems; which allows the home automation control structures such as security systems, and lighting systems to interact and integrate with each other. The home automation and control systems that started with wired technology have now entered the era of wireless technology with technologies such as Zigbee, Z-wave, EnOcean, and others coming up. The wide adoption of Internet across the globe has resulted in the growth and advancement of home automation and control market. The flexibility to control and monitor home automation and control systems from any point even out and far from homes is possible through Internet. These systems are also accessed and monitored via smartphone through message alerts.  

Netflix CEO admits 'arrogance,' renames disc business Qwikster

After watching customers leave and the company's stock price plummet, Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings on Sunday admitted that he had fallen victim to "arrogance" and announced changes to the DVD offering. The company's DVD-by-mail service will get a new name, Qwikster, and add the option to order video games along with movies. "We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery," Hastings wrote in a blog post and an email sent to subscribers. "We will keep the name 'Netflix' for streaming." Netflix in August announced that it would separate the pricing for online video streaming and DVDs, resulting in a hike of up to 60% for people who utilize both options. A number of customers were outraged, and last week Netflix disclosed that it is on track to lose 600,000 subscribers in the current quarter, after previously telling investors to expect that it would add 400,000. As a result, Netflix stock fell 26% in two days, equating to a loss of $2.6 billion in market value.

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