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Home Theater Companies Making Gear For Every Room of the House Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 September 2007

As much grief as Bose gets with audio purists, you have to admit that they were among the first, along with Bang & Olufsen to look at ways for consumers to place their gear in every room of their homes, and not just in the equipment rack of their audiophile or home theater system. Walk into a wealthy person’s home and you are likely to find a slick little B&O system in a living room or guest bedroom, waiting to spin up a CD in undeniable physical style. How many bedrooms have a Bose clock radio in them now? Beyond the home environment, Bose has their radio placed right next to your pillow in numerous top-shelf hotels. I most recently saw Bose in the rooms at The Lodge at Pebble Beach where other luxury-marketing partners include Lexus, Calaway and Avaya phone systems. Now, the companies that sell the world’s most sought-after home theater electronics are getting into the whole-house audio concept with small systems that can go anywhere. Meridian’s F80 was a striking new product debuted at the CEDIA tradeshow. Co-branded with Ferrari and packed with some truly slick technology, this $3,000 desk radio is both a very expensive toy as well as the least expensive way to get a real Meridian system into your home or workplace. The fact that this little sucker can light up a room that is 100 feet deep with 24 foot ceilings should not be lost on those who think something this small could never sound all that good, because it sounds fantastic. B&W is close to coming to market with their Zeppelin, a name that is chosen for all the right reasons. Park your iPod on the top of this boldly shaped system and prepare to rock. Boston Acoustics has a number of affordable yet slick, small products. Polk has some neat HD Radio based products. Direct reseller, Zvox has specific units designed to go into hotel rooms for superior sound at low levels.

Another way speaker companies are working to get their share of the booming HDTV market is to create all-in-one speaker systems designed to work with flat HDTVs. Boston Acoustics' TEEVEE was shown with an easy on-off button, and you couldn’t hit the button hard enough to get the little speaker back on. Zvox makes one of the best all-in-one speaker systems for HDTVs. Yamaha’s Digital Sound Projectors are also a very slick solution in the space of Front Projection Surround Sound. Their surround modes have come an awfully long way from the days of “church” and “stadium.”

Expect the AV companies to make more and more of a move into self-contained and HDTV oriented audio as the battle to get into your main theater remains vicious. The demand for electronics is there with the mainstream consumer. What the higher end companies are figuring out now, is that there are new ways to sell to them.

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