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TDK First with 6x Write-once Blu-ray

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altTDK says they’llbe the first to start shipping new 6x write-once Blu-ray discs to Europe.

With data transfer speeds of 216Mbps, these BR discs reduce recording time for 25GB disc by 17 minutes.

Protected by DURABIS2 coating to ensure the discs are scratch, light and dust resistant, retail pricing will be recommended at 17.99 euros (25GB BD-R) and 44.99 euros (50GB BD-R).


IFA Says Up, But Are Appliances Up “Right?”

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If you entered from the South entrance, there was something new this year at IFA Berlin. Berlin’s famous brown good show turned white, white as a ghost.

The ghost of appliances, that is. This year an exclusive exhibition area measuring 25,000 square metres in Halls 1.1 to 4.1 was earmarked for HOME APPLIANCES@IFA.

There’s this photo of Miss IFA precariously perched on a Siemens appliance and what a perfect visual analogy. The relationship between white goods and brown goods has been tenuous at best throughout the years. And Miss IFA won’t be comfortable for the long term on that appliance either.

The ghost of major appliances has haunted consumer electronics ever since an appliance store first decided to add a new product called TV to its product mix. Appliance/TV was one channel, radio/TV another and furniture/TV was a third.

The evolution of high fidelity (it grew out of the furniture console and into self-stacking separates) and TV (it, too, left the wood-grained box for a future separated from furniture) put distance between white goods and “brown goods” channels. And eventually hi fi dealers were born and then video stores and computer dealers. The specialty channels were born and thrived.

Some of those channels eventually added back major appliances, but normally when you see the two physically together…they mix like oil and water.

Brown goods usually require high technical knowledge for sales and service, skills which need to get more complex with time. While white goods need more practical skills and "brute force" to manipulate the devices and heavy tools required to repair them.

IFA cites their motivation as their research showing home appliances fall in same Top 10 lists for consumer purchases as LCD TVs and personal computers.

Listening “Large,” Selling the T12 Soundbar

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OK, as a retailer or installer you’ve seen many soundbars now, all with the iPod sticking up like a candle on a birthday cake.

But Orbitsound’s T12 spatial stereo TV soundbar with iPod dock (and subwoofer) comes with a unique selling point that’s both demonstrable and effective at retail.

Other soundbars digitally re-create spatial stereo while the T12 produces spatial sound using its airSOUND™ single point stereo reproduction. 

airSOUND does not produce stereo in way normal “left-right”audio works. Instead it focuses on the original principles of stereo that separates left and right information from the main signal and reproduces this “space” in a form that mixes in the air. (See the maker’s explanation below.) You can stand (or sit) anywhere within the stereo sound field. For positioning you only need to make sure the sides of the soundbar are not obstructed.

T12 can provide your customers both a big screen sound upgrade for flat screen TV or instant iPod station in the home.

A self-powered array of high frequency, midrange and airSOUND spatial drivers in the soundbar produce an identical stereo sound-field throughout the room. The subwoofer extends the frequency response to reproduce the bass and rumble. A multi functional remote provides control over the T12 and a docked iPod.

Imagine a bewildered consumer in front of a half dozen soundbars, with no clear technology distinction…only design. Then step them up to Orbitsound T12 with a demo. The sound is large and full, the design indicates it is a more serious option for flat screen use or home theatre, and technological selling proposition all make the T12 a useful line addition for installer or retailer.


The maker, Orbitsound, explains air SOUND™:

“Think of an orchestra, and you are standing in front of it. Your left ear hears all the musicians, and so does your right ear, but from a very slightly different perspective. The differences are basically twofold; there are amplitude (level) differences, but these are very slight indeed, and there are timing differences, the length of time taken by the sound of a particular instrument to reach the ear.

A stereo recording of the orchestra attempts to record the differences, and to reproduce them so that you can re-create the image in your head.

Now, think about how nearly the same these 'left' and 'right' signals are: If you subtract one from the other almost all the signal is cancelled out.. but what is left is the 'spatial' information; it's the part that gives your brain all the clues about where things are.

Adding the left and the right signals together, we get the 'main' or 'information' channel. Subtracting the right from the left and we are left with the 'spatial' channel, a strange 'whispy' sound that means little on its own.

If the 'main' channel is replayed through a single loudspeaker facing the listener and the 'spatial' channel is replayed at 90 degrees, and so that on the left you can hear 'left minus right' and on the right you can hear 'right minus left', then as long as the design of the speaker enclosure is right, those channels re-combine and you will get a true left to right panorama in sound.

The major advantages over the more conventional (but less correct) way of listening to stereo, are;

• There is absolutely no 'sweet spot'. The stereo effect is clear wherever you are.

• The placement of the airSOUND® loudspeaker is not at all critical; the sound fills the room.

• Because the sound is from a single source, there are no timing, phase and frequency response problems that are endemic with 2-speaker systems.

• As the phase relationships are more accurately reproduced, the music sounds noticeably cleaner and more clearly defined.

• On some recordings it is now possible to perceive height information that was hidden by phase errors. 

Conventional stereo from 2 speakers:

orbitsound 2 way 

  • 2 speakers produce left / right audio.
  • Sound fields interfere and cancel
  • Stereo image is limited to sweet spot




airSOUND from a single source:

 orbit sound explanation 2 

  • Speakers produce volume and stereo image separately
  • Sound fields interact positively and enhance each other
  • 'Infinite' stereo sweet spot



Go Orbitsound T12

EITO Says Digital CE Market Value to Drop

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On the eve of IFA Berlin and with EITO’s Bitkom Research being based in Berlin, we thought we’d show EITO’s latest market figures. 

But we never expected the negative result: EITO suggests Digital CE in the EU will drop in value next year.

ICT + Digital CE value*722.6743.8760.1
Digital CE value*61.262.760.7
*Billions of Euro                  **Estimated
Source: EITO

 EITO has been a trusted source (although no one ever agrees on any unit sales figures) so we guess it must depend upon the definition of “Digital CE.” A recent GfK study with CES showed worldwide CE with an impressive 10% growth in value in 2008. Yes, prices are dropping in many categories but portable navigation devices (GPS) expect worldwide revenue growth of nearly 20% in 2008, laptop computers (up 15%) and mobile phones/smartphones (up 14%) .…oh, maybe the iPhone goes under Mobile, the laptops under IT and GPS under…well, Telecom! 

See the problem? It’s getting harder and harder to define CE vs. IT vs. Telecom. 

So maybe we should complain instead about the annoying habit of lumping all ICT together as if we haven’t clearly bifurcated into B2B versus B2C models. Particularly when you try to add in Digital Consumer Electronics, why not just separate the consumer from the business? That’s hard enough… but makes more sense when trying to see what’s rising and what’s falling.

Go EITO Tracks Digital CE + ICT

RadioShack to Test Mobile Phone Stores

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RadioShack may test a high-end, mobile phone store format in USA this year. An analyst at Deutsche Bank claims RS is building three test stores to open by October and then will hope to have 10 by the year's end, 150 in the next 12 months and 400 in three years, if successful. 

RadioShack will target higher-end, non-mall real estate, and hopes to replicate the look and feel of Apple Stores by hiring same designers. RadioShack stores may add brands (T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T) not found in their typical stores.

GO Call Radio Shack

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