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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Nov. 7, 2001

Holidays Looking Bright for Consumer Electronics - According to a recent survey by the Consumer Electronics Association, 77% of consumers plan to buy at least one consumer electronics product as a gift this holiday season. DVD players, headset CD players, digital cameras and wireless phones are among the top products. The survey found that despite consumers feeling the U.S. Economy was in a worse state that at this time last year, they expect to spend roughly the same amount on gifts this year as last year. Concerns over the economy and safety are leading consumers to purchase electronic products that allow families to stay connected and share time in the home. 70% of those surveyed planned to shop at a brick-and-mortar electronics retailer, while 36% planned to shop online. The CEA also reported that DVD and DTV sales flourished during both August and September.

Logo IDs to Simplify Digital TV Interconnections - The Video Division Board of the CEA has approved a system of identification and logos to ease consumer adoption and retail marketing of various digital video products using the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) standard connector. The new logos were developed to aid consumers in matching digital products that would work with one another. Among the terms to be used are DTVLink, DCAMLink, DVDLink and WEBLink.

Home Theater in a Box Gains in Popularity - Consumers in recent years have spend an average of $3,400 for their home theater components. Spurring penetration of HT has been the simplified home-theater-in-a-box systems now offered by many leading manufacturers. The package normally includes an AV receiver, five speakers and a powered subwoofer. In some cases a DVD player is part of the mix. All the cabling and complete instructions are included. (Hopefully it explains you shouldn't set the surround speakers on top of the front speakers, as I have seen in many HT systems!) The trend has become so mainstream that Consumer Reports reviewed some of the systems in its current issue and gave its highest rating to a system from Kenwood. This may correct the unrealistic numbers previous surveys of surround sound-capable homes have shown; owners may have had surround receivers, but few bothered to hook up and deploy the center and surround speakers.

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