Audio News for December 23, 2011

by | Dec 23, 2011 | Audio News

Big TVs Big for Christmas – TVs are among the top gifts people are purchasing at the 3000+ Walmart stores across the U.S. this holiday season. Abt Electronics has already sold out of 55-inch Samsung LED TVs that were marked down to $1099. Southwest Florida retailers have seen a spike in TV sales due to increased competition and advances in technology that drive retailers to offer lower-priced deals. Another appliance dealer said they have seen a 20% to 30% discount in TV prices that should continue thru Christmas and the Super Bowl.  TVs had seemed so Christmases ago as consumers tightened their budgets and technologies such as 3D failed to spark much interest. But now shoppers are responding to discounts of up to 50%. Overall unit sales are up 15% this year thru October according to the latest data from NPD Research Group. One buyer who had just bought a 70-inch Sharp LED TV said “The prices are so good with two-year financing.” He paid $2600 and said that a couple years ago he had seen similar displays for sale in the $3500 to $4000 range. Merchants have long depended on consumer electronics to do well over the holidays, but weren’t expecting TVs to be hot this season. The most-wanted gifts this season were supposed to be clothes (No. 1) and tablets like the iPad (No. 2). One dealer said “The $2000-and-up-TV is where we’re really seeing the spike.”
Chinese Speaker Company Edifier Buys Stax – The super-high-end electrostatic headphone maker Stax has been purchased by the large Chinese speaker maker Edifier for about $1½ million.  The chairman of Edifier says he is a Stax fan himself, and his plans for the company include having the current Stax team remain, making their classic product lines in Japan. A new brand will be developed for lower-cost electrostatic headphones, Edifier will provide diaphragm material to Stax, industrial design assistance, efficiencies of its marketing and service network.
Microsoft Ditches CES For Its Own Shows – Microsoft will follow the action of its rival Apple, who stopped exhibiting at tradeshows in 2009, and announced that the January 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will be their last. Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, said that CES doesn’t accommodate Microsoft’s ‘milestone’ schedule.
Thiel to Show SmartSubs at CES – High-end speaker maker Thiel Audio will unveil its next generation of SmartSub powered subwoofers. They work with a companion passive crossover module to integrate with a variety of Thiel speakers in home theater and stereo systems.  The module adjusts the subs’ response to the natural frequency response and bass roll-off of the different Thiel speakers. It extends a system’s bass response down to 20Hz and delivers nuance and detail without sacrificing impact and power. All the modules now have thermal compensation circuitry.
CEA Ends Tech Enthusiast Program – The Consumer Electronics Association is discontinuing their Tech Enthusiast program, which was a paid membership category within CEA designed for individuals. CEO Cary Shapiro said it failed to attract the large numbers needed to make it viable, but the CEA is implementing a free consumer portal at with tech information. It is also redesigning the home page to encourage more consumers to interact with the CEA.

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