Amazon CE Sales Soar 67% – In the Second Quarter of this year Amazon.com consumer electronics sales soared 67%, but accounting losses caused an 8% decline in overall earnings. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said that low prices, an expanding selection, fast delivery and innovation are fueling “the fastest growth we’ve seen in over a decade.” Driving the gains was their best-selling Kindle e-book reader, the 3G version. A new deal with CBS allows Amazon Prime customers to stream 2000 TV episodes at no additional cost. In response to the results, a lobbyist group of brick-and-mortar big-box retailers – Alliance for Main Street Fairness – released a statement charging that Congress should close the loophole giving Amazon an unfair advantage over its Main Street competitors.
Android App for Remote Control – has been launched by both Pioneer and Onkyo. It turns a smartphone into a Wi-Fi touchscreen remote to control home audio components, and it’s free. It works with iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches and controls functions of networked Pioneer and Elite series AV receivers as well as their Blu-ray players. The app also selects audio content from a networked computer or storage device, for playback thru Pioneer’s networked AVRs. Onkyo’s version will be available next month, and it has the ability to stream music stored on an Android device to a networked Onkyo audio system. Users will also be able to browse networked content from the display of their Android phone. With both apps, control signals are sent via the Wi-Fi network to a wireless router and then transferred to the various audio components via wired Ethernet.
Any-Brand Active 3D Glasses – have been introduced by NextGen. At about $80 retail, they can be charged using a USB cable and the charge lasts about 50 hours. They are only for active-shutter-type 3D displays, and come with a lens cleaner and case.
Yamaha Aventage 3D Blu-ray Player – The new Aventage BD-A1010 universal Blu-ray disc player is part of Yamaha’s recently-launched Aventage 3D AV receiver line. It handles standard DVDs as well as SACD and DVD-Audio multichannel discs, plus formats such as WMV, MOV, JPEG (HD), MP3, MP4, WMA, WAV & AAC. Internet streaming is via Netflix, Blockbuster on Demand and YouTube Leanback services, and it has dual USB inputs compatible with a wide variety of audio and video playback formats and source/storage devices. It comes with a free downloadable iPhone app for component remote control, and later this year a similar app for Android devices will be available. SRP is $500.
Survey Reports Decline in 3D Awareness and Purchase – The NPD Group’s recent research found that tho more U.S. consumers have been exposed to 3D at movie theaters, retail venues and at the homes of friends and family, the overall awareness and purchase intent for specific 3D products declined in May from last October. Only in 3D game consoles was there no decline. They found that for the majority of consumers uninterested in purchasing any 3D devices, the glasses were the major barrier to purchasing – even surpassing price as the most-frequently-cited objection. But 42% of consumers in May reported that prices were still a barrier to purchasing a 3DTV – up 38% from last September. One spokesman said “With lighter and less-expensive active-shutter glasses, a mix of smaller displays, and the entry of passive 3D technologies into the market, the industry is offering more 3D options to consumers."