Naim Offers Tabletop Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Speaker – At $1499, the first tabletop wireless multiroom speaker from Naim expands its dealer base to include stores not traditionally selling high-end component audio. It will be available at over 100 Apple stores, select Nordstroms, the Herrington catalog, and online e-tailers Music Direct and BestBuy.com. The speaker’s wood cabinet packs Wi-Fi, AirPlay, UPnP, Ethernet and Bluetooth aptX connectivity, can stream from the cloud and has six Class D amps delivering a combined 450 watts. The wireless system decodes 192/24 WAV and FLAC, Apple Lossless, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, MP3 and others. Higher-res codecs require the Ethernet connection.
Walmart Tries to Improve CE Sales – Though they are the No. 2 CE retailer, Walmart feels their CE business is struggling and stagnant. It is putting in fresh fixes and a new management team behind its entertainment business. Fixes include product being more available for stores to order, simplifying the assortment, and leaning into clearing out of deleted merchandise. Supplier relationships are also being improved, but they will not do dedicated branded displays as some competitors have done. The integration of physical and digital was a major theme of a series of senior-level press meetings.
Global Shipments of UHD TVs Quadruple – Research by IHS shows that shipments of UHD LCD TVs grew nearly 400% over last year, but growth in the rest of the TV market was not as robust as in Q1. There has been a significant reduction in both plasma and CRT shipments compared with a year ago. Samsung Electronics was the top brand, accouting for over 32% of worldwide UHD sales, down slightly from Q4 2014. Fellow South Korean brand LG Electronics was the second-largest UHD TV brand in Q1, with a share of 15%. Availability of UHD TVs is primarily limited to screen sizes larger than 40 inches, where the benefit can be most clearly observed. The IHS report has detailed information on panel and TV shipments by region and size, for nearly 60 brands.
French Multiroom Audiophile Speakers Coming to U.S. – High-res stereo tabletop speakers which stream 192K/24-bit audio will be brought to the U.S. this month by Devialet, joining their Expert series of our low-profile integrated amps. The spherical Wi-Fi multiroom speakers are the Phantom ($1990) and the Silver Phantom ($2390). When used with an optional Dialog hub, up to 24 speakers can deliver multiroom audio, and multiple speakers can be paired for use in a multichannel audio system. Despite their compact size, the speakers deliver bass down to 16Hz at 82dB. The speakers also re-stream audio from audio sources connected via optical input or Bluetooth. Devialet’s own technolgy makes a million operations per second vs. only ten operations per second with DLNA.