Philips’ Advanced Remote Controls – Several manufacturers exhibited improvements on the “universal” remote control at the recent WCES, as the industry has realized that frustrations with operating the table full of remotes for AV components is limiting the enjoyment of the entertainment gear by many members of the family. Philips Electronics is one, expanding their Pronto family of controls with two new models which allow custom installers to simplify the entertainment experience for consumers while providing customized advanced features to suit special needs. The new remotes can control more than 1,100 different brands and enable installers to provide an uncluttered environment by combining multiple remotes into a single unit. The new remotes feature a display screen with icons which can be personalized by an installer to meet each consumer’s preferences. Buttons can be linked to one another graphically and right-click menus have been added, resulting in more work being accomplished in a shorter time. The new remotes are priced from $199 to $999.
HDTV Penetration Now 15% – According to the Consumer Electronics Association, about 15% of U.S. households now have HDTV. As the preferred flat-panel displays come down in price, more buyers are turning to them. Even higher definition sets are now coming on the market, although the public is not fully aware of the new development of 1080 progressive – which provides an image said to be twice the resolution of most 1080 interlaced sets. Though neither telecast nor the upcoming hi-def DVDs provide 1080p sourcing, the sets upscale to that resolution for now, thereby improving the screen image of HDTV and even standard DVDs.
Panamax Acquires Furman – Panamax, makers of a wide range of innovative power conditioning products and related electrical systems, has acquired Furman Sound Inc., which produces audio and video signal processors as well as AC power conditioning and distribution products. Furman has been more active in the professional audio area, thought they also make a line of power management products especially for home theater systems. Both companies are part of the Home Technology Group of Linear LLC, based in Carlsbad, CA. A spokesperson for Linear said that Furman’s offerings will “neatly dovetail with those of Panamax and expand our reach beyond the residential market and into the music industry.”