Component Audio Sales Surpass Portable Audio – According to latest statistics from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), sales of portable audio products slipped by 4.1% in September while home audio components surged 121.5%. The combined sales of all audio categories, including car audio, totaled $864 million for the month. This was an unusual turnaround for the component segment, which had shrunk in nine of the previous ten years and fell over 20% last year.

New Polk Unit Combines Many New Audio Sources – Looking something like a larger Bose Wave Radio, Polk’s new Audio I-Sonic music system incorporates reception of both XM satellite radio and the new hybrid digital (HD) radio stations coming on the air thruout the U.S. at the same dial position as the analog FM or AM broadcast. There are so far 39 HD stations, said to reach 75% of the population. The unit also includes standard AM and FM stereo reception, plays CDs and movie DVDs (when hooked to a video display), and displays text information when listening to HD Radio. Subscription to XM Radio is $12 monthly and you have to hook up a special antenna near a window. The I-Sonic is $599.

LG Electronics Joins HomePlug Alliance – The world’s largest TV manufacturer and one of the three top global consumer electronics manufacturers – LG Electronics Korea – has joined the HomePlug Implementers’ Forum Board of Directors.  HomePlug offers an open-standards approach to powerline technologies, simplifying digital home appliance connectivity.  The HomePlug Alliance of standards covers such focus areas as in-home connectivity, to-the-home Broadband-over-Powerline, and home automation applications. Seems like only a few years ago some small company introduced the first mono powered loudspeaker that received its signal thru the AC socket in another room, and now the Internet is being brought to homes via the power line!

Where PCs Meet Consumer Electronics
– is the title of a presentation scheduled for tomorrow at the first Samsung Industry Conference in San Jose. The focus will be on the accelerating convergence between computer and CE sectors. Among the concepts under discussion will be easy-to-use home media servers which can store multimedia content from a variety of home CE devices, a hybrid set-top box connecting to a home PC, and a unit combining the PC and set-top box. Further steps will be urged to make the devices more user-friendly, to advocate higher levels of quality, and to promote increased bandwidth.  The full-featured PCs being demoed are powered by microprocessors from AMD and DRAM semiconductors from Samsung.