Holiday CE Spending to Grow – According to a survey by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), although the $750 average shoppers will spend on gifts this holiday is down 2% from last year, it includes a 5% rise in spending on consumer electronics goods. This is the highest amount in the 17 years the CEA has conducted this holiday purchasing study. Electronics will account for nearly a third of consumers’ holiday spending budget. Three of the top five and four of the top ten items on adults’ wish lists are electronics. Two out of five say they’ll buy such an item for their spouse or significant other and 29% plan to buy something for themselves.
1½ watt amp, only $4000 – In case you don’t follow the tube/low-power amp/highly efficient full-range driver crowd, you might like to know that Still Audio Design is now offering their 45/2A3 Single-Ended Vacuum Tube Power amp with separate dual rectified power supply for a measly $4000 – allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. If you switch to the 2A3 output tube you can get an increase to 3 watts into 4, 8 or 16 ohm loads. And it only weighs 43 lbs.!
Problems of Home Networking Over Power Lines – Wi-Fi was a boon to home computer and entertainment users, but the electronics industry is still searching for a more idiot-proof and higher-performing home network solution – that can transmit multiple HDTV streams thruout a home, yet doesn’t require anyone to read an owner’s manual. Every electronic device in a home must be near an AC outlet, so it seems using the home’s power lines to carry Internet traffic would be a natural – but the public has never really embraced the idea. Due to homes with complex internal wiring or electronically-noisy appliances, it hasn’t worked well.
Another standard has come up for powerline networking: G.hn. Sigma Designs says it has the first chipset for G.hn products, with top connection speeds of more than 1 gigabit per second, to be available early next year. They also do a better job overcoming problems caused by interference and multiple circuits within a home. The hope is that the technology will be built directly into TV sets, Blu-ray players and other devices so they can connect to a home network as soon as their power cord is plugged in – becoming a no-new-wires solution like Wi-Fi. Sigma’s chips will be compatible with other networking technologies, including HomePlugAV and Home PNA, but the main problem may be that many connected electronic devices in the typical home that don’t have G.hn built in now. Consumers are probably not going to buy all new devices just to use the technology.
Blu-ray Music Video Sales Up – Amid news of the continual fall of music CD sales, it is heartwarming to find that a physical music format is actually enjoying growth (actually two of them: vinyl & music videos). Blu-ray sales in general are up an impressive 74% from the same period last year. But the music category is leading the sales charge. According to the British Video Association Blu-ray music titles had a year-on-year sales hike of 163% in the first nine months of this year. The music video category – including both DVDs and Blu-rays – increased during those same nine months of 2010 by 14.9%. This is helped by Blu-rays not suffering the sort of discounting that affects DVDs.