Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home audio and Video Services in Matthews, NC.  TV installation, Surround Sound, Home Entertainment Systems
Happy New Year To Everyone!

Custom Installation Services - Charlotte's Source For Home Theater!With the holidays and our busier than normal schedule over the past month, it has been a while since I have posted a blog.  So, this will be different than my normal format of product news.  I wanted to post a personal blog to thank all of our loyal clients for your support over the past year.  2010 was a good year for C.I.S., with new product offerings added to our lineup, as well as new and exciting technology trends.  None of which would have been possible without everyone’s continued support!

A new direction for us this year was to “dabble” in more commercial A/V installations.  These included sports bars as well as an overhaul of the video at Lance, Inc.  This has opened up a new revenue stream for C.I.S., and one we will continue as we move forward into the future.  As part of this new commercial business, C.I.S. has partnered with ZEE-VEE, makers of high definition boxes that enable 1080p over coax for long distance runs and combining signals to existing channels for ease of use.

Another new product in our lineup is from SpeakerCraft, with their addition of the “FloBox”.  The FloBox is a single unit that allows you to dock your iPod, iPhone or iPad, play a CD, stream from the internet, access iTunes or listen to FM radio.  Combined with substantial amplification, quality drivers and a sleek, futuristic cabinet available in five finishes, the FloBox will transform any room into a concert hall at the push of a button!

I would like to again thank everyone for your continued support, and to a great 2011!  Stay tuned for more of my traditional blogs with product news and updates!

Don Miller


Custom Installation Services, LLC - We specialize in fixing the $99 TV install by our “competitors”!

Posted in 3d movies, 3D TV, Audio Systems, Automation, Blu-ray, Flat Panel TV's, Gaming Systems, Home Theater, i-Pad, LED, lighting control, Line Conditioners, Lutron Radio Ra II, Media Rooms, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, News, Panamax, recycling, Structured Wiring, technology, Theater Seating | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philips Pronto: What Went Wrong?

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Integrators and other business partners say the iPod/iPad wasn’t to blame for the demise of Philips Pronto; why didn’t Philips try harder to find a buyer?

How hard did Philips try to sell its Pronto remote-control division?

Some of the major vendors in the CE pro channel never heard from the company, which announced last week it was closing its Pronto business unit.

When contacted by CE Pro, many of the obvious acquisition partners said Philips never approached them about buying the Pronto operation or its intellectual property. Why is that?

The closure of the Pronto division strands thousands of CE pros – including integrators and manufacturers – who invested in product training and software development, not to mention inventory.

While these customers need not be the concern of Philips, which must answer to shareholders, their commitment to the Pronto line suggests that a buyer could be found if Philips tried a little harder. Indeed, some potential buyers are scrambling now to inquire about the Pronto IP.

Replying by email to several questions posed by CE Pro, Philips had virtually nothing to say about the demise of Pronto, except that it was (understandably) too niche of a line for the Philips Consumer Lifestyle portfolio.

Is the IP still available for sale?

“There is no news right now on how Philips will use its IP and trademarks related to the Pronto business.”

Was the iPad/iPod to blame? Were Pronto price increases to blame?

“No, this was a strategic decision made by Philips. Philips derives its primary strategic strength from a broad and globally divided distribution network for its consumer products. We see very few opportunities for growth for Pronto in the future portfolio of Consumer Lifestyle products. Philips must make choices regarding which strategic markets it will invest in, and the niche market for Pronto products is not one of these.”

And so on.

So What Happened to Pronto?

Since Philips isn’t talking, we are left to our own speculation about why Philips closed Pronto and why a buyer wasn’t found.

The obvious question is: Did the iPod/ iPad kill Pronto?

Probably not, according to industry insiders interviewed by CE Pro.

More likely, Philips Pronto became too expensive, versus similar products from Remote Technologies Inc. (RTI), URC, Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI Nevo) and even Control4.

Philips is based in the Netherlands. Most of the Pronto business, including manufacturing, takes place in Belgium. Philips tried to shift Pronto manufacturing to Asia, but the company continued to build product more expensively in Europe. There is some speculation that agreements within the European Union hindered Philips’ ability to build Pronto products overseas.

Last year, Philips raised wholesale prices across the Pronto product line by as much as $200.

“I think Pronto couldn’t compete in the marketplace anymore,” says Richard Scholl, CEO of Worthington Distribution, a large Pronto distributor serving the custom integration market.

Scholl says Pronto business dropped substantially last year after the price increase, and not because of competition from the iPod or iPad.

Had Pronto kept prices down, in line with its competitors, it would have made a “major difference,” Scholl says.

According to Scholl, distributors have the opportunity to buy Pronto inventory until November 29, 2010, after which Philips will no longer accept orders.

Philips says it will continue to “fulfill its warranty obligations.”

It still leaves us wondering: Why didn’t Philips reach out to the usual suspects before shutting its doors?

By Julie Jacobson

Custom Installation Services, LLC - We specialize in fixing the $99 TV install by our “competitors”!

Posted in 3D TV, Automation, Home Theater, IP Cameras, LED, lighting control, recycling, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sharing in the Vinyl Groove

C.I.S. - Charlotte NC's Source For New & Old Home Technologies!It’s easy to get swept back into the world of analog by adding turntables and a slew of cheap records to your audio rig.

This website is usually for discussing new technology. Recently, though, I rediscovered an old technology that still qualifies as new for many readers, and one that I can’t recommend enough as an addition to your audio system, especially if you consider it mid-to-high end: vinyl.

A Sony turntable I bought 10 years ago served me well at the time but had long been removed from my theater system when I got lazy about replacing its bum needle. Plus I’d become enamored with surround sound. But thanks to some electronics and speaker upgrades, and reading constant vinyl evangelism from Stereophile’s thirtysomething (my age) blogger Stephen Mejias and his “Elements of Our Enthusiasm,” the analog bug began biting again.

But aren’t turntables, cartridges and needles the kind of pricey gear that only so-called “audiophiles” invest in, you’re thinking? Yes, there are many types of ’tables, and cost can quickly escalate well into the thousands.

This time around, I figured I’d start at the very entry level. After a $50 Technics turntable find on Craigslist and $100 Cambridge Audio phono preamplifier purchase (you’ll need one if your processor or receiver lacks a phono stage), I wasn’t into the vinyl experiment for much money.

Plus, there are several respectable turntables in the sub-$400 range should I decide to upgrade. In fact, Mejias moderates the Stereophile forums, including an “Entry Level” thread with a sticky post called “Since this comes up a lot. Turntables under or $1,000” with all kinds of great turntable suggestions.

As much as I enjoyed spinning records 10 years ago, the analog epiphany really cold-cocked me this time. Perhaps my job as a custom electronics writer/editor has given me a greater appreciation of sound quality (especially when it comes to hearing demos at tradeshows), but listening to old LPs through this new setup was nothing short of nirvana. It didn’t matter that some albums crackled more than Rice Krispies—the instruments also snapped and popped a whole lot better, too.

Even while lacking the “golden ears” of some reviewers, it was easy for me—and my wife—to hear the differences between CD and vinyl versions of songs. The vinyl soundstage was wider, instrumentation was more defined, bass was tighter, hi-hat drum cymbals were thicker and livelier, and dynamic range was fuller. “I wonder if more people would the like music they say they hate if they listened to it this way,” my wife said after I forced Yes’ prog classic Roundabout on her.

And record hunting is almost as fun as record playing. I’ve bought LPs purely for the artwork; some include fancy lyrics booklets; Bookends came with a giant Simon and Garfunkel poster! You can discover gems at flea markets, tag sales, the Salvation Army and, if you’re fortunate, a local record shop. At Divinyl Revolution in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., this weekend I picked up 14 albums for $24.99, the majority of which cost $1—or the equivalent of a single, compressed song download from iTunes.

Not to mention that when I went to the Craigslist seller’s home to pick up the turntable, he gave me a small stack of records, including perhaps the most listened-to LP of all-time, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, with a sweet Dark Side pyramids poster up its sleeve. How’s that for good karma?

We know records have been making a comeback in recent years, to the point where Best Buy has added shelf space for vinyl and artists are appealing to younger-generation listeners by releasing vinyl albums that include free digital downloads of the same in MP3 format.

Of course, it’s places like Divinyl Revolution that predominantly keep the format alive and well. Even in summer tourist destinations like Saratoga, record shopping is a year-round excursion. “This is the only place like it, for about 40 miles in each direction,” explained super-cute shop proprietor Brittany Nasser, who’s kind of the anti-Jack Black in High Fidelity. “We have a bunch of loyal customers who can’t wait to hear what just came into the store.”

I’ll look forward to visiting again next summer.

by Arlen Schweiger

Custom Installation Services, LLC - Charlotte ’s Home Theater & Technology Experts!

Posted in Audio Systems, Media Rooms, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Custom Installation Services, LLC | P.O. Box 132 Matthews, NC 28106 | 704-400-8701 | dmiller@cis-nc.com
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