Blu-ray earns HTSA support
You may not have heard of Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA), but this is because they work behind the scenes. HTSA is a buying group for A/V retailers and custom integrators. What does this mean? It means dozens of independent retailers and installers join ranks to gain volume incentives from select manufacturers to help compete against the “big guys.” It’s the same general concept of a distributor except there are added benefits like you were a direct dealer and you have access to more product. Why is HTSA important? They represent over $500 million in buying power from 62 member companies.
At CEDIA Expo earlier this month they formally announced the buying group would be Blu-ray exclusive. They base this decision on sales trends within the member companies. An internal HTSA study released just today found 92 percent of the high-def player sales were Blu-ray Disc with the remaining 8 percent mostly the dual-format LG player. They expect this decision will “strengthen retailer commitment to providing more BD-based devices to meet growing consumer demand.”
HTSA executive director Richard Glikes said, “Based on our member research and observations in the field, it is clear that HTSA customers have made Blu-ray Disc their preferred HD format for movies and other packaged video content.” He concluded that the larger manufacturer support and content availability of Blu-ray contributed to the greater adoption of Blu-ray over rival HD DVD.
The HTSA does not have Toshiba in their line-up, so this sounds a bit like a PR grab to me. They’re practically a Blu-ray only association with their support of Sony, Sharp, Hitachi and LG. They do carry Integra, and HD DVD support, but they have not released a player yet.
This must be said about these companies: they are loyal to the lines they carry, and one weakness HD DVD has is the fact that only Toshiba has players on the market currently. If a store doesn’t carry Toshiba the default format will end up in the Blu-ray camp because nearly every other company supports Blu-ray. For example, if a company supports Panasonic’s line with support from Sharp, they have two companies supporting Blu-ray Disc. A company with LG and Pioneer would have two supporting Blu-ray with the ability to have a dual-format player. A company with Toshiba (who isn’t very popular amongst custom integrators) and Philips would have HD DVD and Blu-ray. Independent retailers may not sell as much as the big-box stores, but they’re still a powerful factor in the market. With Integra now in the HD DVD camp, they have a better chance of penetrating the stubborn custom market.
My thanks to TWICE for first reporting on this development.