Twice 0688 - August 2020

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THE BUSINESS OF CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

August 2020 • Volume 35 • Issue 8

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TOP 10 BACK-TOSCHOOL GEAR BUSINESS IN THE COVID-19 ERA? 'CHALLENGING'




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Grant Morgan, Senior Editor grant.morgan@futurenet.com @GrantMorgan77

The Countdown Is On!

It’s Time To Announce Our VIP Award Winners!

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t’s one of my favorite issues of the year: the 2020 TWICE VIP Awards! First, let me congratulate all the winners of this year’s awards - you brought the best and the industry has spoken! This is my second year overseeing the awards, and it’s always fun and exciting to see the newest consumer electronics and services firsthand. The response was great from our voters as well! Thank you for taking the time to vote. This past month was an eye opening experience for my family as my wife and I fought off COVID-19. We made it through and are doing well now, but it was a miserable experience. I experienced firsthand how difficult it was to function as an employee with COVID, but I am so grateful for technology and the flexibility my parent company has that enables me to work from home. Thank you to all the employers and business owners out there who remain flexible with their employees and make it possible for them to recover while still feeling supported. I don’t need to tell anyone that our world is full of uncertainty and change. Many of you are experiencing major changes in the workplace, and it might feel as if the current situation may never end. Fortunately, there are still plenty

of bright spots and silver linings in the industry. As author Steve Maraboli said, "Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient." Being agile and increasing your endurance is key to surviving as a business and as an employee in this quarantined world, and there are examples of success and determination all around. Take some time to thank those silent and not-so-

Being agile and increasing your endurance is key to surviving as a business and as an employee in this quarantined world. silent heroes in your life. Your gratitude and encouragement may be just what they need to have the strength to carry on. This month, TWICE brings you all the winners and entries of the 2020 TWICE VIP Awards, along with a look at the Top 10 Back-to-School Tech for students to survive the shifting educational landscape. Enjoy your summer and stay healthy!

The Best of Show Awards recognize outstanding new products which would have exhibited live at CEDIA Expo 2020. With CEDIA going virtual, the awards (and following ebook) present a unique opportunity to get your products in front of thousands of home technology professionals and enthusiasts. Don't wait – the deadline to enter is September 1st! Enter at https://bit.ly/3gie7wv

A Huge Thank You To All Our VIP Award Entrants And Voters!

We’d like to thank all our entrants and those who voted in our 2020 TWICE VIP Awards. You brought the best and the industry has spoken! Many votes were close, and every product entered is a great choice. You can see all the products entered this year online on TWICE.com.

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UPCOMING EVENTS All events are subject to change. Please visit the hosting company’s websites for up-to-date information. The Convention 2020 (BrandSource) August 30 – September 2, 2020 Virtual CEDIA Expo September 15-17, 2020 Virtual

PrimeTime (Nationwide) October 18-21, 2020 Las Vegas, NV CES 2021 January 6-9, 2021 Virtual

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Business In The COVID19 Era? ‘Challenging’ Overall consumer technology sales in 2020 is surprisingly good, depending on what you’re selling and how you’re selling it By Stewart Wolpin

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“We are finding business challenging with the advent of COVID-19,” understates Joseph Akhtarzad, co-owner of Video & Audio Center, unintentionally encapsulating what everyone in the consumer technology industry is experiencing these days. In-store traffic is down. Staffing presents uncomfortable and conflicting moral and economic conundrums. Vendors can’t seem to produce the products they want or deliver the products retailers need. Retailers are discovering demand for products in unexpected volumes. And yet…. “Business is far stronger than originally anticipated,” reports Dave Workman, CEO and president of the ProSource buying group. “The consumer seems to be prioritizing in-home spending over other discretionary categories such as travel.” Robert Cole, founder-CEO of

Philadelphia’s World Wide Stereo, offers a less rosy view of the state of today’s consumer technology business. “The virus has proven resilient, the government incompetent and many people foolish, and we are still in the first wave. People who think this is the second wave are dreaming. But retailers are scrappy people and generally will find a way. You either find a way or we go out of business.” This divergence of opinion is reflected in conflicting retail sales numbers. In its May retail results, the U.S. Census Bureau depressingly reported that electronics and appliance dealer sales were down 19.3% for the first five months of 2020 compared to the same period last year. But according to Stephen Baker, VP and industry advisor for technology & mobile for the NPD Group, these government numbers include only retailers who specialize in electronics and appliances, and not the broad expanse of retailers who sell consumer technology. Accounting for the entire universe of

consumer technology outlets, NPD has conversely measured a 9% increase in overall consumer technology sales revenue, with 19% and 23% sales revenue increases for April and May, respectively, reflecting disparate parts of the country reopening. This statistical polarity, however, does reveal a wide spectrum of retail success, survival and failure. Retailers of all types, shapes and sizes in all regions of country have either taken the opportunity and been forced to rethink nearly all facets of their business to survive or even succeed – how they attract, communicate with and sell to customers, how they merchandise, what products they stock, how they get goods from vendors, and how they get goods to customers. According to a May survey by the Nationwide Marketing Group, 60% of brick and mortar dealers made some adjustment to their operations during the pandemic, including 27% who reported reducing hours, while 33% added e-commerce, 31% added online chat, and 14% produced live demo videos. “Obviously retailers who could stay open, or those who had a well-run and functioning online store, outperformed others,” Baker observes.

CHANGED SELLING METHODS

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With in-store sales largely curtailed, most retailers have re-jiggered their e-commerce strategy. “Until the pandemic subsides, retailers need to get their omnichannel processes down to a science,” says Sucharita Kodali, retail analyst for Forrester. As a result, the share of revenue from e-commerce has skyrocketed. While the importance of e-commerce has been rising gradually each year, NPD reports that 59% of consumer technology revenue emanated from e-commerce during the first four months of 2020, compared to 48% of overall sales revenue for the first four months of 2019. But it’s not just the rising importance of e-commerce, but how brick & mortar retailers are bending e-commerce to their will. “A website that is not transactional, or does not have live inventory, is not OK these days,” advises Robert Heiblim, co-founder at Bluesalve Partners consulting. Visit https://bit.ly/3g9KQ7m to continue reading the entire exclusive article on TWICE.com.


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Maximizing Your Organization’s WorkFrom-Home Productivity To be sustainable, working from home should not be considered a perk or a novelty By Steve Greenblatt, CTS, president and founder of Control Concepts

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iscussions about working from home have been growing louder among many business circles within and outside the AV industry and have crescendoed during recent months. The need to stay at home, coupled with the availability and benefits of technology, have made working from home a more desirable reality for a greater percentage of the workforce both young and old. For my organization, it started with trying to solve a hiring problem and the inability to find local talent that fit our team. The initial results were far from seamless and borderline unsuccessful. However, the shift

to an agile, mostly virtual team geared to work from home has proven to be an asset, especially during the pandemic of COVID-19. While many consider working from home to be an occasional change of pace, break in routine, or opportunity to have an easy day, it is becoming an important and effective way of life for more and more professionals and businesses.

RELATED: STRATEGIES FOR REMOTE WORK AND MANAGEMENT In order for it to be sustainable, working from home should not be considered a perk or a novelty. It should be looked at as a business strategy to maximize effectiveness and productivity and serve as an added employee benefit. Working from home isn’t

as simple as eliminating office space and allowing everyone to stay home while maintaining business as usual. Working from home is a shift in mindset to building a virtual team that requires a clear change in the makeup of an organization, including how it is run. While it may not be apparent from the onset, significant thought, consideration, effort, and willingness to change needs to go into a successful workfrom-home arrangement. Everything from the hiring process, organizational structure, working relationship between team members, and the manner of conducting business needs to be adjusted. For a majority of organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unexpected and likely abrupt trial of a work-from-home arrangement. While some find working from home as a breather from the daily commute, the distraction of office interruptions, the need to dress up, or the rigidity of a typical workday, others struggle with the lack of structure, routine, and personal interaction. Whichever the case, the success and longevity in a work-fromhome arrangement involves an adaption to a new environment and manner of conducting daily activity. Working from home requires give and take from both the employer and employee. Those who work from home regularly or have team members who work from home know that it involves a real-time merger of business and personal lives that differs from traditional working arrangements. Home working environments can vary significantly. While some prefer or have the ability to work in solitude, others need to share living spaces with a spouse, roommate(s), kid(s), and/or pet(s), making occasional distractions or sounds from home acceptable and expected. Those who work from home permanently likely have a dedicated space that is more comfortable and committed to their needs, while the occasional home worker may not be as settled. Read the rest of the article on TWICE. Go to https://bit.ly/30XxAwe. Steve Greenblatt, CTS, is president and founder of Control Concepts, a provider of specialized software and services for the audiovisual industry.

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How To Create Authentic Connections With Customers During COVID-19 Creating experience designs is an opportunity to reach audiences in a new way and connect a brand with real efforts for social good. By Kirsten Nelson - AV Network

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onversations with customers have changed drastically amid a pandemic and the global movement for social justice, and more than ever, integrity and authenticity in relationships inside and out of a company will have significant impact on business. Branding efforts can make sure you connect with your clients now and into the future. Sessions during InfoComm 2020 Connected recommended a variety of new ways to ensure your brand remains connected with your customers.

ENGAGEMENT THROUGH SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS DESIGN From a client perspective, creating experience designs in this new era presents remarkable challenges. But it’s also an opportunity to reach audiences in a new way and connect a brand with real efforts for social good. Addressing the ways the AV industry can help to transform large-scale experiences for consumption by audiences at home, Wiena Lin, creative director of Public Good Labs emphasized: “As we’re seeing in the midst of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, brands that are only focused on selling product are losing relevance in a

time when their consumers are distracted by very real existential issues in the world. However, when brands tie their core offerings and their values to social good, they have enduring relevance.”

BOOSTING YOUR BRAND TO CAPTURE NEW BUSINESS IN AV The three presenters in this session are definitely people with great personal brands in addition to solid company branding chops. So, this is clearly one to watch. It’s dense with practical and inspiring information from start to finish. Moderator Alesia Hendley, associate sales

engineer with Access Networks had some great advice: “Reach out. Don’t just wait for your clients to come back to you when they need help during the crisis. Be proactive, reach out. Even not in a crisis, you get recurring revenue when you build actual relationships with your clients. Do start there. Don’t just wait until a crisis comes—be engaging from beginning to end, and in the middle as well. Start there, be real, be humble, and establish a real relationship.” And branding expert Steven Picanza, co-founder of Latin & Code, had some branding advice for AV companies: “You have to differentiate in a sea of sameness. And in AV, unfortunately there’s a lot of sameness. Everyone kind of says the same thing, looks the same way, but where you can differentiate is in your messaging. Your messaging is so important. And AV companies out there, I’m screaming at you, don’t do your logo. Nobody cares about your logo, work on your message.” One of the AV and events industry’s most brand-savvy company founders and mediasavvy podcast hosts, Will Curran, chief event einstein of Endless Events, summed it up well when talking about building the image of his own business: “You have to be almost a perfectionist about it. The best brands out there are so particular about what they want. If you aren’t ahead of the game setting the rules of what it needs to be, someone else is going to define what your brand is and the way it’s going to look.”


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TWICE would like to congratulate all the winners of the 2020 TWICE VIP Awards! The annual TWICE VIP Awards celebrate the best features, design and value that new products are bringing to consumers. They are the only product and service awards voted on exclusively by consumer tech retailers and distributors. A big thank you to all who entered and voted!

AUDIO HARDWARE HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER

Winner - Helm DB12 AAAMP Mobile Headphone Amplifier The HELM DB12 AAAMP Mobile Headphone Amplifier powered by THXÂŽ AAA Amplifier Technology is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand and plugs seamlessly into any mobile device (Android, iOS, MacOs or PC supported) to deliver studio grade analog amplification from your mobile to any pair of 3.5mm headphones. The HELM DB12 AAAMP features a built-in bass boost switch for the ultimate control over your sound experience and provides +12 dB of zero distortion volume gain, improved stereo imaging and clarity (linear amplification), plus an optional user-controlled +6 dB bass boost. With over six hours of mobile play time the HELM DB12 AAAMP transforms your mobile device into the ultimate portable hi-fi audio solution. The DB12 features exclusive in-line silver coiled

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cabling delivering portable studio quality amplification with zero fuss.

PREAMPS & PROCESSORS

Winner - Storm Audio ISP.32 Digital AES MK2 The ISP 32 Digital AES MK2 is StormAudio’s latest preamp/ processor that brings the ultimate feature package required by the most demanding integrators and movie enthusiasts. With a native 24 channel decoder, the processor supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X Pro, Auro-3D, and IMAX Enhanced with outputs up to 32 digital channels (AES) and 16 analog channels (XLR). The processor includes up to 32 channels of post-processing which includes the state of the art StormAudio Expert Bass Management with flexible bass routing, up to 20 PEQ per channel, active crossovers, Dirac Live Room Correction with Bass Management, and many other parameters. Our modular platform allows the processor to be upgraded to support future audio and video technologies when needed.

Trinnov Altitude32 The revolutionary hardware platform of the Trinnov Altitude32, using a single multi-core Intel processor and Trinnov OS, has helped make it the undisputed leader in home theater processors. It remains the only processor capable of discretely rendering 32 channels of Dolby Atmos and all 30.2 channels of DTS:X Pro. Upgradeable through software downloads, this truly sustainable product gets better over time with the addition of new features and avoids obsolescence when new technologies arrive, unlike other manufacturers that must wait for third parties to develop new chipsets. Using a unique, four element 3D calibration microphone, our loudspeaker/room Optimizer is recognized as best-in-class by users and reviewers from the professional, cinema and high-end home audio worlds. Further, the exclusive loudspeaker remapping enables one set of loudspeakers to reproduce all three immersive audio formats with spatial accuracy, ensuring listeners hear sounds where mixers placed them, not where the loudspeakers happen to be.


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TURNTABLES

Winner - Como Audio Streaming Turntable If you have ever listened to a master recording on vinyl, it is hard to go back to digitally recorded music. With the addition of the new Como Audio streaming turntables, you can play vinyl records in one room and stream them all over the house to all Como Audio products. The Como Audio turntable is precision belt-driven with a real wood veneer or multi-layer high gloss piano plinth with a medium density fiberboard (MDF) substrate and an anodized aluminum speed knob - all designed to perfectly complement existing Como Audio music system finishes. It can be conveniently connected wirelessly via Bluetooth 2.1 or with an audio cable using the integrated moving magnet phono pre-amp output to any Como Audio or other music system’s Auxiliary input. A heavy 300mm diameter metal platter provides smooth rotation with decreased resonance. The 8.6" tone arm is fitted and specifically optimized for an Ortofon magnetic cartridge.

AUTOMOTIVE AUDIO

Winner - SiriusXM Tour Radio with 360L The SiriusXM Tour Radio with 360L exclusive technology combines the best satellite and streaming features, including personalization and access to the most SiriusXM channels. Create Personalized Artist Stations Powered by Pandora. , The 360L gets smarter the more you listen with recommendations curated just “For You” based on your listening history. Use the built-in microphone to search for content, to tune channels, browse categories, and find games of favorite sports teams with Voice Search Tuning and Discovery. Real-Time Sports gives you score updates of your favorite teams with home and away broadcast feeds. Gain access to a wealth of recorded shows, interviews and events with On Demand content, plus stream 100+ Xtra Channels. The Tour Radio supports several ways to connect to your car stereo including Bluetooth.

COMPUTER & GAMING GAMING DESKTOP

Winner - MSI Trident 3 Shatter the traditional design and norms, the Trident 3 are the most powerful mini gaming desktop. Equipped with the latest 10th Gen Intel® Core processors and Nvidia GeForce RTX SUPER graphics, it weighs only 6.9 lbs and perfects to provide the most compelling performance anywhere you go. When it comes to cooling, the Trident also addressed all gamers' concerns by utilizing MSI Silent Storm Cooling technology. By separating the CPU and VGA in different chambers to optimize airflow, MSI keeps both the heat and noise level low. Tailored to your gaming setup, you can place your Trident 3 vertically or horizontally with the included exclusive stand. No doubt, with its light and agile design that accompanied with the bevel cut exterior, the MPG Trident 3 is a gaming machine as well as a centerpiece to your home furnishing

GAMING LAPTOP

Winner - MSI Computer GS66 Stealth The GS66 Stealth is a 17.3in gaming laptop that offers a premium quality and features of a high-end machine. The GS66 maintains a professional look with it black and gold color scheme that stands out from the gaming laptops. It is able to handle the most demanding AAA titles with the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX SUPER graphics, 10th Gen Intel processor and a 300Hz refresh rate display. The GS66 is only 4.96 lbs and 0.75in for high performance and larger display inside of a smaller chassis. It also features an extrawide glass touchpad with silky-smooth tracking, plenty of space for gestures and swipes. The GS66 is highly reviewed for its classy look and high gaming performance that pushes the gaming industry. Acer Predator Helios 300 Acer’s newest Helios 300 gaming notebooks continue to offer the best performance for the dollar. The all new PH315-53-72XD includes the latest 10th Generation Intel® Core

i7-10750H Mobile Processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with Max-Q Design graphics and a 144Hz 15.6-inch FHD IPS display, making it one of the most powerful feature-packed and affordably-priced gaming notebooks available. Equipped with 16GB of memory and a fast 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, it delivers the speed and storage needed for large libraries of AAA games and movies. DTS:X Ultra Audio delivers high-end 360° surround sound and gives movies, music and games real world spatial sound. Customengineered cooling technology includes a newly designed 4th Generation AeroBlade 3D fan which reduces noise while increasing airflow, Acer CoolBoost, which allows manual adjustment of the fans to keep critical areas continually cooled and strategically placed intake and exhaust vents. Acer Nitro 5 Acer’s Nitro 5 line continues to deliver powerful gaming at an amazing value with its newest model, the AN515-44R99Q. It features an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H Mobile Processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics, making it ideal for gaming. The AMD Ryzen 5 4600H features 6 powerful Zen 2 cores for disruptive multithreaded performance. It is supported by a 256GB M.2 PCle SSD and 8GB of memory (expandable to 32GB). An improved thermal design includes dual-fans, strategically placed intake/exhaust ports and four new heat vents that contribute to an overall 25 percent improvement in thermal performance over the 2019 model. In addition, the Acer CoolBoost app can be used to increase fan speed by 10 percent and CPU/ GPU cooling by 9 percent. Other new features include a 4-zone RGB keyboard, Intel® Wi-Fi 6 and Killer Ethernet E2600, so gamers can also control network traffic and prioritize gameplay. MSI Computer GS65 Stealth The GS65 Stealth is an appealingly priced gaming laptop that offers a premium build and features of a high-end machine. The GS65 maintains a professional look with it black and gold color scheme that stands out from the traditional gaming laptops. It is


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able to handle the most demanding AAA titles with the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, 9th Gen Intel processor and a 240Hz refresh rate display. Even with powerful performance, the GS65 is only 4.4lbs and 0.69in for extra portability and gaming on the go. For its trim level, the GS65 is loaded with an admirable ports selection. It also features an extra-wide glass touchpad with silky-smooth tracking, plenty of space for gestures and swipes. The GS65 is recommended by tech reviews such as techradar and PC Mag, it’s classy look and high gaming performance pushes the boundaries for a thin and light gaming laptop.

GAMING MONITOR

Winner - MSI Computer Optix MPG341CQR The Optix MPG341CQR is an award winning gaming monitor that is heavily recommended by acclaimed media such as PC Mag, IGN and Tech Radar combines gaming performance with a wide range of exclusive features. This gorgeous 34” ultrawide (21:9 aspect ratio) panel displays at a stunning 3440 x 1440 resolution with 144hz refresh rate which is considered the sweet spot for high frame rates and amazing detail. Included is a built-in smart assistant (Amazon Alexa) that transforms this gaming monitor into so much more than a display device. Adapting the normal features of Alexa, you also get to control your monitor settings with your voice. Designed with Steelseries Gamesense, this monitor’s RGB lighting can react to in-game situations in real-time. Got attacked? It might flash red to warn you. Someone healing you? It might glow green. This deep connectivity allows for immersive gaming sessions like never before! ViewSonic ELITE XG270QC The ViewSonic ELITE XG270QC is a 27-inch WQHD curved gaming monitor capable of achieving a 1ms (MPRT) response time. With its 165Hz refresh rate and AMD

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FreeSync Premium Pro technology, this enthusiast monitor ensures smooth and uninterrupted gameplay for even the fastest scenarios. The ELITE XG270QC monitor is also equipped with PureXP technology to drastically reduce motion blur for clear visuals through finely tuned backlight strobing. With a peak luminance of 550 cd/ m2 and 90 percent DCI-P3 coverage, the XG270QC is certified for VESA DisplayHDR 400 to deliver an ideal entry point into HDR gaming. This monitor includes ELITE Design Enhancements (EDE), including a built-in mouse bungee, headphone hook, ELITE RGB ambient lighting, and a sturdy metal base. LG UltraGear Monitor (27GN950) The 27-inch UltraGear 4K monitor boasts a 1ms Nano IPS display with a refresh rate of 144Hz, overclockable to 160Hz. The unit offers hardware calibration to maximize the ability of LG's IPS technology to realize precise color reproduction. As one of the world's fastest 4K gaming monitors, it utilizes innovative Oxide thin-film transistor (TFT) technology. This display boasts a thin-form, minute bezels, a curved high-definition screen, and the use of new processing technologies to facilitate a higher resolution and frame rate. Its G-SYNC compatibility allows users to enjoy images without tearing or stuttering, reducing input latency for a seamless gaming experience that boasts smooth, natural motions. LG’s UltraGear monitor is also the official gaming monitor of Evil Geniuses, one of the most iconic esports teams in the world.

GAMING PERIPHERALS

Winner - MSI Computer VIGOR GK50 The GK50 packs performance, design, comfort and versatility all into one. The low profile mechanical blue switches provide a moderate travel distance and operating point that brings accuracy to your typing or gaming demands. Ergonomic high-low keycap design to keep your hands and

wrists in a comfortable and natural position, reducing strain and pain from extended excel sessions or assist in maxing out your DPS mid-match. Alt+Tab between the office and the battlefield, as the GK50’s brushed aluminum finish, streamlined braided cable and addressable RGB keys make the perfect fit for any setting. Harness the keys to success with the MSI GK50LP.

LAPTOP

Winner - Acer Aspire 5 The Acer Aspire 5 is a dependable workhorse that is ideal for families, students and small businesses needing a powerful, function-rich notebook. The Aspire 5 line is available with a wide range of technology, ranging from budgetfriendly entry-level models to performance systems with the latest AMD 4000 Series processors or 10th Gen Intel Core processors. Plus, select models include dedicated AMD Radeon Vega or NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics, extending the models capabilities beyond everyday computing requirements to handling heavier content creation and even casual gaming. The Aspire 5’s premium aluminum cover has a smooth finish with a comfortable tactile finish that feels and looks great. The narrow 7.82mm bezel design offers more real estate for amazing images and video on the large 15.6inch Full HD display. Also, select models include a fingerprint reader compatible with Windows Hello for quick and secure login, and the latest 801.22ac WiFi keeps customers connected. Acer Swift 3 The Acer Swift 3 notebook powered by AMD Ryzen 4000U series processors offers the maximum performance for the value. Ideal for power users on a budget, the Swift 3 comes in models with up to an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U processor to deliver astounding performance rivaling systems costing more than twice its price. It takes on powerhungry tasks while delivering a solid combination of efficiency and power, and is paired with AMD Radeon Graphics for enhanced imaging and video. The Swift 3


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provides up to 11.5 hours of battery life and can be fast-charged in only 30 minutes for up to 4 hours of use. Customers will also appreciate the portable design and latest features including fast and reliable Dualband Wi-Fi 6 AX200 (802.11ax), an embedded fingerprint reader for quick and secure logins, and USB Type-C ports for superfast 10 Gbps data transfers, Display Port functionality and power delivery. Acer Chromebook 715 The new Acer Chromebook 715 is a premium device that pairs the latest technology and business-worthy features with an impactresistant chassis that boasts military-grade (U.S. MIL-STD 810G) durability. The anodized aluminum chassis resists dents, bending, chips and corrosion. It handles drops from up to 48 inches and withstands up to 132 pounds of downward force. Ideal for financial business functions, the Chromebook is Acer’s first to include a dedicated numerical keypad to speed up data input. The 8th Gen Intel® Core processor ensures quick app-loading, smooth graphics and fast multitasking. The Acer Chromebook 715 features an optional embedded fingerprint reader that is ideal for environments where employees share the device. Plus, the scratch- and moistureresistant Corning Gorilla Glass touchpad allows smooth navigation, while the immersive 15.6-inch Full HD touch display vibrantly showcases images. The Acer Chromebook 715 has Citrix-ready certification and comes with Google’s Chrome Enterprise solution.

MONITOR

Winner - ViewSonic VP2785-2K The ColorPro VP2785-2K monitor is a QHD monitor that covers 100 percent of the Adobe RGB color space and 96 percent DCIP3 color gamut. This stunning 27-inch monitor is perfect for photographers, graphic designers, video editors, print departments, and other design professionals. An integrated color uniformity function ensures consistent chromaticity across

the screen, while a 14-bit 3D look-up table generates a stunningly smooth palette of 4.39 trillion colors. The VP2785-2K is recognized by Fogra as a Class A FograCert Softproof monitor. That means a highquality visual match is consistently achieved between the VP2785-2K and a reference (typically defined by a printing condition). Visual characteristics include provisions for testing uniformity, profile accuracy, gamut, and colorimetric accuracy. As a FograCert Softproof monitor, the VP2785-2K ColorPro can be relied upon to deliver color-accurate, true-to-life images every time.

TABLETS

Winner - Samsung Galaxy Tab Active Pro Samsung Galaxy Tab Active Pro, a new ruggedized tablet, is purpose-built to meet the business needs of those in harsh work environments and beyond office walls. It can withstand drops, shocks and vibrations, as well as extreme temperatures, humidity and altitude, earning it the military-grade MIL-STD 810G certification. It’s also IP68certified water and dust resistant throughout, including its S Pen, which can be used on a wet display. Its innovative display includes settings that enable touchscreen interaction while wearing work gloves, and it also includes a physical, programmable button at the top of the device for quick launch of top applications. Tab Active Pro’s removable back panel allows for easy swapping of batteries while on the job. So whether it’s a utility employee trying to investigate a power outage or a trucker facilitating deliveries, Tab Active Pro meets the diverse conditions and needs of users in the field.

HEADPHONES BUSINESS AUDIO

Winner - EPOS ADAPT 660 Whether revitalizing the open office or working on-the-go, the ADAPT 660 headset boosts both the efficiency and well-being of the wearer: the ultimate audio companion for today’s mobile workforce. A fully wireless design, the ADAPT 660 allows its user to stay focused while boosting

productivity. Thanks to a four adaptive ANC microphone system, the headset constantly monitors external environments and adjusts the level of noise reduction accordingly. Additionally, users can ensure superb call clarity which harnesses machine learning developed algorithms and three advanced microphones to optimize voice pick-up meaning a natural conversation experience for all call participants. The ADAPT 660 upgrades to further audio performance thanks to UC optimization, and multi-point connectivity that enables users to switch easily between devices by pairing two Bluetooth devices simultaneously, thus enhancing both flexibility and versatility. With an exceptional battery performance of up to 30 hours, the ADAPT 660 is optimized for all-day usage

HEADPHONES $100-$299

Winner - Cleer Flow II Noise Cancelling Headphone with Google Assistant A best-in-class noise cancelling headphone, the foldable Flow II features up to 20-hours of audio playback. It offers both an ambient aware and noise cancelling mode, as well as a Google Assistant voice interface. Cleer’s Ironless Driver technology ensures that whether you are listening in isolation or Ambient Aware mode, the sound quality is accurate, balanced and dynamic with minimal distortion. Swipe controls allow you to control the volume, skip a track with a single gesture or engage Conversation Mode by pressing your hand to the left ear cup temporarily activating Ambient Aware for to hear notifications or have a quick conversation without removing the headphones. If you need more playback time, Flow II is quick charging - five minutes yields a full extra hour of life. ($199.99, available in Light Metallic and Gunmetal) Cleer Enduro 100 Wireless Headphone Finally, a headphone that can keep up with your fast-paced lifestyle. These Hi-Res Audio Certified Bluetooth headphones will last as


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long as you do, boasting an industry-first 100 hours of battery life from a single charge - that’s a little over four full days of continuous music, and with its quick charge feature, you only need 10 minutes for an extra 13-hours of playback leveraging the USB-C port. Go ahead, leave your charger at home! Featuring Cleer’s patented Ironless Driver technology, these headphones allow for listening with maximum detail and low distortion. Lightweight and comfortable, these overthe-ear headphones offer plush earpads and a flexible headband for long-listening enjoyment and are foldable for easy storage. Features Google Fast Pair 2.0 for Android devices. ($99.99, available in Navy and Sand) HELM Sportsband HD Triple Driver Wireless Earphones The HELM Sportsband HD Triple Driver wireless headphones feature ground-breaking hybrid technology that delivers audiophile sound quality and an industry leading 25 hours of play time. Qualcomm’s Bluetooth 5 with APTX HD and AAC offer easy auto-connect, stability and long range connectivity. APTX HD delivers low latency, superior battery life and high speed connectivity. HELM’s triple driver technology captures every musical nuance including crisp highs, smooth mids and deep bass for the ultimate immersive sound quality experience for music, movies and gaming. An ultra-lightweight, comfortable and IPX5 rated design combined with an enhanced Mic for crystal clear calls makes the Sportsband the ultimate companion for people on the go. Lighted earpieces ensure the active user can be seen in low light conditions. And when you take a break from listening, just let them hang around your neck and the magnetic clasping earpieces mean you’ll never lose an earbud again.

HEADPHONES $300 AND UP

Winner - Shure AONIC 50 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones Pristine audio + personalization = listening perfection. Shure’s AONIC 50 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones are designed to provide listeners with premium, wireless

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studio-quality sound and incredible flexibility in any environment. AONIC 50 features adjustable noise cancellation to eliminate distractions for a truly immersive listening experience with the flip of a switch. To hear immediate surroundings, users can activate Environment Mode and personalize exact levels with the ShurePlus PLAY App. Twenty hours of battery life on a single charge provides continuous audio anywhere. Fingertip controls allow quick access to answering calls, adjust volume, or pause music. Bluetooth 5 wireless technology offers enhanced stability and a range of up to 30 feet. Users also have the option to connect to wired sources with a 3.5mm analog audio input to ensure an uninterrupted experience.

on what matters most. Industry leading 10-hour battery life playback, with up to 30-hours playback (an additional 20-hours with the included jewel box carrying charging case). Superb audio sound performance with its custom tuned 10mm neodymium drivers for dynamic listening. Adaptable Digital Noise Cancellation and Ambient Mode options are easily accessible by leveraging the Ally Plus touch pad. High-quality wireless listening with Bluetooth 5.0 and the latest beamforming technology for enhanced call quality. Easy pairing with Google Fast Pair 2.0, swipe volume and touch playback and calling controls. IPX4 water (and sweat) resistance. 5-minute quick charge feature for 1-hour of playback ($149.99, available in Warm Grey or Navy)

Audeze LCD-1 The new Audeze LCD-1 planar magnetic over ear headphones are the perfect starting point for great sound and great value at only $399. Meticulously engineered for comfort, convenience, and premium quality audio, the LCD-1 boasts some of Audeze’s most powerful planar magnetic technology together with an openback, foldable, and light-weight housing. Its 90mm Planar Magnetic drivers, which include Audeze’s patented Fluxor magnets, Uniforce voice coils, and Fazor waveguides, deliver frequency extension from 10Hz all the way to 50kHz with precision and clarity. The collapsible housing, a first for Audeze, weighs just 250 grams and features a plush memory foam headband and ear pads for unprecedented portability and fatigue-free listening. Our open-back over-ear design produces an expanded soundstage for a more musically engaging and transparent listening experience.

Cleer Ally True Wireless Headphone Cleer Ally, True Wireless Headphones Innovative technology paired with highquality listening with Twist Fit technology keeping the earbuds in-place while exercising. Industry leading 10-hour battery life playback, with up to 30-hours playback (an additional 20-hours with the included slim jewel box carrying charging case). Superb audio performance with its custom tuned 5.6 mm neodymium drivers for fullrange, dynamic listening. High-quality connectivity with Bluetooth 5.0 and the latest beamforming technology for enhanced call quality. Ally’s included wingtips provide a secure and comfortable fit, staying in-place during the most rigorous workout. Simple to control with soft touch playback and calling controls and sensors that pauses or restarts music when the earbud is removed. IPX5 water (and sweat) resistance. 5-minute quick charge feature for 1-hour of playback. ($99.99, available in Metallic Red or Gunmetal)

TRULY WIRELESS

Winner - Cleer Ally Plus True Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphone Cleer Ally Plus, True Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Innovative technology paired with complete, highquality listening freedom so you can focus

Sony WF-SP800N Sport Headphones Sony's newest truly wireless noise canceling headphones are designed for an active lifestyle. The WF-SP800N is perfect for any activity, whether it be running for the train


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or on the treadmill. This powerful sport headphone enhances music experiences with a secure fit, IP55 rating for water and dust resistance and long battery life. The SP800N also comes with Sony's EXTRA BASS technology for powerful, punchy, low-end sound, and the latest noise canceling technology to block out distractions like the sounds of the street or the barbells at the gym.

HEALTH & LIFESTYLE AIR PURIFIERS

Winner - Sharp IoT Plasmacluster® Ion Air Purifier with SHARP AIR App & True HEPA for Large Rooms (FXJ80UW) • SHARP AIR App Available for iOS and Android Devices • Compatible with Amazon Echo and Other Alexa-Enabled Devices to Allow Voice Control (Amazon Echo and Other Alexa-Enabled Devices Sold Separately) • Plasmacluster® Ion Technology Eliminates Microscopic Pollutants That Traditional Filters Cannot Trap • True HEPA Filter Captures 99.97% of Particles That Pass Through The Filter as Small as 0.3 Microns • Three Manual Fan Speeds Plus Sleep, Auto, and Express Clean • CADR Dust (334) / Smoke (324) / Pollen (361) • ON/OFF Timer for Up-to 12 Hours • ENERGY STAR® Rated, AHAM Verifide Tested, California Air Resources Board (CARB) Certified

BLOOD PRESSURE & GLUCOSE MONITORSBLOOD PRESSURE & GLUCOSE MONITORS

Winner - Withings BPM Connect The FDA-cleared, BPM Connect offers people a simple and user-friendly solution to monitor their general heart health at any time and detect issues early. In a minute, users can track their heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure with BPM Connect at home and also easily share results with

their physicians through the accompanying Health Mate app. BPM Connect offers a compact design so it can be used anywhere, even when traveling, and doesn’t require users to have their smartphone to view results. Readings are displayed directly on the BPM Connect through easyto-understand color-coded feedback. Additionally, data from the readings syncs with the Health Mate app via Bluetooth or WiFi, even when a device is not nearby, so users can see trends and share results with their doctors at their convenience.

HOME APPLIANCES COMPACT REFRIGERATION

Winner - LG SIGNATURE Wine Cellar The LG SIGNATURE Wine Cellar was inspired by wine caves that provide ideal conditions for preserving wine quality and providing the critical second aging process of your cherished wines. Exclusive Optimal Preservation Technology creates the ideal storage environment for any variety or vintage. Holding up to 65 bottles, Precise Temperature Control ensures stable conditions to preserve the wine’s flavor and texture. The smooth-running inverter linear compressor minimizes vibration, creating a gentle and quiet environment that keeps your wines' flavor profile protected against damage. Optimal Humidity Control preserves wine flavor and label quality by keeping the air inside at an ideal humidity level. With Multi-Temperature Control, users can store several of their favorite wines at the same time each in the exact climate-controlled conditions required. InstaView technology allows users to see inside by knocking twice on the door, adding layers of protection to safeguard each wine’s taste and aroma.

COUNTERTOP COOKING

Winner - CHEF iQ Smart Cooker The CHEF iQ Smart Cooker is the world’s smartest pressure cooker that touts cutting

edge technology including a secure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection, over the air firmware updates and a built in scale and calculator to eliminate the guesswork. A companion App seamlessly pairs to the hardware and provides access to step-bystep Guided Cooking, whilst a tracking pixel identifies user behavior based on recipe selections saved to the unit and App, dietary restrictions and frequency of use for a personalized UI. The Smart Cooker features 300+ preset functions that can be navigated by ingredient, weight and food type (fresh or frozen) to instruct users on cook time and ingredient quantity. CHEF iQ’s unique auto pressure release technology has three methods fit for specific dishes, to release pressure on its own at the appropriate pace for precision and safety.

MEAL PREP

Winner - Yummly app Yummly is a leading cooking app and website offering personalized recipe recommendations based on taste, preferences and dietary needs. Yummly empowers consumers to discover and save recipes, schedule meals, create grocery shopping lists and more. Tell Yummly your diets, allergies, tastes and preferences, and it will recommend recipes that match. Whirlpool appliances are compatible with Yummly Guided Cooking Recipes, which are identified by the Connected Fork icon. Step-by-Step Video Tutorials educate and remove the complexity of cooking and are easily accessed on the app. Connected recipes send cooking instructions directly to select Whirlpool smart cooking appliances and send real-time notifications to your smartphone for each step.

VACUUMS & CLEANING

Winner - LG CordZero™ A9 Kompressor Stick Vacuum The LG CordZero™ A9 Kompressor Stick Vacuum is a next-generation model with 200 watts of suction, up to 120 minutes of uninterrupted cleaning performance, a


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portable charging stand and a fivestep HEPA filtration system that handles dust, pollen and pet dander. LG’s brand new Kompressor technology condenses dirt, pet hair and debris, to fit more in the dust bin while maintaining an easy-to-maneuver design. It more than doubles dust bin capacity versus previous LG cordless stick vacuums, enabling users to keep cleaning without stopping to empty the bin. The vacuum features two upgraded quick-release rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can be interchanged swiftly, enabling continuous cleaning for up to 120 minutes while charging. It offers one-touch operation, an adjustable telescopic wand, a portable charging stand, and is backed by a 10-year limited warranty for lasting peace of mind.

display with several split-screen viewing modes. Viewers can watch multiple games on one screen, look at a computer display and a Blu-ray player at the same time, or show both a video game and a cable box on their TV. One key feature is the ability to select which input audio is sent to the display, plus the video passthrough output for each of the four inputs. This product has RS232 and IP control, in addition to control system drivers that make automation easy. This is a valuable solution for residential and commercial environments. It's easy to install and use, with inputs and an output that supports 720p, 1080p, 1440p & 4K@30Hz. The individual video-pass through output for all four of the inputs allows the installer to utilize systems with an AVR or matrix.

AV INNOVATIONS

Fibercommnd IROVF You have 4K TV and 4K sources. But what about the connection? Black box extenders and HDBIT failed to distribute 4K efficiently and with zero lag, and here comes IROVF. The new unprecedented way to do video distribution. Absolutely revolutionary. A Fiber optic with integrated extender, tiny and powerful, with no power supply, no black box, no mess, Limitless, Uncompressed and ZERO-LAG up to 10K. IROVF is the next-gen integrated super fiber-wire extender standard for 4k, 8k, and 10k HDMI video distribution and entertainment. IROVF delivers full 48 gigabit/s bandwidth with uncompressed zero-lag performance up to 500 meters with no external power supply. IROVF delivers simultaneously both VIDEO and IR remotes, serial, data, extra audios, 1/10Gbge internet, USB, ALL-IN-ONE slim flexi cable that fits drywall, conduits, keystone wall plates, ideal for Full HDR TV and even VR Gaming.

Winner - DigitaLinx Pro Series 8 Output Controllable / Selectable Voltage Rack Mount Power Supply (DL-PSU8) Control and select any combination of 5 voltages in one unit! The DL-PSU8 from DigitaLinx is an integrated switching power supply designed for converting AC into DC power. It has 2 AC input channels and 8 DC output channels and is adjustable per output and capable of being remotely managed. It offers all five of the voltages

used in the vast majority of AV extension devices. Output voltage is selectable per output channel-- 5V, 12V, 18V, 24V & 48V DC; input voltage is 100~240VAC. Voltage for each output channel can be adjusted and switched on/off through the front panel buttons, RS232 / IP commands or using the built-in webGUI. The DL-PSU8 can replace bulky AC/DC power adapters and power strips with a universal power solution located in a single rack system. Integrators can remotely power cycle each device for service purposes if needed. Metra Home Theater Group 4x1 HDMI Multi-Viewer Pro The 4x1 HDMI Multi-Viewer Pro shows up to four sources with different content on one

PROJECTORS

Winner - ViewSonic X10-4KE Combining stunning 4K resolution with smart streaming and a portable design, the ViewSonic® X10-4KE projector delivers a cinematic experience from anywhere in your home. With a lightweight design, easycarry handle, and short-throw lens, this

projector can be taken to any room in your home, including the backyard. No matter where you watch, images remain vivid and clear thanks to 2,400 LED lumens of brightness, Rec. 709 compatibility, and crisp 4K, Ultra HD resolution. Integrated Wi-Fi connectivity lets you stream from your favorite content providers, while support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant gives you the convenience of voice control. Featuring built-in Harman Kardon Bluetooth speakers and screen sizes up to 120-inches, this compact 4K projector delivers an incredibly immersive home entertainment experience.

MAJOR APPLIANCES DISHWASHER

inner - Maytag Top Control Dishwasher W with Third Level Rack and Dual Power Filtration Skip the soaking, scrubbing and pre-rinsing with Maytag engineering that puts an end to pre-work. Industry-exclusive Dual Power Filtration combines 100% microfiltration and a 4-blade stainless steel chopper to flush out food waste, so it doesn’t end up back on dishes. The PowerBlast® cycle scours away stubborn foods like egg yolk, peanut butter and even dried-on oatmeal. High-pressure jets, increased water temperatures and hot steam work together to clear food off dishes - so all you have to do is load them in. Plus, get 60% better drying with the PowerDry option. You can also put more than utensils in the Maytag 3rd Level Rack. With a specialized wash zone and room for mugs and bowls, this distinct design brings more loading space and cleaning power straight to the top of the dishwasher. Whirlpool Dishwasher with Third Level Rack Load more, run less with Whirlpool’s new largest capacity 3rd rack dishwasher that fits mugs and bowls. The third-level rack with extra wash action provides targeted cleaning for bowls, mugs and utensils you’d


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normally load in the lower racks. You’ll be able to make room for the dishes your family accumulates throughout the day, from a blender jar to baking pans, with easy-to-find adjusters that smoothly raise or lower the 2nd rack. And, the three-piece silverware basket allows you to move or separate as needed to create room for those large pans and casserole dishes. With triple wash spray, get targeted cleaning on all three racks, so dishes come out clean the first time you run. Signature Kitchen Suite Single Stainless Steel Dishwasher The Signature Kitchen Suite, features the unique combination of PowerSteam® and QuadWash technologies for maximum performance. With a TrueSteam® generator, this unit eliminates the need for pre-rinsing dishes; it is gentle enough for delicate stemware and china and has the ability to tackle heavy baking pans. It offers multiple cycles of steam to produce maximum steam coverage for 60% fewer water spots on dishes. The unit’s QuadWash technology features four wash arms instead of the traditional two; multi-motion arms rotate back and forth while spinning to powerclean dishes from multiple angles throughout the entire cycle. Additionally, a SmartRack system makes for easy loading and maximum flexibility. Homeowners will also enjoy the ultra-quiet operation. Lastly, the dishwasher is WiFi-enabled and powered by ThinQ® technology, allowing users to monitor cycle status and download additional cycles through the Signature Kitchen Suite app.

LUXURY KITCHEN APPLIANCES

inner - Signature Kitchen Suite 48- and W 36-Inch Pro Rangetops with Sous Vide and Induction These industry first dual-fuel cooktops with built-in sous vide from luxury appliance brand Signature Kitchen Suite delivers the ultimate in precision cooking and gives any at-home chef the capabilities to bring restaurant results right to the home. The Ultra-High Burners provide 23K BTUs of pure gas cooking power for better searing

and quick stir frying, while the Ultra-Low Burners simmer down to maintain temperatures as low as 100 degrees to prepare delicate sauces and sugary confections. Much like its full-sized cousin oven range, the Signature Kitchen Suite 48-inch Pro Rangetop is the versatile workhorse of the kitchen. It’s the only pro rangetop on the market to include built-in sous vide, four gas burners, as well as two-zone induction - a first-to-market thanks to utilizing 240 volts as opposed to 120 volts. The range helps you prepare more meals with less space. Signature Kitchen Suite Single and Double Wall Ovens with Steam Sous Vide Precise cooking is at the forefront with luxury appliance brand Signature Kitchen Suite’s Double Wall Oven. These versatile ovens combine steam and convection cooking for gourmet results. The convection system cooks food quickly and evenly, while the steam helps to preserve texture, appearance and taste. Also new is the steam sous vide cooking mode which allows users to enjoy sous vide results right in the oven without the need for preheating. Convenience and flexibility is a huge priority and through Signature Kitchen Suite’s app you can monitor your cooking from any location with its WiFi capability. Additionally, the SpeedClean feature helps easily clean your oven with just a ten minute cleaning cycle.

RANGES

inner - Hestan 30" Dual Fuel Range W The Hestan 30” Dual Fuel Range melds flexible cooking power with unique, usercentric innovation, with a conservative footprint to fit in any kitchen. Its dual-flow burner system allows for a robust range of heat control, from a searing 23,000 BTU flame to a continuous gentle simmer of 500 BTUs. Available in Hestan’s 12

signature color finishes, the 30” dual fuel range also offers MarquiseDisplay, an industry first, chef-friendly digital display conveniently inset right in the Marquise Accented oven handle. The highperformance oven features exclusive PureVection technology, which controls multiple heating convection systems, to optimize baking, broiling, roasting and convection baking. The distinctly angled oven door, commercial grade end caps and Marquise Accented handle and control panel feature are ergonomically designed for ease of opening the counterbalanced gentle-close door. Dacor 36" Dual-Fuel Range The perfect combination of Professional and Contemporary styling, the 36" Dual-Fuel Range boasts solid brass dual stack burners with an output of 22K BTU's and an extra large capacity oven (6.3 cubic feet) which can accommodate multiple dishes. Dual Four-Part Pure Convection reduces cooking time with superior consistency of zero flavor transfer and Steam-Assist enables you to achieve meats that are juicy on the inside yet crispy on the outside. Combine all this performance with a Wi-Fi enabled 2.25" OLED touch control panel allowing SmartThings integration for communication between appliances as well as monitoring and operating remotely.

REFRIGERATORS

Winner - Hestan 72" Ensemble Refrigeration Suite The modular Hestan 72” Ensemble Refrigeration Suite melds refrigeration, frozen goods and wine storage into one elegant package. The Hestan column refrigerator and freezer deliver dynamic food storage with easily adjustable shelving, a high-performance compressor and antimicrobial stainless steel. EvenFlow Air Circulating Technology provides uniform and precise temperature control, with independent ventilation for each compartment, and creates an air curtain to prevent cold air from escaping


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when the door opens, ensuring better food preservation. The wine cellar, which holds up to 72 bottles, preserves and stores your favorite vintages with oak racks, two distinct temperature zones, and UV protection, complemented by a triple-paned glass door and Hestan’s signature Marquise Accented door handle. The 72” Ensemble Refrigeration Suite is available in Hestan’s 12 signature color finishes, including a custom wood overlay option. LG InstaView™ Door-in-Door® with Craft Ice™ LG Electronics is redefining the art of home entertaining with the InstaView™ Door-in-Door® refrigerator with Craft Ice™. The industry-first innovation features LG's exclusive slow-melting round Craft Ice, (measuring 2 inches in diameter), which is automatically dispensed from the refrigerator without the hassle of manually filling and freezing ice molds. With the ability to store up to 25 ice spheres in the freezer drawer bin, Craft Ice creates a new opportunity for home mixologists and cocktail connoisseurs. The refrigerator also offers crushed/cubed ice for ice in three different ways. The filtered water dispenser allows users to choose between, 4, 8, 16 or 32 oz., measurements, and easily dispenses water and turns off automatically when done. Users can see inside the refrigerator without opening the door by knocking twice on the unique glass panel through the Doorin-Door® design, and with three innovative cooling technologies, produce says fresh up to two-times longer. Dacor 36" Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator This product features best-inclass food preservation with Precise Cooling Technology ensuring consistent temperature performance. A counter depth French door bottom freezer allows for extra storage while the FreshZone Drawer features four customizable temperatures to simultaneously accommodate all types of food including meat/fish, chilled drinks, dairy and wine. The large exterior ice and water dispenser features a sleek hidden display for easy access to fresh, filtered

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water, while the interior is illuminated with LED lighting. Available in Stainless Steel or Graphite Stainless Steel.

TOP LOAD DRYER

Winner - Whirlpool 7.4 cu. ft. Smart Capable Top Load Dryer, available in gas and electric Dry clothes the way you want on your schedule with the Whirlpool® Smart Capable Dryer. Sensors track moisture and temperature to end the cycle at just the right time, helping to prevent overdrying. You can create customized cycles in a few touches for the right fabric care, and even control your dryer when you’re away from home with the optional Whirlpool® app. And to keep clothes looking fresh, the Wrinkle Shield Plus option with Steam helps prevent wrinkles from setting into clean, dry clothes. Maytag Smart Capable Top Load Dryer with Extra Power Button - 8.8 Cu. Ft. The Extra Power button puts powerful drying control on any cycle at your fingertips. When heavy jeans get mixed in with thin shirts, Extra Power helps get thick fabrics, pockets, hems and seams drier the first time with added time. With additional power from the industry-exclusive extra moisture sensor, Advanced Moisture Sensing monitors inside moisture and air temperatures to help evenly dry loads. Steam-enhanced cycles and options help prevent wrinkles, refresh clothes and reduce static. Dry a small load fast with the Quick Dry cycle, which pairs nicely with the Quick Wash cycle on select washers to get clothes ready in no time. Optional smart features help you stay in control and efficiently manage laundry from anywhere.

TOP-LOAD WASHER

Winner - Maytag Smart Capable Top Load Washer with Extra Power Button - 5.2 Cu. Ft. When activated on the Heavy Duty cycle, the Extra Power button helps drive the Most

Powerful Cleaning in its class.* With the push of the Extra Power button, the new top-load washer fights stains that dissolve best in hot water and in cold all in a single load. The Deep Fill option delivers more water when you want it with your choice of deeper water levels, while the built-in water faucet delivers a quick rinse or a long soak. Plus, optional smart features help you stay in control and efficiently manage laundry from anywhere. Whirlpool 5.3 cu. ft. Smart Capable Top Load Washer From adding enough detergent for 20 loads to pretreating without the sink, get it all done with the Whirlpool® Smart Capable Top Load Washer. Skip adding detergent to every load with the Load & Go dispenser and cut out additional steps with a built-in faucet and pretreat brush that let you soak, scrub and wash in one spot. And to keep your day moving, optional smart features in the Whirlpool® app help you manage laundry from your smartphone. The innovative Adaptive Wash technology senses the size of your load, then adjusts water levels and wash action for optimum cleaning. Create customized cycles for your washer in a few touches with the Whirlpool® app and manage laundry from anywhere.

OUTDOOR TECH & APPLIANCES FURNITURE

Winner - THOR Pro-Style Modular Outdoor Kitchen Suite More than ever, men are spending more time in the kitchen, especially outdoors. So THOR Kitchen redesigned its Pro-Style Modular Outdoor Kitchen Suite with a masculine makeover highlighted by a sleek, industrial design aesthetic. Recessed handles on all cabinets offer a more commercial, streamlined look and


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provides cohesion throughout the entire suite, regardless of its configuration. Several pieces feature larger surface areas for preparing food, and the extra-large storage drawers are ideal for storing grilling equipment, bottle openers and other accessories. Each appliance is made from 304 stainless steel for increased durability and resistance to the elements. New to the suite is the addition of the Refrigerator Cabinet which is designed to integrate with THOR’s 24-inch Indoor/ Outdoor Undercounter Refrigerator Drawer or 24-inch Dual Zone Wine Cooler. The cabinet houses the separate appliances to provide a flush, built-in look for a fully cohesive and unified design.

PORTABLE STREAMING SPEAKERS BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS $100 OR LESS

Winner - Sony SRS-XB23 Go anywhere with full, crisp sound in a lightweight, stylish design. The XB23 is IP67 waterproof, rustproof, dustproof and shockproof, with up to 12 hours of battery life, so your music never gets left behind. Keep the good times going with super-efficient USB-C charging, and control sound settings with the Sony Music Center app.

SOUNDBARS $500 AND UP

Winner - Sony HT-G700 The HT-G700 soundbar offers immersive cinematic sound and clear dialogue. With powerful audio, the stylish Dolby Atmos® enabled soundbar features Vertical Surround Engine technology and a center speaker for a premium audio experience. Additionally, with Immersive Audio Enhancement, users can upscale even regular stereo audio to a 7.1.2 sound experience so every TV show and movie sounds exceptional. Samsung Soundbar HW-Q800T The Samsung Q800T features upward-firing speakers that creates three-dimensional audio that flows all around the listener, just

as it would in real life. The Q800T also includes HDMI eARC, which enables users to listen to uncompressed high-quality audio with eARC compatible TVs. The soundbar can also analyze the sound signal to automatically deliver optimized sound based on each scene, allowing users to hear voices clearly, even on low volume. The Q800T can also expand from to a 5.1.2-channel system with the addition of a wireless speaker kit. Additionally, Q-Symphony on the Q800T allows the soundbar to sync with a Samsung TV to create an immersive audio experience by combining and enhancing the soundbar and TV speakers together to give users a new level of acoustic immersion. LG SN11RG Soundbar The LG SN11RG is an advanced sound bar that offers an 770W output, supports the latest cinema-quality audio formats (Dolby Atmos, DTS:X), and incorporates up-firing speakers that project sound vertically with its included rear satellite speakers, to deliver an immersive 3D experience. Its easy connectivity and sleek design integrate perfectly with the stunning LG OLED and NanoCell 4K and 8K TVs. Through LG’s collaboration with Meridian, this soundbar reproduces audio up to 24bit/192kHz and up-convert lowquality audio to 24bit/192kHz, contributing to an audio performance where the highest quality is maintained regardless of the audio source (direct from TV, via Bluetooth). With Acoustic Room Calibration function, SN11RG can analyze room acoustics and ensure optimized audio quality tailored to the specifics of the environment, which sets it apart from the competition. With the Google Assistant built-in, users can also search for information and control smart home IoT devices via voice command.

SERVICES MARKETING SERVICES

Winner - Retailer Web Services WebFronts® Level 4 Nearly 1,000 (and counting!) independent appliance, electronics, furniture and mattress retailers trust WebFronts® Level 4

to give their store a complete, easy-tomanage online and mobile presence. A fully optimized e-commerce solution, WebFronts Level 4 is part of a complete digital suite by Retailer Web Services, serving over 2,700 retailers across North America. Level 4, the latest generation of RWS™ flagship WebFronts technology, combines compelling web design and robust e-commerce functionality with enhanced end-to-end security, prospect and customer profiling, and sophisticated marketing automation features: FlashTags software, a free extension of WebFronts® Level 4, makes it easy and affordable for retailers to power electronic shelf labels on the showroom floor. The Hot Prospect lead generation notification system features de-anonymization technology, converting online shoppers and driving in-store traffic. Online shoppers choose to introduce themselves on the retailer’s WebFront; progressive profiling tracks consumers purchase intent, allowing sales associates to contact prospects with relevant information.

REPAIR SERVICES

Winner - LG Proactive Customer Care LG developed Proactive Customer Care to reimagine the customer service experience for home appliance owners. LG Proactive Customer Care provides customized maintenance tips and monthly usage reports to help keep appliances performing their best, along with alerts that warn of potential issues before they arise. The industry-first personalized customer support innovation for smart home appliances was created to improve product performance and longevity as well as deliver advanced customer service solutions and peace of mind. The AI-powered service offers an enhanced personalized customer experience. Once customers use their LG smart appliance for the first time, LG Proactive Customer Care will run an installation report to give owners the


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confidence that their appliances are operating at their best, right from the start. It will also send care guidance and maintenance notifications based on customers specific usage.

WARRANTY SERVICES

Winner - NXM CyberSafe NXM is the world's first cybersecurity company to insure IoT brand products against hackers. NXM's Guaranteed CyberSafe warranty program is backed by leading insurance companies and protected by NXM Autonomous Security software that enables connected devices to automatically defend themselves and protect consumer privacy. The NXM CyberSafe seal makes it easy for consumers to differentiate products that are certified safe from those that are not when making purchasing decisions. NXM was the first software vendor to achieve ARM Platform Security Architecture (PSA) certification from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and is designed to run on any device powered by Arm Cortex-M33/23 or Arm Cortex-A processors.

SMART HOME & AUTOMATION AUTOMATION OS

Winner - Crestron Home Crestron Home is the new home automation software platform from Crestron that is designed for premium performance, quick installation, and ease of use. Crestron Home empowers integrators to provide best-inclass smart home control and automation for any size home, without programming. It is

the most advanced solution for today’s highdemand smart home, delivering the best user experience on the market with hundreds of powerful features and an interface that is easy to navigate. Crestron Home is a game-changing solution that puts the full power of the smart home in the homeowner’s hands and makes it possible for dealers to configure a project in just hours. Crestron Home is constantly evolving, enabling users to make software updates and add new features that work with their existing hardware.

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CLIMATE CONTROL

Winner - Airthings Wave Mini Wave Mini is small in size, but big in impact. The latest addition to Airthings’ growing ecosystem of indoor air quality monitors, Wave Mini is an indoor air quality monitor that combines the precision and expertise that Airthings is known for with an entry-level price tag, making it an attractive offering for both the consumer that already maintains an existing smart home ecosystem or a newcomer to the IAQ (indoor air quality) market. Wave Mini provides an easy-to-comprehend overview of air quality with insights into three critical air components: airborne chemicals, also known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which emit from everyday household items and activity, along with temperature and humidity. This allows users to visualize changes in air quality or comfort levels in every room of their home, office or indoor dwelling. Wave Mini operates as an essential indoor air advisor within the home to mitigate the health and wellness risks of poor air quality.

HOME SECURITY SYSTEMS

Winner - Konnected Alarm Panel 2 Dust off your old wired security system and convert your basic home into a Smart Home with one simple piece of hardware. The Konnected Alarm Panel is an affordable and open source solution allowing you to make a DIY home security and automation system. Simply integrate your existing system into Smart Home automation platforms such as SmartThings, Home Assistant and Apple Homekit to monitor your home from your pocket without the monthly fees. The Panel allows you to take control of your system by managing everything from your smartphone. Check the status of sensors, arm and disarm your doors, or don’t Konnected will do it for you with presencebased automatic arming and disarming. Konnected makes DIY home security and automation affordable and accessible to everyone.

SIGNAL BOOSTING

Winner - weBoost Installed | Home Complete weBoost Installed | Home Complete is the first residential cell signal booster to include professional installation in the price. Its stylish design easily complements today’s modern-home aesthetic; unlike most of the other products within the category offered by foreign competitors. weBoost Installed | Home Complete utilizes our most powerful residential cell phone signal booster. It features the maximum gain allowed by the FCC and uses patented technology that’s designed, tested, and assembled in the USA. For many consumers, tackling the DIY-installation required by a home cell signal booster was often a timeconsuming and difficult endeavor.

SMARTPHONE 5G

Winner - LG VELVET Characterized by flowing lines, curved corners and symmetrical front and rear edges, the LG VELVET is the first smartphone to embody LG’s new 3D Arc Design language. Smooth, polished surfaces, shimmering colors and elegant touches like the Raindrop camera array evoke imagery reminiscent of falling rain, distinguishing LG VELVET from its peers. Further differentiating VELVET is the use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G mobile processor to deliver exceptional 5G performance at an affordable price point, bringing 5G connectivity to more people with a starting price of $599. LG VELVET also features a thin 7.9-millimeter profile, 6.8-inch OLED Cinematic FullVision display, enhanced LG 3D Sound Engine audio, four impressive cameras and all-day battery life. LG VELVET arrives in a range of expressive colors Illusion Sunset, Aurora Green, Aurora White, Aurora Gray, Aurora Silver, New Black and others to deliver a fresh, yet unique, mobile experience for every style.


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FOLDABLE/DUAL SCREEN

Winner - LG V60 ThinQ 5G with LG Dual Screen The LG V60 ThinQ 5G with LG Dual Screen is the latest evolution and last of LG’s iconic V-series smartphones. Designed for a mobile lifestyle and purposefully built to maximize productivity and entertainment, the V60 ThinQ 5G with Dual Screen features a refined aesthetic, 5G connectivity, upgraded audio, video, and photo capabilities, and updated software experiences. Its beautiful design seamlessly brings together metal and glass for a premium feel in the hand, featuring chamfered edges and a large, cinematic, OLED display. Both the LG V60 and upgraded LG Dual Screen come with super sharp 6.8inch, 20.5:9, FHD+ OLED displays, with the new Dual Screen touting a superbly portable weight, thanks to a thinner OLED panel. With a ribbed back for additional grip and the same display as the LG V60, LG Dual Screen doubles the available screen real estate to make multitasking, productivity, gaming and entertainment more enjoyable than ever.

VIDEO & TV 4K

Winner - Sony A8H Experience an ultra-realistic image with the power of OLED technology. The powerful Picture Processor X1TM Ultimate utilizes over 8 million individual pixels to create an image with exquisite contrast and vibrant color. See exactly what the creator intended with 4K X-Reality PRO and Object-based Super Resolution with the advanced color and gradation of TRILUMINOS Display. The A8H also features the all new X-Motion Clarity for OLED so fast-moving scenes are bright and clear, HDR, Dolby Vision, IMAX Enhanced and Netflix Calibrated Mode. The super-slim, one slate design and narrow aluminum bezel blend into any environment, keeping viewers focused on the picture. Built-in Acoustic Surface Audio also produces sound from the entire screen

creating an immersive multidimensional audio experience, and Ambient Optimization technology adjusts picture and sound to your environment.

at any time of day. It comes equipped with Samsung’s unparalleled 4K QLED picture quality, offering the full array of Samsung Smart TV features, outdoors.

4K/TVS: 40 TO 57 INCHES

Winner - LG 48CX 4K OLED TV LG Electronics brings the picture quality of LG OLED to an allnew screen size, 48-inch with a focus on customers who want a mid-size TV that best fits their living space, are looking for a second TV without compromising picture quality or need a quality display for serious gaming. The LG 48CX boasts perfect blacks and infinite contrast thanks to self-illuminating pixels. Powered by the new (Alpha) 9 Gen 3 AI Processor, the set reproduces more vivid and sharper 4K picture quality due to significantly higher pixel density of 8 million pixels on a more compact screen - density comparable with that of a 96-inch 8K TV. The processor leverages upgraded processing power and AI deep learning algorithms to improve on LG’s renowned picture quality and enable a host of specialized features for various types of content. Its NVIDIA G-Sync compatibility also offers next-level gaming experiences for serious players.

Winner (TIE) - LG 77GX 4K OLED TV The new art-inspired 77GX 4K Gallery series takes design to a new level with an ultra-thin form factor. Paired with a special wall mount, the TV hangs flush on the wall transforming the OLED into a piece of art. Powered by the (Alpha) 9 Gen 3 AI Processor, the 77GX leverages upgraded processing power and artificial intelligence deep learning algorithms to improve on LG’s renowned picture quality and enable a host of specialized features for various types of content. The GX’s support for all HDR formats, including HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG, allows viewers to experience movies, shows and games as their creators intended. LG’s 4K HFR technology makes it possible to display UHD content at 120fps, resulting in clearer, smoother on-screen motion and detail. Additionally, its NVIDIA G-Sync compatibility offers next-level gaming experiences for serious players. The inclusion of webOS 5.0 further also doubles usability and convenience."

4K/TVS: 58 INCHES AND LARGER

8K

Winner (TIE) - Samsung The Terrace QLED 4K TV 75" The Terrace is a Samsung Smart TV that expands what a QLED can do and takes the premium 4K viewing experience Samsung is known for, outdoors. It’s Samsung’s first outdoor TV and is the first major TV brand to provide a high-quality, weather-durable 4K TV at a competitive price. The Terrace fits perfectly with any outdoor living space and delivers Samsung’s industry-leading QLED 4K display technology and Smart features. With its IP55 rating, the Terrace boasts weatherresistant durability against water and dust and comes fitted for easy installation outdoors across a variety of settings. The Terrace also provides a brightness level of 2,000 nits and an anti-reflective coating for crystal clear viewing

Winner - Sony Z8H Astonishing detail is revealed with 8K resolution and the processing power to match. The Picture Processor X1 Ultimate upscales everything you watch on the Z8H to brilliant near-8K HDR levels. Vibrant colors, incredible clarity, and amazing contrast create a picture unlike anything you've experienced before on a TV display.

8K/TVS: 58 INCHES AND LARGER

Winner - LG 77ZX 8K OLED TV The LG SIGNATURE TV 77ZX is among the world’s largest 8K OLED TVs offering new immersive viewing experiences. Geared up with the new (Alpha) 9 Gen 3 8K AI processor, this TV can leverage deep learning technology to optimize picture and


VIP 21

TWICE.COM | AUGUST 2020

AWARD 2020

sound quality for all types of content through AI-based 8K upscaling. The 77ZX also supports High Frame Rate and can run 120fps HDR content for a more lifelike experience. LG’s 77ZX 8K TV is one of the first to exceed the requirements established by the CTA, helping to redefine the next generation of 8K Ultra HD products.

equipped with the Samsung Business TV app which allows the business to create dynamic, customizable content from their phone or tablet. Users can set up the television quickly and easily, with more than 100 customizable templates sorted by industry and content type. The flexibility of the Pro TV is the ideal solution for businesses across verticals including SMBs, restaurants, retail environments, healthcare facilities and more.

Samsung 8K 85" Q950 TV The Q950TS is Samsung’s first TV to combine premium 8K picture quality with powerful surround-sound audio in a stunning, ultra-thin form factor. It is designed to offer consumers a cutting-edge picture for years to come, with an array of visual, audio and design improvements from previous models. Samsung’s 8K Q950 sets the gold standard for immersive 8K picture quality with 16 times the resolution than HDTV. Among the variety of picture quality improvements, the Q950 offers HDR10+, Ultra Viewing Angle to reduce glare no matter where you sit, and precise contrast for stunning depth and detail. The Q950 also includes a nextgeneration Quantum Processor 8K, featuring improved AI-based upscaling capabilities that use machine learning to create a pristine 8K picture, regardless of the content source.

INTERACTIVE DISPLAY

BUSINESS DISPLAY

Winner - Samsung Pro TV Samsung launched the Pro TV to provide business owners with an impactful digital display that will captivate customers and create lasting impressions. The display ranges in size from 43 to 75 inches, offering increased flexibility for businesses to select the size that best fits their needs. With extended 16 hours, 7 days a week operating time, the Pro TV provides the highest level of content and display flexibility whether that’s displaying new promotions, business updates or elevating brand awareness. Additionally, it’s optimized for small business owner’s needs,

Winner - Tripp Lite Mobile Interactive Display Tripp Lite’s Mobile Interactive Display, model DMCSTP65CBP, is an advanced, all-inone collaboration, presentation and communication platform with unprecedented flexibility, interactivity and mobility. It integrates a best-in-class 65-inch 4K touchscreen, built-in multi-user PC, heavy-duty mobile stand and rechargeable lithium-ion battery system. Patented touchscreen technology with low-latency response and detection of 20 simultaneous touch points provides ultrafast, ultra-precise interactivity for multiple concurrent users. It supports 4K video for crystal-clear viewing. The display includes an embedded Android operating system and a full-featured, touch-enabled Windows 10 PC, providing compatibility with a wide array of applications and devices. Wireless networking and the included high-definition webcam connect local and remote teams. The display can be rolled wherever it is needed and operated for up to 90 minutes on battery power if required.

OLED

Winner - Sony A8H Experience an ultra-realistic image with the power of OLED technology. The powerful Picture Processor X1TM Ultimate utilizes over 8 million individual pixels to create an image with exquisite contrast and vibrant color. See exactly what the creator intended with 4K X-Reality PRO and Objectbased Super Resolution with

the advanced color and gradation of TRILUMINOS Display. The A8H also features the all new X-Motion Clarity for OLED so fast-moving scenes are bright and clear, HDR, Dolby Vision, IMAX Enhanced and Netflix Calibrated Mode. The super-slim, one slate design and narrow aluminum bezel blend into any environment, keeping viewers focused on the picture. Built-in Acoustic Surface Audio also produces sound from the entire screen creating an immersive multidimensional audio experience. LG 77GX 4K OLED TV The new art-inspired 77GX 4K Gallery series takes design to a new level with an ultra-thin form factor. Paired with a special wall mount, the TV hangs flush on the wall transforming the OLED into a piece of art. Powered by the (Alpha) 9 Gen 3 AI Processor, the 77GX leverages upgraded processing power and artificial intelligence deep learning algorithms to improve on LG’s renowned picture quality and enable a host of specialized features for various types of content. The GX’s support for all HDR formats, including HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG, allows viewers to experience movies, shows and games as their creators intended. LG’s 4K HFR technology makes it possible to display UHD content at 120fps, resulting in clearer, smoother on-screen motion and detail. Additionally, its NVIDIA G-Sync compatibility offers next-level gaming experiences for serious players. The inclusion of webOS 5.0 further also doubles usability and convenience. LG 77ZX 8K OLED TV The LG SIGNATURE TV 77ZX is among the world’s largest 8K OLED TVs offering new immersive viewing experiences. Geared up with the new (Alpha) 9 Gen 3 8K AI processor, this TV can leverage deep learning technology to optimize picture and sound quality for all types of content through AI-based 8K upscaling. The 77ZX also supports High Frame Rate and can run 120fps HDR content for a more lifelike experience.


22 Feature: TVs

AUGUST 2020 | TWICE.COM

LG’s New Soundbar Pairs With GX Gallery OLED TVs GX soundbar features flush-to-wall design and Dolby Atmos.

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G Electronics USA has announced the newest LG soundbar. The LG GX soundbar boasts 3.1 channels with advanced features and aesthetics that are designed to complement the LG GX Gallery series OLED TVs.

Available in the United States this month, the LG GX soundbar is the perfect companion to LG’s Gallery OLED TVs. To offer maximum flexibility, the soundbar can be mounted either flush on the wall directly under the TV or supported using the included steel stand. Measuring about 6 inches high by 57 inches wide by 1-1/4 inches deep, the LG GX soundbar is identical in width and finish to the 65-inch LG GX Gallery series OLED TV. At the core of LG’s gallery design is the philosophy of a complete TV system that can fit harmoniously within a given space — a concept that LG’s designers

refer to as “adding spatial value.” LG GX soundbar delivers immersive theater sound thanks to Dolby Atmos and DTX:S for three-dimensional audio. The speaker supports Dolby Vision and 4K pass-through. The included subwoofer connects wirelessly to the soundbar to deliver low-frequency bass from anywhere in the room and adding LG’s wireless rear speaker kit (model SPK8, sold separately) delivers even more power and a greater sense of immersion. The soundbar delivers upgraded user convenience and easy connectivity options including Bluetooth and eARC (enhanced audio return channel). With its higher bandwidth, eARC provides the full richness of high-resolution audio formats such as Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio, while Bluetooth facilitates effortless streaming from a

smartphone or tablet. What’s more, the LG GX soundbar is Hi-Res Audio certified, offering lossless playback at 24-bit/96 kHz with greater vibrancy and nuance. The speaker produces detailed, natural sound when playing high-resolution audio files or when up-converting conventional audio formats. The built-in LG AI Sound Pro feature analyzes and automatically applies the best sound settings regardless of the content, ensuring maximum listening enjoyment every time. The new LG GX sound bar will roll out in the U.S. starting the week of July 20 at a suggested price of $1299. For more information, visit www. LG.com.


Feature: Home

TWICE.COM | AUGUST 2020

U.S.’ First Antiviral Mattress In Development By Serta, HeiQ Group Textile designed by Swiss HeiQ Group proven effective in Europe against bacteria and viruses By TWICE Staff

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erta Simmons Bedding (SSB) recently announced it is partnering with Switzerland-based HeiQ Group, a leader in textile innovation, to create the U.S. market’s first antiviral mattress. The agreement gives SSB exclusive access within the U.S. bedding category to HeiQ Viroblock™ technology, which has previously been approved by the European Medical Device Directive for antiviral use in medical personal protective equipment such as N95 equivalent masks, and registered as an antiviral active by the German EPA. HeiQ Viroblock™ was recently independently tested as 99.99% effective in 30 minutes against SARS-CoV-2 by a leading Australian infection and immunity research institute. SSB plans to pursue any necessary approvals for its line of Serta and Beautyrest HeiQ Viroblock mattresses with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency. If approved, SSB plans to utilize HeiQ Viroblock across much of its industryleading portfolio of brands, which includes Serta, Beautyrest and Tuft & Needle.

“We know that our partners in the hospitality and healthcare industries are doing everything they can to help provide the cleanest environment and reassure their guests,” said David Swift, chairman and CEO of Serta Simmons Bedding in a statement. “Antiviral and antibacterial mattresses will be an enormous asset in that effort.” SSB, the largest provider of mattresses to the hospitality industry, has already received early interest to acquire HeiQ Viroblock-treated mattresses from several of the world’s largest hotel brands to bolster cleanliness and safety initiatives. “As the largest third-party manager we are proactively searching for the best opportunities to add value for our owners and enhance the experience for our guests,”

Elie Khoury, EVP operations resources at Aimbridge Hospitality, the global leader in hotel management services said in a statement. “We are currently testing the new antiviral bedding and accessories from Serta Simmons and eager to understand the impact in helping our properties deliver the highest level of safety and cleanliness for guests.”

For more information about SSB and its brands, visit www. sertasimmons.com. For more information regarding HeiQ and HeiQ Viroblock, visit www.heiq.com

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24 Feature: eCommerce

AUGUST 2020 | TWICE.COM

Online Spending During Lockdown Has Surpassed Holiday Levels, Adobe Analytics Finds According to Adobe’s data, consumers have spent more than $70 billion per month online during the April-June period By Rob Stott, Corporate Communications Manager for Nationwide Marketing Group

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t’s no huge secret: Consumers have significantly altered their shopping habits over the course of the past three months as the COVID-19 global pandemic has continued to impact our everyday lives. But now, for the first time, we have a slightly clearer picture of the financial significance of consumers’ shifting shopping habits. Earlier this year, Adobe Analytics unveiled its new Digital Economy Index, a report that analyzes more than 1 trillion visits to retail websites and over 100 million SKUs to gauge the “buying power of digital consumers.” Now in its fourth month, the report shows just how wide the gap is between what Adobe’s analysts predicted for online spend during the first half of 2020 and how much consumers have actually doled out. According to Adobe’s data, consumers have spent more than $70 billion per month online during the April-June period as lockdowns persisted throughout the country because of the coronavirus pandemic. In May, consumers spent more than $80 billion with online

retailers. By comparison, the average monthly spend during the holiday shopping season is roughly $70 billion, according to Adobe. For the period between March and June, consumers’ actual spend outpaced what Adobe analysts had predicted by $77 billion, the report says. That gap equates to just about half of the entire 2019 holiday shopping season. Digging deeper, Adobe’s report showed that it’s not just loyal online shoppers who are spending more. From April through June, New customers (those with no previous online purchases) and returning customers (those with only one previous purchase) represented the bulk of the increase in spend online. Adobe expects that influx to slow as these new and returning

customers are converted to loyal online shoppers moving forward. Adobe’s data also showed that customers have taken a significant interest in the BOPIS option (buy online, pickup in store) as they shop online. The YoY growth in BOPIS dipped slightly in June as stores across the country began slowly reopening, but it was still up 130% over 2019. Between April and May, the height of the lockdowns, BOPIS orders were up more than 300% over 2019 levels. Adobe’s report found that 23% of online consumers prefer BOPIS or curbside pickups over having their purchases delivered. All of this is to say retailers need to place a strong emphasis on having a sound ecommerce strategy. Now, more than ever, as consumers are continuing to practice social distancing — and as local communities face the possibility of falling back into lockdown as the coronavirus surges back — retailers have the opportunity to capture that online business.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Nationwide Marketing Group blog.


Feature: Phones

TWICE.COM | AUGUST 2020

The original Samsung Galaxy Fold

TECHRADAR / AAKASH JHAVERI

Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 Teased, And It’s Almost Certain To Join The Galaxy Note 20 Likely unveiling at Unpacked 2020 By Balakumar K, James Peckham

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ith all eyes on the Galaxy Note 20 launch scheduled for August 5, Samsung is cranking up its hype machine and creating buzz around the event and also the products that it is likely to unveil at the event. It looks like it will unveil the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 at the upcoming Unpacked event, according to a teaser video uploaded to Twitter. The video from Samsung’s UK account shows a drop of rose gold paint transforming into a symmetrical shape, which looks similar to a butterfly. As it happens, it also showcased the date of the Galaxy Unpacked event which is August 5. The butterfly image shown is

generally linked to Samsung’s first foldable device - the Galaxy Fold - which the company released last year.

SPECULATION RIFE

Ahead of the event, analysts and tipsters have been discussing whether Samsung would go ahead and launch Galaxy Fold 2. Tipsters have even suggested that Samsung may not go for Galaxy Fold 2 at the event as it has been hamstrung by the slower software development for the new foldable gadget.

But the official teaser may put to rest all the speculation. It is now most likely that the Galaxy Fold 2 will release along with at least two models belonging to the Galaxy Note 20 lineup and Galaxy Z Flip 5G

version. We have also seens leaks for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, “Galaxy Beans” earbuds, and a Galaxy Z Flip 5G. The Galaxy Fold 2 is rumored to feature a 7.7-inch main display, and certain leaks suggest it’ll be retailed for $1,990 (around £1,900 / AU$2,900) which is the same the price at which its predecessor was available. A new leak from ET News also claims the price is set at a similar level in Korea adding extra validity to the rumors. We are likely to learn how much the phone will cost as well as all the specs for the devices mentioned above on August 5 at the company’s online event. This article originally ran on techradar.com

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26 Feature: Sound

By Residential Systems Staff Residential and commercial dealers need to look no further for a high quality, “as if you are there” sound experience to offer their customers. Sennheiser’s new AMBEO Soundbar is a single, easy-to-install, high performance unit delivering 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos sound and DTS:X, available exclusively at BlackWire. “We’re excited to partner with Sennheiser to offer dealers a premium option in the soundbar category,” BlackWire’s owner, Kevin Luther said in a statement. “The AMBEO Soundbar is a performance upgrade to conventional soundbars that are currently being sold in the market.” Powered by 13 high-end drivers, Sennheiser’s AMBEO technology works to create a virtual surround sound environment, placing listeners in the center of the home audio experience. With its advanced room calibration, customers can expect studio-grade sound that adapts to its surroundings using a built-in equalizer and 3D spatial technology. The AMBEO Soundbar has multiple connection points for HDMI making integration easy and includes eARC, Dolby Vision, 4K passthrough, as well as built-in Bluetooth and Chromecast capabilities. Six long-throw woofers with bass response levels down to 30 Hz eliminate the need for an eternal subwoofer, making it an all-in-one option for customers.

KLIPSCH

BlackWire Named Exclusive Distribution Partner For Sennheiser’s AMBEO Soundbar

AUGUST 2020 | TWICE.COM

Klipsch Introduces “The Fives” Powered Monitors The Fives are the first powered monitors to feature HDMI-ARC to connect directly to a TV

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lipsch recently announced their latest addition to their awardwinning series of Heritage Wireless speakers, The Fives. The Fives are the first powered monitors to feature HDMI-ARC to connect directly to a TV, producing high fidelity sound from dedicated right and left speakers resulting in a big, bold sound stage, and a better listening experience than the common sound bar.

With custom-designed built-in amplifiers, Klipsch Heritage Wireless speakers The Fives deliver room-filling sound while eliminating the need for an audio/video receiver. They are extremely versatile, easy to set-up and use, and connect to virtually everything. In addition to HDMI-ARC, the Fives feature an integrated phono pre-amp,

Bluetooth wireless technology, digital optical, analog RCA and USB inputs. A subwoofer output is also included. The Fives incorporate awardwinning, proprietary Klipsch Reference acoustic horn-loaded technology and tuning to deliver loud and precise audio with enhanced bass and low distortion. Bulit-in dynamic bass equalization matches the ear’s ability to hear lower frequencies, delivering powerful bass at any volume. The Fives also feature 192kHz/24-bit decoding for flawless reproduction of highresolution audio tracks. For more information, visit Klipsch.com.


Feature: Autonomous Delivery

TWICE.COM | AUGUST 2020

Consumer Excitement for Drones, Self-Driving Vehicles Grows Amid Pandemic, CTA Study Shows Study finds one-quarter (26%) of consumers now view autonomous delivery technologies more favorably

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.S. consumers’ enthusiasm for autonomous delivery technologies – including drones, self-driving vehicles and robots – is growing during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Autonomous Delivery Systems: Consumer Awareness & Favorability Study. The study finds one-quarter (26%) of consumers now view autonomous delivery technologies more favorably than before the coronavirus health crisis. Half (49%) of consumers rate these technologies as somewhat or very favorable. “With the increased need for contactless delivery, consumers are getting first-hand experience and becoming more familiar and comfortable with autonomous systems such as self-driving vehicles and drones,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, Director of Research, CTA. “Our data shows that these emerging technologies are playing an important role in delivering essential groceries, household items and medical supplies.”

URBAN AREA RESIDENTS ARE MORE AWARE OF AUTONOMOUS DELIVERY TECHNOLOGIES More than a one-quarter (27%) of respondents have some degree of familiarity

with autonomous delivery systems. Residents in urban areas (35%) are more familiar with autonomous delivery than suburban (28%) or rural (16%) residents.

YOUNGER ADULTS AND FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN VIEW AUTONOMOUS DELIVERY TECHNOLOGIES MORE FAVORABLY Most (63%) of those in the 18-34 age group indicate favorability toward autonomous delivery systems. Nearly three-fifths (57%) of households with children indicate high favorability toward autonomous delivery systems compared to households without children (46%). “The trends we are seeing are reflective of GETTY IMAGES

By Laura Ambrosio, lambrosio@cta.tech

the high demand for more options and convenience during this time, especially among families with children,” said Rohrbaugh. “Consumers are excited about the ability of these technologies to improve their lives.” The Autonomous Delivery Systems: Consumer Awareness & Favorability Study looks at public perceptions of autonomous systems used for delivery, such as selfdriving vehicles, drones and delivery robots during the COVID-19 pandemic. CTA administered the quantitative survey to an online sample of 1,004 U.S. respondents ages 18+ between May 11 and 13, 2020. The complete study is available for free for CTA member companies.

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28 Feature: Company News

AUGUST 2020 | TWICE.COM

Savant Systems, Inc. Completes Acquisition of GE Lighting

Sonos To Layoff 12% Of Workforce Amid Apple Buyout Rumor By What Hi-Fi? Staff

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onos is to layoff 12% of its global workforce and close its New York store due to “uncertainty and challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.” The smart speaker giant will also close six satellite offices, according to a document filed with the with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sonos CEO, Patrick Spence, will take a 20 percent pay cut from 1st July through to the 30th December while other top executives have agreed to a 20 percent salary hit from July through to September. “The pandemic and resulting economic impacts have caused us to have to make some hard choices, including reductions to our workforce, and the closure of some of our smaller offices and our storefront in New York City,” Spence told The Verge. “These changes are necessary in order for us to emerge from this period ready to take advantage of opportunities we see in the future.” The news won’t come as a huge surprise to shareholders; in May the multi-room speaker maker announced it would undertake a key spending review in an attempt to “tighten” operating costs and “preserve liquidity.” There’s no official word on when the process will begin or who will be affected. Sonos estimates the cuts and closures could cost the company up to $30 million.

New name will be “GE Lighting, a Savant company” By TWICE Staff

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avant Systems, Inc., an industry leader in the professional smart home space has announced that it has completed the acquisition of GE Lighting from GE (NYSE: GE), creating GE Lighting, a Savant company. Financial details were not disclosed. “For more than a century we’ve been bringing the future to light as part of GE and today we couldn’t be more excited to continue our journey as part of Savant,” said Bill Lacey, president and CEO of GE Lighting, a Savant company in a statement. “Savant is committed to continued investment and innovation in the lamp and fixture space and their deep knowledge and expertise in home automation will help our business accelerate delivery of bold smart home innovation at retail.” The headquarters for GE Lighting, a Savant company, will remain at historic NELA Park in East Cleveland, Ohio and Bill Lacey will continue in his current capacity. Under a long-term licensing agreement, GE Lighting, a Savant company will continue using the GE

brand on its products moving forward. “We are committed to ensuring that Lighting’s long history of industry leadership continues, while bringing exceptional value and reliability to retail partners and consumers.” said Robert Madonna, Chairman of Savant and GE Lighting in a statement. “This acquisition has moved our company significantly toward our goal of becoming the number one intelligent lighting and smart home company worldwide.” The Savant brand remains steadfastly committed to the professional installation channel for the home, and it will continue to invest heavily in the development of the most advanced products, solutions and services for this market.

For more information about Savant, visit www.savant.com. To learn more about GE Lighting, a Savant company, visit gelighting. com



30 Top 10 Back-to-School Gear

AUGUST 2020 | TWICE.COM

TOP

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Back-to-School Gear Students increasingly desire technology to supplement their pencils, pens, notebooks. Here is some new gear to make both classroom and dorm room more conducive to learning. By Stewart Wolpin

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f our national health luck holds up, a host of young scholars will physically return to the classroom in a month or so. Even if young scholars continue their education virtually, they'll need the right gear to smooth their studying. Here are 10 tech-forward backto-school pieces of gear.

Accell Power Dot Office AC Outlet Hub $54.99/$64.99)

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eclutter your dorm room desktop with this dedicated compact power center with a center space to hold your Amazon Alexa Dot, Chrome Mini, USB adapters, or random non-tech items. It's got four grounded surge-protected AC outlets that are well-spaced and that vertically swivel to better accommodate power bricks, three USB-A and a single USB-C charging ports. For flexibility, the Power Dot Office comes with either an eight- or 16-foot cord, and in either white or black to match your dorm room décor.

Honeywell Zeta Personal Cooler ($199.99)

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any dorm rooms lack air conditioning, which can make them quite stuffy when the weather gets toasty. This compact AC unit, now available for pre-order, which stands only 12 inches tall and 8.7 inches deep and weighs just 6.6 pounds, both cools and humidifies for 10 hours on an easy-to-refill detachable half-gallon tank of chilled water. It'll cool up to 10 feet away or 64.5 square feet, and kills 99% of "select" bacteria after 48 hours of use. It's got three fan speeds running at only 36-47db – nearly library quiet – plus an even quieter sleep mode, as well as a USB charging port.


Top 10 Back-to-School Gear

TWICE.COM | AUGUST 2020

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 ($259.99)

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his price- and consumer-friendly 11.6-inch 360-degree convertible is more versatile than a tablet but less bulky – and way less pricey – than a laptop. Spin's best feature: it'll operate for up to 15 hours, which means students can leave their charger at home. Spin's tough Corning Gorilla Glass HD touch IPS display is, given the times, appropriately antimicrobial, and at just 2.2 pounds Spin won't weigh down a backpack. A newly-improved keyboard with concave keys and deeper key travel makes typing papers book reports more comfortable, and a wide field-of-view webcam helps to keep everyone in the dorm room in view for calls home.

BenjiLock by Hampton U-Lock Bicycle Fingerprint Lock ($79.99)

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ollowing its innovative fingerprint locks, BenjiLock, now owned by Hampton, has introduced a new matte black fingerprint bike lock to make sure your wheels stay put while you're in class. Each IP65 weather-resistant U-Lock is constructed with an 18,000pound cut strength case-hardened 7.87-inch steel shackle that resists bolt cutters, along with a pick- and drill-resistant lock cylinder. Up to 10 fingerprints can be programmed into the lock, and a single charge of its rechargeable lithium battery lasts an estimated six months.

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32 Top 10 Back-to-School Gear HP ENVY 6055/6455 All-One-Printers ($129.99/$149.99)

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ifferentiating one printer from another can be difficult, but these new Series 600 Wi-Fi models from HP offer a bit more than mere function or performance bells & whistles. For one thing, they're more ecologically-centric, made with more than 20% recycled plastic by weight, and a subscription to HP's Instant Ink service means that new half-priced ink cartridges are automatically sent before you run out. Both these printers print, scan and copy, both print two-sided and wirelessly from a mobile device; the 6455 adds a 35-page automatic document feeder and fax capabilities.

Iogear Dock Pro 100 USB-C 4K Ultra-Slim Station

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Dual Screen Laptop

($129.95)

(starting at $1,249)

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xpand the skimpy jack selection on a mostly USB-C laptop with this slim docking station. You get an array of ports to connect up to eight devices: three old-fashioned USB-A (USB 3.0), one of which doubles for power, full-size and micro SD card readers, a 3.5mm headphone jack, one for gigabit Ethernet, and 4K HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA display connections. The dock also passes through 100W to power even the hungriest of laptops, and is wedge-shaped so it can be placed behind and under the laptop to better angle the keyboard.

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othing saps a laptop's power more than its copious screen. So Lenovo has embedded a second power-saving 10.8-inch e-ink touchscreen on the top lid of this laptop's regular 13.3-inch LCD screen. The e-ink screen is completely interactive: with the included magnetically-attachable pen you can take notes or make sketches on it that can be synced with OneNote and transformed into text and diagrams, as well as read and annotate documents, PDFs, e-books or notifications, or personalize the cover with a photo, all without opening the clamshell. The ThinkPad Plus is equipped with 10th gen Intel Core processors, and 10 hours of standard lid-up battery.


Top 10 Back-to-School Gear

TWICE.COM | AUGUST 2020

Lexar Professional SL200 Pro Portable SSD

Mophie Powerstation USB-C 3XL

($89.99 512GB, $159.99 1TB)

($99.95)

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o supplement often skimpy laptop hard drives, this external USB-C SSD is smaller than a slider sans bun – just 3.4 by 2.4 by 0.4 inches – and weighs a feather-like .09 of an ounce. Despite its diminutive dimensions, the USB-C SL200 holds a whopping 512 GB or 1TB of overflow data (a 2GB edition is coming soon), especially memory-hogging photos and videos, and can access and transfer data around 3x to 6x faster – 550MB/s read and 400MB/s write – than a traditional hard drive. The SL200 is also secure, thanks to 256-bit AES encryption.

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ventually everything in your backpack, especially your smartphone and laptop, will need power. Instead of hunting for an available AC outlet, whip out this 26,000mAh battery that'll extend the life of a USB-C MacBook Air up to 18 hours. While the 3.7 by 6.6 by .9-inch Powerstation, at a smidge over a pound, is admittedly a bit heavy, it also includes a separate 12-watt USB-A port to simultaneously recharge a second device.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (starting at $349.99)

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or in-class note-taking, perhaps toting and hauling out a full laptop isn't needed. That's where this thin 1.03-pounds Android 10 tablet with a 10.4inch screen comes in. Its redesigned .26ounce S Pen features a .7mm pen tip for more precise jotting and drawing, and it magnetically snaps onto the tablet's side

when you're done. Any notes are instantly transformed into text so no worries about deciphering your hasty scribbles, and can be tagged for later categorization and searching, and exported as a PDF, JPEG, text file or Microsoft Word document. For the fashion-conscious, the Tab S6 is available in Oxford Gray, Angora Blue or Chiffon Rose.

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34 Industry

AUGUST 2020 | TWICE.COM

National Hardware Show September 2020 Event Cancelled Virtual show to be announced later in year By TWICE Staff

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ver the last few months, the National Hardware Show (NHS) has been closely monitoring the COVID19 pandemic and its impact on members of the global hardware and home improvement community. Originally slated to open its doors in May, the Show was postponed to September. However, as we continue to make the safety of everyone at NHS our top concern, and looking at the continued impact of COVID-19 on our customers and industry, NHS has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event. Instead of an in-person experience, NHS plans to host a virtual trade show dedicated to providing education and support that recognizes and addresses the direct and essential needs of the hardware industry, later in the year. “The hardware industry has been greatly impacted by the global pandemic and hundreds of our international exhibitors have been forced to cancel their plans to

participate in NHS due to market conditions and continued travel restrictions”, said Randy Field, Group Vice President, Reed Exhibitions in a statement. “At the NHS we pride ourselves on being the leading industry gathering place and while we recognize and appreciate how important the Show is to the community, we believe it is the right decision to transition it to a virtual experience for 2020. Following the May postponement, we prioritized making NHS Connects the place for the hardware and home improvement community to come together to source information. It will soon be where connections, direct appointment setting, and virtual product showcases will debut. We will also be adding a virtual tradeshow component to this digital platform that enables networking and we look forward to

Z-Wave Alliance Releases 2020 State Of The Ecosystem Report By TWICE Staff

The Z-Wave Alliance has announced the release of its second-annual Z-Wave State of the Ecosystem Report. The newly available report examines smart home and connected technology — from both within and outside of the home — and explores the smart home landscape as it exists today, current and future trends, and new opportunities with an emphasis on the role Z-Wave technology plays in the advancement of the industry.

With the number of connected IoT devices predicted to surpass 40 billion by 2025, including smart home safety sensors (i.e., water and motion) and smart security devices (i.e., door locks and smoke detectors ), and smart home energy equipment (i.e,. smart thermostats and smart lighting), it’s not surprising that Z-Wave continues to see exponential growth in these categories. Water, all-in-one sensors, and smart doorbells all grew by greater than 500 percent from 2019 to 2020. “There is no shortage of possibilities

utilizing that platform to allow business to continue. We seek to encourage attendees, exhibitors and all of the NHS community to explore the platform and utilize it until we meet again in person in 2021.” Rich Russo, Industry Vice President, National Hardware Show said, “Our entire team is dedicated to supporting all of our customers and partners. We are passionate about providing new options such as NHS Connects and look forward to continuing business virtually and creating innovative experiences for when we can hold an in-person event in 2021. We are re-imagining the entire physical trade show, so look forward to new initiatives, new pavilions and neighborhoods, and a complete transformation of NHS for 2021.”

For the most up-to-date information and details for the 2020 National Hardware Show Virtual Event, please visit www. nationalhardwareshow.com.

for the internet of things,” says Mitch Klein, executive director, Z-Wave Alliance. “Smart Home has changed our way of life. In 2005, there were less than ten Z-Wave devices on the market, and today there are over 3300 certified products worldwide across an Alliance of hundreds of global member companies. As we look ahead, we see tremendous opportunity for Z-Wave to continue to advance the way we live.”

To access the full Z-Wave 2020 State of the Ecosystem Report, please visit: https://z-wave alliance.org/z-wave-state-ofthe-ecosystem-report/.


Industry

TWICE.COM | AUGUST 2020

THE MIMO MONITOR TEMPERATURE TAKING BUNDLE

Almo Pro A/V’s Trio Of Screening, Messaging And Sanitizing Products Support Public Health Practices Almo’s new screening, messaging and sanitizing products are designed to help keep people informed and protected while ensuring safe sanitization. By TWICE Staff

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lmo Professional A/V announced the availability of new screening, messaging and sanitizing products designed to help keep people informed and protected while ensuring the environment they are in is safely sanitized. “Businesses are doing everything possible to reopen their doors but they must have the right communication, diagnostic and sanitizing tools to stay open,” Stephen McKay, senior vice president, Hospitality, National Business Team, DMR, Global for Almo Professional A/V explained in a statement. “A major

part of this process is to rebuild trust in their patrons, many of whom are nervous about returning to those spaces. It’s extremely important to have signage with safety reminders and communication about the steps the establishment has put in place to protect them."From there, prescreening measures must be taken to ensure everyone entering the space is healthy. The following pre-screening and sanitizing products are now available or available for pre-order through Almo Professional A/V:

A touch-free temperature-taking bundle that ensures everyone entering the building or public space is fever-free. With all the necessary components needed to protect businesses and communities, this enterprise-grade bundle includes a Mimo Monitors Android commercial Adapt-IQV tablet, Revel Digital’s CMS, analytics and accurate temperature sensing software with a one-year license, along with a choice of a wall mount, desktop stand or floor stand/ cart. The monitor can also be built into a kiosk. The bundle takes a quick, level one calibrated temperature scan at business entrances. Through its analytics system, it can be connected with existing databases to track personal temperatures daily and keep them on record. Additional uses include facial detection analytics, attendance, virtual receptionist, crowd control, QR code scan and more.

HANOVER DISINFECTANT FOGGER KIT The disinfectant handheld fogger kit is recommended for high traffic areas, such as lobbies, hallways and auditoriums but can be used anywhere in a closed space. The Aseptic Plus+ kills Coronavirus, legionella, mold, mildew and other allergens, odors, viruses and bacteria. It’s applied with an ultra-fine mist that is non-corrosive and will not damage sensitive electronics and technology. In fact, it can be sprayed safely over windows, TVs and computer screens. The cleaning solution is EPA registered and ecologically safe with no rinse required.

RCSTARS DIGITAL SIGNAGE AND HAND SANITIZER KIOSK (COMING SOON) These units are the ideal indoor solution for education and safety as customers enter and move about a facility. The messaging can be set up to include facility safety rules and reminders to clean hands using the convenient sanitizer dispenser. For more information about Almo Professional A/V, please call 888420-2566 or go to www. almoproav.com.

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36 Industry

AUGUST 2020 | TWICE.COM

Major Appliances Market With Full Line Of “City Living� Products All City Living models are available through Almo Corporation

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alanz Americas, a global home appliance manufacturer announced its entry into the major appliance market through the unveiling of its new thoughtfully engineered product line specifically for urban kitchen spaces. "City Living" appliances meet the need for consumers with smaller kitchens looking for high performance, beautiful designs that are compact and affordable. Almo is the official distributor partner for the City Living line, reaching independent dealers and retailers across the United States. "This launch gives us the ability to bring the unique design and trusted quality that Galanz is known for into the major appliances category," said David Geyer, director of marketing and brand management, Galanz Americas in a

statement. "City dwellers and those with smaller kitchens can now enjoy beautiful appliances with great features at affordable prices." The new 2020 City Living brand launch includes 24" bottom and top mount refrigerators, 24" and 18" dishwashers, 24" wall ovens, 24" over the range microwaves, 24" gas and electric convection ranges, 24" gas cooktops, and 24" vent hoods. Additional products being launched in 2020 include 30" refrigerators, an extensive assortment of OTR microwave ovens, 24" laundry, chest and upright freezers, wine and beverage centers, and more. "2020 is the year that we've spent more time than we ever have in our living spaces so it's inevitable that we'd want to make them as functional and beautiful as possible," said

Jack Halperin, senior vice president, Dealer Channel Division, Almo Corporation in a statement. "We expect our nation-wide dealer base to benefit from the City Living products, particularly for their urban-residing customers. This line includes step-up features that are traditionally absent from this emerging business segment." Halperin continued, "Galanz has maintained a solid heritage in manufacturing home appliances on a global scale. These thoughtfully engineered, smaller-space designs are a powerful complement to Almo's current appliance offering." For more information about BrandSource, visit brandsource. com



38 Industry Origin Acoustics Partners As Ambisonic Systems Worldwide Distributor Announces Its first residential ribbon landscape speaker, the LSR6. By Residential Systems Staff Origin Acoustics is now the exclusive source for the Ambisonic Systems Landscape Ribbon Six. Created by speaker designer Jeff Coombs and his team, this loudspeaker is the next iteration in a long line of audiophile Pro-luxury speakers designed by Coombs. Origin Acoustics has partnered to become the worldwide distributor of all Ambisonic Systems products. What makes this landscape loudspeaker unique and compelling is its proprietary weatherized highdispersion ribbon tweeter. For a speaker to create the fastest, cleanest reproduction of sound, a ribbon-style driver is practically required. The LSR6’s 2.7-inch magnetic planar tweeter uses the same materials selected by scientists for space travel. The mathematically precise waveguide improves the beam width to 110-degrees. A neodymium glass fiber driver gives the mid-range clarity, and any of the matching Ambisonic Subwoofers fill out the low-end with concert-level depth and loudness. The Landscape Ribbon Six is now available from Origin Acoustics. Visit www.originacoustics.com.

AUGUST 2020 | TWICE.COM

Josh.ai Joins First Buying Group With Azione Unlimited Josh.ai proudly extends its industry presence through Azione’s established network of home technology pros.

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osh.ai continues expanding the power, and now availability, of artificial intelligence in the home through a partnership with Azione Unlimited, an industry leading educator and buying group. Azione’s membership of custom installers, home technology professionals, and manufacturers will now gain access to Josh.ai’s proprietary voice control products and privacy-focused approach to home automation. In evaluating the decision to join a buying group, Josh.ai is starting with Azione for its people, programs, and promotional opportunities. The organization is a natural fit with so many high caliber Josh.ai integration partners and dealers already on its roster. Through this partnership with Josh.ai, Azione expands its high-end residential solutions and innovative offerings for members to present to their potential clients. “We’ve long admired Azione since the early days of Josh.ai, often speaking at their summits about voice control, AI, and the future of our industry,” said Alex Capecelatro, CEO of Josh.ai in a statement. “Now that we have surpassed 500 certified dealers, the timing feels right to start engaging with buying groups. We have the utmost respect for the dealers, manufacturers, and programs at Azione, and feel fortunate to be joining their ranks.” The Josh.ai platform includes features such as a custom natural language

processing engine that can handle multiple requests in one command, deep-linking through AV distribution, room and contextual awareness, as well as a proprietary natural language scene creator. The hardware product, Josh Micro, is an allin-one smart home processor and handsfree voice assistant, sold exclusively through professional installers. “When it comes to futuristic thinking and conceiving products for tomorrow, Josh.ai is the consummate brand,” said Azione Unlimited President Richard Glikes in a statement. “Azione Unlimited prides itself in bringing exclusive categories such as Josh.ai to our captive network of industry-leading dealers across North America. Partnering with Josh.ai is an extremely exciting opportunity for our organization, our members, and this industry as we learn from each other and grow.” Josh.ai is sought after by luxury clientele thanks to its stance on privacy, which the company believes is critical for its users. According to CEO Alex Capecelatro, “We believe privacy is a basic human right, particularly when dealing with voice control technology in the most private spaces of a person’s life." Visit www.josh.ai or azioneunlimited.com for more details


Industry

TWICE.COM | JUAUGUSTLY 2020

Registration Now Open For BrandSource’s First-Ever Virtual Convention The three-day digital event is set for Sunday, Aug. 30 through Tuesday, Sept. 1 By TWICE Staff

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egistration for the 2020 Virtual Convention, the first-ever online edition of BrandSource’s latesummer confab and buying Expo is now open. The three-day digital event is set for Sunday, Aug. 30 through Tuesday, Sept. 1. Registration and show agenda are available at AVBevents.com/virtual-convention. Each registered member may bring an unlimited number of employees or other guests at no additional charge. The decision to move the Convention online was made last month after long and careful deliberation by AVB’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT), which considered such factors as travel and exhibit center restrictions; guidance from national and local officials; and overwhelming feedback

from members and manufacturers. “We weren’t going to let a global pandemic stop us from moving forward and helping our members find ways to keep business going in the safest, most effective ways possible,” AVB Chief Marketing Officer John White said in a statement. This year’s show offers all the buying opportunities, new product introductions, industry updates and networking forums of the on-site event, albeit from the safety of one’s desktop or mobile device. Moreover, as the industry grapples with such COVID-related concerns as supply constraints, shifting shopping behaviors, the impact of the presidential election, and the unknowns of the fourth-quarter selling season, the 2020 Convention assumes even greater importance as “a place to get the

latest information about what is happening in the appliance, electronics, furniture and mattress industries,” said Chad Evans, AVB’s Vice President of Merchandising in a statement. The 2020 Virtual Convention will replicate the most popular features of AVB’s on-site shows, including: • Show-special Stampede deals and Fast Cash offers; • A virtual booth Expo; • Region meetings and one-on-one vendor chats; • Marketing and merchandising insights from White and Evans, and; • A State of the Union address by AVB CEO Jim Ristow. “We’re encouraging our members and vendor partners to use this time to network with one another and share what’s been working for their businesses,” Ristow said.

SOME DETAILS ON HOW THE VIRTUAL EVENT WORKS Registered participants can log into a browser-based Event Web App that provides access to a personalized agenda with direct links to specific, invitation-only sessions, along with supplemental meeting materials and plugins such as uploaded PDFs, videos and images, and BrandSource member polls. The Event Web App also includes a chat feature that will allow users to send messages to everyone participating in a session or hold private conversations with individuals. Attendees can plan their virtual booth visits by perusing a directory of exhibitors, who will be showcasing their latest wares during the two-day-long Convention Expo. Vendors in turn can choose from one of five exhibit tiers to enhance their virtual booths with online meeting rooms, product training content, resource downloads and other buy fair assets. The Convention will conclude on Tuesday with a closing session hosted by BrandSource President Tom Bennett. For more information and to register, visit AVBevents.com/ virtual-convention

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40 Industry ASSA ABLOY Joins Zigbee Alliance Board Of Directors The Zigbee Alliance, an organization of hundreds of companies creating, maintaining, and delivering open, global standards for the Internet of Things (IoT), recently announced ASSA ABLOY Group has joined the Alliance’s Board of Directors. The reputable hardware company is already an active member in the Connected Home over IP project within the Alliance, contributing experts to develop the new, royalty-free connectivity standard for increased compatibility among Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Covering all needs for products and services related to access control such as locks, doors, and entrance automation solutions, ASSA ABLOY designs and delivers offerings to help people feel safe and secure whether they are at home or at work. “As a major manufacturer of residential and commercial access solutions, our product lines depend on efficient, reliable, and secure communications to operate effectively,” said Martin Huddart, Head of Smart Residential, ASSA ABLOY in a statement. “Connectivity based on open, global standards is what’s going to drive this next generation of smart home and building products, so it’s important we’re involved in initiatives like Project CHIP and that we collaborate with other domain experts as part of the Zigbee Alliance Board of Directors.” ASSA ABLOY was founded in 1994 and has grown rapidly from its roots in mechanical locks and hardware into a variety of access solutions for managing access into residential homes and commercial and institutional buildings.

AUGUST 2020 | TWICE.COM

PureTech Alliance Forms To Promote Health and Wellness Executives from the custom installation channel align to form a full-service national sales organization. By RS Staff

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ntroducing the PureTech Alliance, a national sales and service organization representing health and wellness technologies across the USA and Puerto Rico. Comprised of 12 sales representation firms that each have extensive experience in the audio/video and custom installation (CI) channel within their respective regions, the PureTech Alliance will create and maintain a network of the finest technology sales and integration professionals covering the U.S. market. The mission of the PureTech Alliance is to create the ultimate national sales organization, with all territories benefiting from a unified sales, support, and training regimen that will maximize productivity and operational efficiency for each regional firm. As a national sales solution for manufacturers of health and wellness technologies, the PureTech Alliance will be highly autonomous, capable of providing vendor partners with the sales performance they must have while minimizing the internal resources typically required to oversee each region. The PureTech Alliance executive team includes founding partners Peter Dyroff and Seth Kaplan along with secretary Brad Whitehead and treasurer Dave Humphries. “We have been increasingly aware of the impending collision between wellness technologies and the traditional AV and smart home products that we see in the CI channel,” reports Dyroff. “The wellness category features dynamic, innovative

Peter Dyroff

Seth Kaplan

manufacturers, and we anticipate meaningful growth and revenue opportunities vital to the future of the CI channel. Additionally, we are confident that an effective national alliance will change the way both vendor and dealer partners across the US perceive sales representation, creating a highly efficient, service-centric benchmark for our industry.” The PureTech Alliance has reached an agreement to provide national sales representation to Pure365 (pure365.com), developer of an integrated system of hardware and software that both filters and tracks indoor air and water quality. According to the company, Pure365’s purification systems capture over 99 percent of potentially harmful ultrafine particles, microorganisms, and volatile organic compounds.

For more information, visit puretech-alliance.com.


Industry

TWICE.COM | AUGUST 2020

ProSource Adds 4 New Members In Q2 2020, Elevates 1 Member To Power Membership Level New Membership Adds Over $27.5 Million Total New Revenue in 2020 By TWICE Staff

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roSource, the largest audio, video, and integration buying group in the United States, announced the elevation of one ProSource Custom Integrator (CI) member to the Power membership level and the addition of four new CI members in the second quarter of 2020. New members in the first half of 2020 represent $27.5 million in new revenue. With the approval of the ProSource Board of Directors, the following CI member was elevated to the Power membership level: • Sound Effects, LLC Mesa, AZ

The new CI members are: • ENG AV Inc., Birmingham, AL • Integrated Lifestyles, Inc., Dallas, TX • Multimedia Innovations, Davie, FL • Premier Media Technologies, Destin, FL "ProSource continues to provide the opportunity for members to grow within the organization," said Dave Workman, CEO and President of ProSource in a statement. "And we welcome our new members with education, services, and support for their businesses to continue to succeed." Sherry Dantonio, ProSource Director of Membership, commented, "Our goal is to provide every member with the tools to increase productivity and profitability." Information on becoming a ProSource

member is available from Sherry Dantonio, (562) 810-1706 or Sherry.Dantonio@ Prosourceinfo.com. ProSource is a cooperative, membergoverned, not-for-profit buying group representing more than 550 specialty retailers and custom integrators.

For additional information go to www.prosourceinfo.com.

United Appliances Servicers Association Is Newest BrandSource Partner BrandSource members to benefit from discounted UASA membership and ASTI attendance By TWICE Staff BrandSource has announced its partnership with the United Appliances Servicers Association (UASA), regarded as North America’s largest appliance repair trade group. Founded and led by fellow servicers, the non-profit association provides training, support, services and business strategies for member businesses. The Chicago-based UASA also produces the Annual Service Training Institute (ASTI), a five-day educational event featuring classes by appliance industry leaders, manufacturers, appliance repair marketers and business experts. The next show is tentatively slated

for Feb. 7-11, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. According to Executive Director Sarah Brown, the newly forged pact will provide BrandSource members with discounted membership in UASA and attendance at ASTI. Membership benefits include reduced rates for insurance, healthcare, vehicle rentals, office supplies, and uniform and payroll services, as well as access to training videos and webinars, reputation management software, and inclusion in

UASA’s Business Directory. Members can also access the group’s Service Library of training and service manuals; its best practices archive of service and warranty claims tips; and ChatUSA Forum, an online idea exchange where servicers help servicers. “The goal,” said Brown in a statement, “is to educate servicers and help them grow.” “This will bring the appliance sales and service sectors of our industry together to work more closely,” Corrine Caruso, General Manager of Solar Refrigeration & Appliance Service in Metairie, La., and President of UASA said in a statement. “It is an exciting development for both United Appliance Servicers Association and BrandSource, but most importantly for the appliance industry.” For more information, visit https://cedia.net/educationevents/tech-summits.

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42 Industry

AUGUST 2020 | TWICE.COM

Sony Electronics, Gentec International Collaborate For Distribution Of HighEnd Audio Products Throughout Canada Agreement expands current directto-consumer and independent retail partners sales for Sony home and car audio systems. By TWICE Staff

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ony Electronics, Inc. recently announced a distribution collaboration with Gentec International to distribute its high-end Sony ES home audio solutions throughout the Canada market. As a leading Canadian consumer accessories supplier for more than 25 years, Gentec brings the ability to strengthen Sony’s relationships with retailers, supply chain partners and customers throughout the country. “We have worked with Gentec for quite a while and continue to be impressed by their service levels and deep relationships with specialty audio retailers,” said Mark Saddleton, Canada country head, Sony Electronics, Inc. in a statement “This new agreement is a natural extension of our existing relationship and reflects Sony’s continuing efforts to get closer to our customers.” “The industry is seeing a distinct trend of

high-end audio customers making their purchase decisions based not just on product quality and performance, but also on richness of the overall listening experience,” said Joel Seigel, president & CEO of Gentec in a statement. “As a marquee audio brand, Sony products are ideally experienced in our customdesigned demo spaces. Gentec is proud to work with Sony and to now distribute its high-end Sony ES audio products.” Sony currently utilizes Gentec for both direct-to-consumer and independent retail partners sales for home and car audio systems. Genetec’s high-quality retail demo spaces are designed to closely mimic customers’ real home environments. For more information on Sony audio products, visit https://www. sony.ca/en/electronics/audio To learn more about Gentec International, visit www.gentecintl.com.

August, 2020 • Volume 35 • Issue 8 www.twice.com CONTENT VP/Content Creation Anthony Savona Senior Editor Grant Morgan, grant.morgan@futurenet.com Contributors: Michael Balderstone, Joe Osborne, Joseph Palenchar Group Art Director Nicole Cobban Art Editor Rob Crossland Production Manager Nicole Schilling ADVERTISING SALES VP/Market Expert, AV/Consumer Electronics & Pro Audio Adam Goldstein, adam.goldstein@futurenet.com, 212-378-0465 SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to www.twice.com and click on About Us, email futureplc@computerfulfillment.com, call 888-266-5828, or write P.O. Box 254, Lowell, MA 01853. LICENSING/REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS Twice is available for licensing. Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of Print Licensing Rachel Shaw, licensing@futurenet.com MANAGEMENT Chief Revenue Officer Mike Peralta Senior Vice President, B2B Rick Stamberger Group Publisher Carmel King Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Head of Design Rodney Dive FUTURE US, INC. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036

All contents © 2020 Future US, Inc. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/ services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/ permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions. Please Recycle. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from responsibly managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. The paper in this magazine was sourced and produced from sustainable managed forests, conforming to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards. The manufacturing paper mill and printer hold full FSC and PEFC certification and accreditation.

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TWICE (This Week In Consumer Electronics) (ISSN 0892-7278) is published monthly by Future, US, Inc., 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to TWICE, PO Box 254, Lowell, MA 01853. Publications Mail Agreement No. 41975525. Annual subscription rate: USA, $159.99, Canada, $229.99, Mexico, $229.99, Foreign, $399.99. Single copies are $25 U.S. and $35 foreign. TWICE (This Week In Consumer Electronics) is a (registered) trademark of Future, US, Inc., used under license. Printed in U.S.A.



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