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Boston Acoustics Revamps Loudspeaker Line

Aug 20, 2007 12:00 PM


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Acting on a bold and honest assessment of the loudspeaker market, Boston Acoustics has revamped its speaker line with an emphasis on customization. Boston is adopting a strategy taken by Dell, with its colorful line of Inspiron laptop computers, and Sony, with interchangeable color frames for its flatpanel LCD TVs, by offering customers a choice of interchangeable grilles to complement the interior of a room.

Boston is targeting the 12-million-plus customers who purchased TVs last year who did not buy audio systems to go along with them, according to Eli Harary, senior VP and GM for the D&M-owned brand. It’s a marked shift for an industry born out of the audio enthusiast market. “It used to be that we tried to force technology onto people,” Harary says. “But consumers have different requirements about products today. Before, only sound mattered. Now, good quality sound is expected.” To be successful today, he says, “You have to know how people want to live with technology.”

Boston has been a top supplier in in-wall and outdoor speakers for the custom market, where audio engineering has always taken a back seat to architecture and interior design. Now the company is bringing that priority to the bookshelf and floorstanding home theater market with its Play Smart strategy. The company is banking on the hope that offering a choice of colors will make the idea of fitting five speakers and a sub box into a room a little easier to swallow.

First out of the gate is the Horizon line of speakers, ranging from $99 each for the HS 40 4.5in. two-way speaker to $399 each for the dual 5.25in. two-way floorstanding speaker. Matching subwoofers are $300, $400, and $500 each. The subwoofers boast Deep Channel Design that’s said to deliver more bass from less amplifier power.

All speakers come in mist with Silver grilles or Midnight with onyx grilles. From there, consumers can personalize the speakers under the Personal Options Plan (P.O.P.) with color grilles in names reminiscent of automobiles or clothing: Glacier, Rosebud, Onyx, Pearl Gray, Caramel, Chocolat, Silver, and Chili Pepper. Grilles are available from dealers who choose to stock them and from the Boston website. The company plans to add eight more colors by the end of the year, and more as the need arises.

Convenience features include integrated wall-mounting brackets and adjustable footing for placement flexibility. The floorstanding HS 450 and HS 460 speakers feature integrated footings and a recessed carrying handle. In a nod to lifestyle considerations (and a testament to how times have changed), company officials noted that the carrying handle makes it easier to lift the speaker when vacuuming around the base.

Also in the Horizon series are two home theater surround-sound speaker packages with suggested retail prices of $500 and $800. Both series feature the trademark P.O.P. grille options. The company also plans a line called Vista, which will roll out later in the year.



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