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Denon Ups Commitment to Custom Integrators with Certified CI Program

Jun 2, 2008 12:00 PM

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Denon has rolled out its 2008 audio/video receivers, a 10-model lineup that the company hopes will propel it to the status of the number one AV receiver manufacturer in the U.S. Company execs have a reason to be confident. Denon held the number one position in dollar sales for AV receivers for the first time in February and March of this year, according to figures from NPD Research, and they did it with an average selling price of $655 versus the industry ASP of $411.

Two models are part of the CI series that is targeted to custom installers. The company launched its CI series more than a year ago, although the custom feature set wasn’t much more than RS-232 ports added to existing models to give installers a way to integrate their products with control systems.

Now Denon is cranking up its commitment to the custom channel, one of the few growth areas in the distribution chain. The company is putting more muscle behind the Denon CI program, which the company launched roughly two years ago. Since the introduction of the RS-232-based receivers, the company has established a certification program and is hoping to expand the number of dealers participating from 500 to 1,000 by CEDIA Expo in September.

“We now have a program and a logo for it,” says Director of Product Development and Systems Integration Jeff Talmadge at the company’s recent line show in Laguna Hills, Calif. The logo is available for custom integrators who go through the Denon-certified CI program—which currently is a 7-hour all-day seminar—with a test at the end—which helps dealers set their custom installation staff apart from the pack. The training programs focus on issues specific to installers including integration, control, and networking. Denon is working on CEDIA with the program, which counts toward three credits for CEDIA University, the industry trade group’s continuing education program.

In addition to the certification, logo, and CEDIA credits, installers who complete the Denon program also get access to a dedicated CI portal for exclusive information, troubleshooting, and a direct link to Denon technical support, Talmadge says. Now the RS-232 port that was initially a bridge between Denon receivers and high-end control systems is a special delivery route between Denon and certified installers.

“The 232 port is the giveaway for connectivity and also for the extra features of the CI-certified program,” Talmadge says, which includes software, special lock modes, FAQs and special access features that are exclusive to installers and can’t be found in the owner’s manual. “We believe this will help installers cut expenses, keep profits higher, and make it easier for them to fix products later on,” he says.

New 2008 AV receivers in the CI line include the AVR-2809CI ($1,199) and AVR-2309CI ($849). Like all of the 2008 receivers, the 2809 and 2309 incorporate Audyssey Dynamic Volume, a processing algorithm that minimizes the volume differences found on different audio material, most notably the annoying differences consumers experience between commercial volume and TV programming sound.

The receivers also offer upconversion and scaling to 1080p from all analog sources, as well as support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding. The “secret CI modes” enable certified Denon integrators to access functionality not available to end users. Other custom-oriented features include RS-232 and assignable high-current DC trigger outputs.

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