THE WORLD OF CUSTOMER ELECTRONICS

Consumer electronics answer man

First came the development and marketing of some familiar home electronics, including the videocassette recorder. Then the first consumer video camera. So, it’s no surprise that Bruce Allan is a staunch proponent of the latest high-end consumer technology, digital TV (DTV).

As vice president and general manager of Harris Corp.’s Broadcast Systems Division, Allan is encouraging broadcasters’ development of DTV and its various applications, including high-definition TV (HDTV), and generating acceptance of the new technology in the home. He also helped set HDTV standards as a member of the executive committee of the Grand Alliance.

“I really didn’t get involved with business or electronics until I was at the University of Maryland trying to figure out a career path,” Allan says. “I had parents who were very supportive [and] provided me with a lot of opportunities to learn and travel. So my career in consumer electronics … was a thing that happened as a set of circumstances.”

He began his career at RCA Corp. in 1970, working his way up to a vice presidency by 1985. “RCA and color television, at the time I was coming out of school, seemed like it would be a pretty exciting life,” Allan says.

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But it wasn’t just circumstances that brought Allan where he is today. “Bruce is blessed with great intellect. Balance that with great experience and that’s a hard combination to beat,” says longtime business associate and friend Joe Clayton, chief executive officer of telephone and telecommunications company Frontier Corp. Plus, he says, Allan is a “very competent golfer.”

Allan uses that winning combination today to position Harris as a leader in HDTV by addressing customers as partners in developing solutions.

“We’ll have a much better understanding of their needs so we can do a much better job of providing next-level solutions,” Allan says. “Our customers are the ones we are serving. We can make them successful and if they are successful, we will be successful.”

He realizes that as HDTV evolves, the relationship between broadcasters and the consumer market is a “chicken-and-egg” scenario.

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“For the consumer to adopt digital television and to adopt high definition television, it’s essential for us all to cooperate,” he says. “We need programming, we need sets and we need them in quantity in the marketplace at the same time. That’s going to happen. It’s going to take some time, but that bridge is happening.”

Harris helped build that bridge at the 1998 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas when Harris and CEMA presented an exhibit called “DTV in the Desert.” There, “broadcasters were in a position to talk first-hand with consumer electronics manufacturers. They tried to create an environment…where they could exchange information. We’ve continued working at that.”

Allan believes digital can be a huge benefit to consumers. “The advent of digital television is opening up a whole new multitude of things among broadcasters and consumer electronics companies in providing the types of services we provide today, but doing a better job of providing them,” he says. Also being developed are new services such as delivering Internet portals, data and multicasting. “It’s just a huge change and the change keeps coming faster and faster’ Allan says.

He also sees a “bright future” for digital radio. As players in that new field duel over setting a standard, Allan says, “The only question is how rapidly the parties can come together.”

As he looks optimistically to the future of TV and radio and the possibilities of new digital media in the home, he also reflects with some sentiment to his childhood, with his father as his role model. (He also has an older brother who is vice president of sales for Lucent Technologies in Korea.).

His father “came to this country from Scotland when he was 19 years old, worked as a carpenter and ended up basically as the head of the union internationally. He spent his whole life supporting his industry, his career and the people he represented. It definitely teaches you a value system.”

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He brings that value system to his own family today. He attributes much of his successes to his high-school sweetheart and wife of 30 years, Kathryn. “I have a good family and hopefully we are supportive to our children,” he says.

“I’m pretty easy if I have a good job, a nice home and a golf course. I’m very content,” he says.

Bruce Mckay Allan

Abstract: 

Bruce Allan, the vice president and general manager of consumer electronics company Harris Corp.’s Broadcast Systems Division, is a staunch supporter of High Definition Television (HDTV) and serves on the executive committee of the Grand Alliance, which sets standards for HDTV.

Show biz stocks ride 1st-quarter surge, but growth of 7.04% is less than other industries

Show Biz Stocks Ride 1st-Quarter Surge

NEW YORK – Entertainment stocks were not the brightest performers during the first quarter as the overall market rallied and small stocks hit record levels.

A survey of 40 entertainment companies whose stocks are tracked by Billboard shows that their average share price went up 7.04% in the three-month period that ended March 28. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 blue-chip stocks rose 10.6% in the quarter. The broader, Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index went up 13.6%. And the Nasdaq composite index, which measures the stocks of smaller companies, increased a healthy 29% to a record 482.3.

Many analysts believe that entertainment stocks were already valued fairly, which may explain why their prices did not rise as much as those of other industries. In addition, some say softness in the home video and music markets has diminished investors’ enthusiasm for the stocks.

Of the 40 stocks surveyed, 28 rose in price and 12 fell.

The three with the biggest percentage declines in the quarter are home video suppliers. Prism Entertainment, which markets B titles, had the sharpest drop, falling 37.5%, or 75 cents a share, to $1.25. Then came NHI Nelson Holdings International, the parent of Nelson Entertainment, which slid 31.5% to $1.625. During the quarter, investor Stephen Swid signed a letter of intent to acquire Nelson, but the deal fell through. And, Orion Pictures, despite its success at the box office with “Dances With Wolves” and “The Silence Of The Lambs,” dropped 22.6% to $10.25. Orion was the subject of takeover speculation during the quarter.

The stock that made the biggest percentage gain was Recoton, a relatively small company that distributes home-electronics accessories. It rose 79.6% to $5.50. The second biggest gainer was News Corp., rising 74.6% to $13.75. News Corp. operates Fox-Video and the 20th Century Fox film studio, which has the biggest-grossing film of the past year, “Home Alone.”

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In dollar terms, the top performer was Time Warner, which rose $22, or 25.6%, to $107.75. The stock had lagged before because of the enormous debt incurred when Time acquired Warner Communications.

The biggest loser in dollars was CBS, which fell $6.875 to $165.75. CBS has been reporting big losses in its television and radio broadcasting units, as advertising revenues have fallen and costs have risen, especially for coverage of the Persian Gulf war.

The war was also partly to blame for the decline in the stock of the largest home video retailer, Blockbuster Entertainment. Shares fell 9.17% to $11.75. Investors sold the stock after the company told analysts earnings would rise 10%-20% in the quarter, not 30%-40% as expected.

Music retailers were among the winners, despite unspectacular year-to-year comparisons in store sales. Trans World Music rose 50% to $19.125 and Spec’s Music went up 52.9% to $4.875.

Distributor stocks were mixed. Commtron, the largest wholesaler of home video, went up 30.4% to $7.50. But the biggest home-entertainment rackjobber, Handleman, a victim of the bankruptcies of some of its mass-merchandising accounts, fell 5.82% to $12.125.

LIVE Entertainment, which owns struggling rackjobber Lieberman Enterprises, as well as a music retailer Strawberries and video supplier LIVE Home Video, rose only 4.04% to $12.875.

The performance of record companies is hard to gauge, because only one, PolyGram, is publicly held apart from its parent corporation. PolyGram’s shares increased 5.59% to $18.875.

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Radio stocks were upward movers in the first quarter, as many companies restructured their debt loads and reduced interest payments. Osborn Communications was the leading gainer in this category, rising 42.3% to $9.25.

Other rising entertainment industry stocks, with their percentage gains and closing prices March 28, are Shorewood Packaging, 57.1% to $12.375; dick clark productions, 41.6% to $4.25; Heritage Media, 37% to $4.625; New Line Cinema, 36.1% to $12.25; TDK, 28.8% to $39.625; Jacor Communications, 27.7% to $2.875; Rentrak, 20.5% to $5.875; Affiliated Publications, 18.1% to $9.75; and Ackerley Communications, 18.1% to $3.25.

Also: Turner Broadcasting A, 17.5% to $13.375; Walt Disney, 17.2% to $119; Reader’s Digest Assn., 16.9% to $34.50; Vidmark, 13.3% to $4.25; Sony, 10.7% to $47.625; Great American Communications, 10.7% to $1.9375; Clear Channel Communications, 9.41% to $11.625; Pathe Communications, 8.33% to $3.25; Westwood One, 3.57% to $1.8125; Capital Cities/ABC, 1.06% to $464.

Stocks whose prices dropped, with their percentage declines and closing prices, are Park Communications, 12.1%, $14.50; Video Jukebox Network, 10.6%, $5.25; Acclaim Entertainment, 8.97%, $4.4375; Carolco Pictures, 5.88%, $8; Viacom (average of two classes of common stock), 2.21%, $24.875; and Paramount Communications, 0.91%, $40.50.

Making those electrical contacts last

We are living in the age of electronics. New cars won’t run without a couple dozen engine and drive train sensors, not to mention the hundreds of electronic connections that make up the audio and electrical circuit systems in any car. Each of these electrical or electronic systems relies on hundreds of electrical connections to perform properly.

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Often, these connections will deteriorate over time and create problems that can lead to intermittent or complete electronic failures, which are often difficult to find and repair. We’ve run across a product called Stabilant 22A produced by D.W. Electrochemicals in Ontario, Canada, that may be a long-term fix for this unnerving problem. The product is a liquid surface contact treatment that doesn’t make a good contact better but rather improves older electrical contacts that have deteriorated over time. This is especially true of contacts that operate in high-humidity or corrosive environments. (Beyond that, we highly recommend all of you check out this websites for really-working solution to clean/maintain fuel system – more details, you will be given the list of best fuel injector cleaner here, to use them in your favor.

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Perhaps the best part of this treatment is that it doesn’t require repeated applications as do some of the spray cleaners you may have tried. Stabilant 22A is especially useful in low-voltage circuits – automotive computer sensor connections such as throttle position sensors (TPS), manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensors, or even oxygen sensors that operate at less than 5 volts where a signal change of .1 volt is significant. This contact treatment can also be useful on stereo connections, especially between head units and amplifiers where signal voltage is low and there is a greater possibility for distortion. Actually, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential uses for this product in virtually any electrical connection. We’ve discovered that throttle response and driveability improve with cleaning and maintaining the small-blade-type connections on the tops of coils. Stabilant 22A would work well here.

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According to the company, this treatment is available through all Standard Motor Products outlets, including Big A, CarQuest and GP/Sorensen stores, although you may have to specifically order the product under the Stabilant 22A Service Kit name. If you can’t find it locally, you can call the company direct at the number given in our source guide. Electrical problems can be some of the most frustrating to uncover, and often these problems are linked to poor connections. By treating these troublesome connectors with a long-lasting surface treatment, you could improve the performance of your electronic gadgets and make your life simpler at the same time.

RELATED ARTICLE: Stabilant 22A comes in a cardboard tube containing a 15-milliliter container of the contact enhancer along with a few cotton swab applicators.

Stabilant 22A is a non-evaporative treatment that improves the signal between most types of electrical contacts. This treatment will not make a new contact better but will improve older contacts that may have deteriorated over time. In this case, we’ve applied it to a troublesome antenna lead. The distortion that had grown in strength over a period of years was immediately eliminated. Stabilant 22A is also great for low-voltage connections like the throttle position sensor (TPS) GM Weatherpak connection on this ACCEL electronic fuel injection system. While there were no difficulties with the connector, improving the signal will prevent problems from occurring that could sideline the car.