CEA Promoting Audio with Free Gear for Students

You want to grow your market, you've got to plant some seeds. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is doing just that with the BuzzNet 2000 tour, a traveling educational event that will hit college campuses beginning this month, as reported last week.

The road show will not only introduce attendees to high-resolution audio and surround sound, but will also leave some lucky students with complete mini-systems. Students who participate in BuzzNet's "ears-on" events will be entered automatically in daily drawings to win free equipment. Music surround DVDs, disc players, receivers, and speaker systems are all part of the promotion by companies such as Alpine, Denon, Dolby Laboratories, Klipsch, Runco, Sherwood America, Toshiba, and Yamaha.

BuzzNet is the result of the industry's recognition of a decline in the number of new audiophiles. Most mature audiophiles were bitten by the bug in college, but the audio experience of today's college students has been limited to what they've heard in cars, at their computers, or on cheap portable players.

The BuzzNet tour will introduce them to something many of them have never experienced. An "ultimate dorm room" will let them hear a hi-rez surround system, as will a high-end automotive surround system installed in a BuzzNet car. And a headphone-based virtual surround demo is certain to generate plenty of interest.

The tour will also promote new recordings from artists such as Venice Underground, Big Phat Band, Aaron Neville, and Sounds of Blackness. Tracks from these performers will be used "to demonstrate the total-immersion quality of the new high-resolution surround formats," according to a CEA press release.

BuzzNet 2000 launches October 11 and 12 at California State University at Long Beach, then moves to the University of California at Davis for October 16 and 17. Admission to all BuzzNet events is free.