Interview – Tom Garrett8 September 2010
A familiar face in the CI industry for well over 10 years, Tom Garrett (pictured) now has the opportunity to express his enthusiasm for the potential of home cinema systems as product specialist at Anthem AV Solutions. He spoke to David Davies about the development of the Anthem AV product range and the general outlook for residential cinema solutions.
How did you come to be working in the UK CI sector?
I had been a wine merchant by trade, but I had always had a great interest in AV systems. The opportunity to move into something different came about in 1996 when I got the chance to join Musical Images. After about 12 months there, I went to work for Mac reseller Computer Warehouse. They wanted someone with AV experience to head up their new division, which was CI-based with a heavy emphasis on IT.
Having got that up-and-running, I decided to return to the wine trade and bought a business in Southend. One of my customers there worked for the hi-fi manufacturer Rega, and eventually they asked me to go to work for them as their rep. Subsequent to that, I worked as senior custom installer at Infidelity in Kingston, before taking up a position as product specialist at Anthem AV Solutions about 18 months ago.
This was shortly after the Anthem brand had been brought to the UK, and as a result of my knowledge of AV receivers and the CI market I was given some equipment to play with. I found the products to be completely faultless and they ticked far more boxes than any [comparable] equipment that had distribution or was manufactured in the UK.
In addition to distributing Anthem AV processors and power amps in the UK, Anthem AV Solutions also has responsibilities for Paradigm loudspeaker and SMX projection screens. How is the company performing at present, and what are your expectations for the short- to mid-term future?
We have been trading for less than two years, so we are a fairly young company, but we are doing very well. I think we are at about 20% of our market penetration, so there is lot more growth to go in terms of getting the product out there [and making sure] that everyone had the chance to experience what the Anthem AV product range can offer them.
The company started at the height of the recession, so we did not have particularly high expectations. But the first good year was exceptionally good, and with the introduction of the new 3D-ready receivers [which are covered in detail elsewhere on this edition of the IE Residential] we expect to have an even better second year.
Care to offer a general market progress report on home cinema and 3D…?
I think the home cinema market is getting there slowly. As more and more people buy [pre-wired] new builds, it becomes easier to implement [this kind of installation], and I don’t think that we are too far away from everyone having a home cinema system of some sort.
With 3D, it’s true that there has not been much breathing space between the introduction of high-definition TV standards and 3D as the next marketing push, so I think that consumers are wary of it. I think that, ultimately, a lot of people will want 3D, but that the uptake will be a lot slower than for high-definition.
Finally, what does the future hold for Tom Garrett?
I am focused on helping the company continue to grow. I am a geek by trade, so I couldn’t ask to be in a better position! It’s a very, very satisfying role.
Anthem AV Solutions will participate in the National Audio Show ’10, to be held at Whittlebury Hall Hotel, Spa and Management Centre, Northamptonshire, on September 25/26. For more information on the event, visit http://www.chestergroup.org//index.php?option=com_shows&Itemid=31&task=viewcategory&catid=15.