NHT, Simple Devices Under Rockford Umbrella

Rockford Corporation, which owns such brands as Rockford Fosgate, Lightning Audio, and MB Quart, used CES 2003 to showcase its newest member, NHT, and promote home-network products made by Rockford's new partner, SimpleDevices. Formerly owned by Recoton, speaker maker NHT used its CES limelight to promote its modular Evolution line and that line's latest addition, the on-wall L5 speaker. NHT is a good fit for the company, said Brian Carlsness, home audio managing director for Rockford, since it complements Fosgate Audionics, which builds high-end preamp/processors and power amplifiers, and MB Quart, a car and home speaker manufacturer. While MB Quart's home speakers are also designed to be acoustically and aesthetically pleasing, NHT's Evolution speakers have more of an emphasis on customization. Rockford completed its acquisition of NHT on Dec. 26, 2002. SimpleDevices featured its Rockford Omnifi products, including a "client¡" component that hooks up to a home audio system to play music files from a remote PC, which the client communicates with wirelessly. With SimpleDevices' software, the PC can also interface with an Omnifi car-mounted hard drive that holds up to 20 gigabytes of compressed music (MP3 or Windows Media Audio). The OmniFi products operate on the Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) standard. In November, Rockford announced its acquisition of a majority stake in SimpleDevices, which was founded in 1999. Other investors include Motorola, Proxim, and Casio. Jack Hidley, NHT's director of engineering, at the Rockford press conference.