Over The Counter

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Kitchen countertops, those humble surfaces that set the backdrop for so much cooking and the associated family dramas, are a strangely popular topic of conversation. You hear about them all the time, at social events, on home makeover shows, and probably in your own kitchen, where a remodel always seems necessary.

It's not entirely surprising that everyone is always talking about kitchen countertops, because they are a unique representative of current trends in design and culture. At the present time, the phrase "granite countertops" adds tremendous resale value to any home. This feature has become so popular that it now boasts more than a few imitators on the market.
When real granite is too expensive, interior designers hark back to the middle of the 20th century and opt for the original trend-setter in countertops-laminate. Even though laminate has gotten a bad rap in recent decades, it is actually the most versatile countertop material because it can imitate any trend in the kitchen. In fact, new techniques have made it possible for laminate to take on the physical attributes of many other materials. It's not just a smooth surface with a printed pattern anymore. Laminate is granite. It is slate. It is anything you want it to be. And it's even available in HD.

It seems the phrase "high-definition" has as much pull as "granite countertops" today, and now the two are intermingling in the kitchen. There actually is a laminate out there that is sold under the moniker HD, which, the manufacturer explains, stands for "high-definition." The television commercial for this product will baffle those in our industry. Rather than offering a clearer image in perfect resolution, HD laminate has a three-dimensional texture to it, and its murky patterns have an "alluring depth." In the case of laminate, high-definition means it more accurately imitates the popular rough-edged surfaces of this era.

What's perhaps more interesting than the layering techniques that produce laminate is the fact that good ol' HD is a phrase that is so integrated into our culture that it is now represented in a countertop. A technological concept that is still struggling to make its way onto the airwaves is familiar enough to make a household material seem more advanced.

It's only a matter of time before high-definition joins "hi-fi", "stereophonic", and "digital" in the pile of high-tech sales phrases that make any product seem cutting-edge. But right now it is a hot phrase, and it makes people pay attention to quality. It might even convince customers to spend more for the HD version of products.

From a technology angle, HD does actually mean higher-quality images and audio, and potentially higher margins on sales. Which means that we at SCN will track this trend and others as they enter the public consciousness and thus influence your meetings with clients. We were the first magazine to make audio and video systems integration our focus more than a decade ago, and we will continue to provide you with the news and analysis you need to move forward in your business. Upon my return to the post of editor this month, I have made it my goal to produce the "high-definition" version of SCN. Watch for enhanced new features in this issue and the ones to follow. Thanks for reading.

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