Satellite companies and their business customers are fighting an Illinois legislative proposal backed by cable companies that would levy a 5% tax on monthly bills. The measure, which has passed the state's Senate, will most likely come before the House in the spring, legislative leaders said. DIRECTV Senior Vice President of Government Relations Andrew Reinsdorf accused cable companies of trying to raise rates on a rival, noting that governments charge the fees to cable operators as "rent" for using local rights-of-way that satellite operators do not need. "It's particularly pernicious for rural Illinois, where cable sometimes doesn't even deign to go," Reinsdorf added.
Interest in security is driving much of the interest in home-automation services -- 62% of the respondents in a Consumer Electronics Association survey cited it as the primary factor in buying a system. CEA's Rhonda Daniel says that informing shoppers about the benefits of a home security network increases the chances of a sale, adding that 1.7 million people have installed some sort of home automation system.
New types of audio/visual systems on the market have changed the look of the home theater -- to the extent that many integrators are looking for updated, more flexible terms to describe the technology. The trends include: multiple screens to watch the ever-increasing number of viewing options, the rise of social media, the need for multipurpose rooms and demand for different types of speakers.
Small-business owners took action to mitigate the damage from Superstorm Sandy that could help you to deal with the next disaster. Their experiences emphasize the importance of turning to others for help, checking your insurance policies and using cloud-based services to keep your business going in the wake of a disaster.
Checking a prospective employee's references can give you additional information but can also expose your company to liability if you aren't careful, writes Andrew Lu. "The best advice for an employer running an employee background check may be to keep the investigation reasonable," he writes. Make sure the information you are seeking is related to the job and ask for the applicant's consent.