1975 was a very, very good year
If Bjorn’s were a wine, we’d be saying that 1975 was a very, very good year. That’s because, of course, 1975 was the year Bjorn opened his first store location. 1975, as a matter of fact, was a good year for audio and video for another reason. It was then when Sony introduced the Betamax video cassette while Matsushita & JVC introduced VHS – starting the infamous Beta versus VHS format war (both of which are now pretty much history).
While thoughts of movies being copied onto video tapes were scaring the begeebers out of movie studio executives, the movie Jaws was scaring the begeebers out of people in the movie theaters. Although Bjorn only sold audio equipment in the beginning (he called the store Bjorn’s Stereo Designs back then), it wouldn’t be long before movies like Jaws and, especially, Star Wars would get people thinking about putting audio and video together in one system.
As you might guess, Bjorn was one of those first visionary few who could see that with the growing popularity of VCRs and the introduction of the LaserDisc player (an early analog audio/video precursor of the DVD player) connecting an audio system to a TV with a VCR or LD player was a match made in heaven. Bjorn was also one of the first in the industry to see the value in custom wiring homes for audio (and then video). In fact, Bjorn’s first employee (hired in 1976) was a custom installer – but Bjorn didn’t know to call him that at the time because most of the rest of the industry hadn’t even come up with the idea of “custom installation” yet.
Even though most people eventually wanted an audio/video system – we call it a “home theater” now – very few of them actually knew they wanted one. Undaunted, Bjorn did what he does best. He educated customers as to what was possible and demonstrated how fun and exciting it all was. Soon Bjorn started to gain a national reputation for excellence in customer education and excitement. As a result, over the years, many manufacturers have chosen Bjorn’s as the place to introduce a new product or technology to the general consumer. Of course, that’s great for Bjorn’s ego; but most importantly it’s great for Bjorn’s customers in San Antonio because it means they get to see the coolest, cutting edge-iest stuff way before most anyone else in the U.S.
The list of new technology and product introductions Bjorn’s has been involved with is so long as to actually be boring (heaven forbid!), so we’ll only hit some of the highlights here:
- 1976 - introduces the first two-piece video projector from Mitsubishi
- 1978 - introduces multi-channel audio (Audio Pulse time delay)
- 1978 - integrates Audio Pulse system with large screen projector and Laserdisc player for early surround sound demo.(Before it became known as Home Theater)
- 1983 - helps introduce the compact disc (CD)
- 1990 - presents one of the first public demonstrations of High Definition TV (HDTV)
- 1991 - introduces home THX system technology to San Antonio
- 1994 - helps introduce first small-dish digital broadcast satellite systems
- 1995 - presents first public demo in U.S. of Dolby’s AC-3 technology (which soon became known as Dolby Digital)
- 1996 - helps introduce DVD players; presents first public demo in U.S. of dual-layer DVD technology
- 1998 - helps introduce HDTV to San Antonio
- 1998 - introduces the first flat panel Plasma HDTV's from Pioneer to San Antonio
- 1999 - installs first public 10.2 channel surround system developed by Tomlinson Holmann (the “TH” of THX).
- 2000 - opens the Premier Audio Video store in South Texas
- 2003 - launches Answers to Questions You Didn't Even Know You Were Supposed to Ask to introduce High Definition to South Texas
- 2004 - introduces Audyssey DSX & MultEQ technology. The newest endeavor from Tomlinson Holman
- 2007 - one of the first retailers to debut 3D TV in the country, with help from Texas Instruments and Mitsubishi
- 2007 - opened a Sony Store inside the store & introduces High Definition on disc, Blu-ray & HD-DVD
- 2008 - adds D-box Motion Chairs to the already extraordinary Ultimate Theater Room
- 2009 - held one of the first Music Matters events to help celebrate music and the audio format
- From 1987 until the magazine (Audio Video International) ceased publication in 2007, Bjorn's was chosen as one of the top Audio Video Retailers of the Year in the country. That's 20 consecutive years!
As you can see, Bjorn’s already has a great history behind it. But we don’t intend to rest on our laurels (they’re not that comfortable, anyway).