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Connecting Homes at CEDIA Expo

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Rebecca Day

Conference focuses on managing business during tough 2008 market.


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Loudspeaker companies got into the wireless act, too. Infinity, for one, expanded its line of wireless subwoofers. The retrofit-friendly PSW310W, PS212W, and PS210W subs — which operate over the 2.4GHz frequency range — allow installers to add a subwoofer to a surround-sound system without the need for connecting wires from an AV receiver to the subwoofer.

Elsewhere at CEDIA, Control 4 expanded its partner base and unveiled affordable options and high-end video plans for its IP-based home control system. While some companies were pulled from the corporate world into the residential market by the custom channel, now custom dealers are seeking to expand into small-venue businesses including bars, lounges, and hotels as another way to reduce dependence on the housing market.

Control4's partnership with Panasonic covers residential, hospitality, and commercial projects by way of Panasonic's IP/PBX communications system. Users can monitor local and remote Panasonic network cameras; open or close powered doors; and adjust temperature, lighting, and energy features through a Panasonic home or office phone.

In another CEDIA announcement, Control4 said it had partnered with Simplikate, the technology arm of First Management Partners, to integrate Simplikate's techcierge hotel product and the Control4 Suite Systems operating platform. As part of the agreement, Simplikate will become a Control4-certified partner and a preferred distribution partner.

On the support side, Control4 announced a software update to be released later this fall that will include a new video proxy for integration with third-party media. With software release 1.7, the Control4 system will detect music and video content anywhere on the system and generate a centralized list of all content. Users can then identify the songs or movies through cover art, and the Control4 system can play the movie or music in any room.

High-end AV receivers showed new punch at CEDIA. Integra's top two new THX Ultra2 Plus-certified AV receivers are the first to incorporate Imaging Science Foundation Certified Calibration Controls (ISFccc). ISFccc allows ISF-certified technicians to custom-define day and night settings for each video source component connected to the receiver. Each input includes a third calibration memory that can be accessed by consumers to adjust video output to their specific tastes. In the past, custom video calibration has generally been possible for only one video source connected to a display.

Sony bolstered its CEDIA-grade receiverlineup with two models packing Cat-5 connectors for second-room audio/video distribution. Sony's first network receiver, the STR-DA6400ES, adds a second Cat-5 connector that's Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)-compliant, enabling homeowners to stream music, photos, and video from a DLNA-compliant PC. The receiver can also access online music content from Rhapsody and Shoutcast Internet Radio without a PC.

Sony prepared dealers for its HomeShare HD multiroom entertainment solution that's due to ship in early 2009. The entertainment and intercom system delivers up to 16 zones of entertainment — including four zones of HD video — to satellite rooms via Cat-5e wiring. The HomeShare HS-KP1 keypad includes a 4.3in. LCD screen based on Sony's XrossMediaBar two-way graphical user interface. The system offers local source capability through Sony's Digital Media Port technology.

Blu-ray was in the spotlight at CEDIA, with Sony, Panasonic, Denon, LG, and Pioneer showing players on the component side. Pioneer's “overbuilt” BDP-09FD Elite Blu-ray player boasts a 16-bit video engine said to provide high-end video decoding, IP conversion, video scaling, and video adjustments of HD and SD content. The player also includes a 1080p/24fps output and an Ethernet port for BD-Live.



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