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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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“We don't have a picture of Andy in our booth because he's a good-looking guy,” said Director of Sales and Marketing Tim Martin, referring to a panel in the booth that showed Andy Teipen, Auralex Acoustics' west regional manager, with his bride during their recent nuptials. “We have it here because it shows just what we mean when we say custom. When we say custom, we mean custom.”

It's an artful spin on traditional panels. The panels start at $149 for a 2'×2' model. The company offers its free room analysis and custom onsite cut-and-trim service.

In addition, Monster Cable, along with NuVu and Russound, used the down market to encourage dealers to pursue the largely untapped retrofit market with wireless solutions.

Monster's Digital Express PowerNet 200 will ship in October, for instance. PowerNet delivers Ethernet over the power line, part of a series of Digital Express products the company announced earlier in the year. Monster calls PowerNet 200 the “Ethernet Anywhere” product that brings a high-speed connection to virtually any room in the home without the need to install new wires.

Lee promoted powerline Ethernet as a more robust and faster solution for video downloads than wireless networks, which can be plagued by interference and other issues that consumers don't notice when browsing the Web. Now, with Blu-ray Disc players packing Ethernet connections for BD-Live, along with videogame players such as the Sony PlayStation 3 offering the ability to download high-def movies, consumers need a reliable download method, Lee said. “Am I going to do that on my wireless? I don't think so.”

Monster tested Wi-Fi against its powerline solution using an HD movie download via the PS3. Monster's PowerNet delivered the 2-hour movie in 7 hours versus 11 hours for a Wi-Fi network. Lee admitted the Monster solution still has a way to go, but he said, “There's a heck of a difference. The product is about delivery of Ethernet anywhere you have electricity. I can go through my router at the highest possible speed to any room where I have Blu-ray or a PlayStation 3, and I can get download speeds equivalent to a hard-wired connection.”

PowerNet 200 uses an Intellon chipset, based on HomePlug AV, which delivers theoretical data rates of 200Mbps. The PowerNet 200 can carry up to four HD data streams over existing electrical wiring.

NuVo Technologies showed components of a HomePlug-based multiroom system, which the company plans to test-market post-CEDIA. The company has worked closely with its dealer advisory board on the ground-up system, which NuVo says will endure more testing than any product in company history. The goal is a reliable, user-friendly, and installer-friendly system that delivers the quality and reliability that NuVo dealers expect.

Offsite, Russound showed a powerline-based system, which the company hopes to ship early next year. Dubbed Collage, the retrofitable system provides multiroom access to digital audio entertainment, legacy sources, intercom functions, and color security cameras over standard AC wiring. Russound representatives said by eliminating the need for a centralized controller, amplified keypads and system sources can be placed anywhere in a home where AC power lines exist.

The Collage amplified keypad connects to a standard Romex wire that supplies both power and communications to a Russound Media Manager. The latter bridges the PLC signals to a local area network. Sources on the network — including IR-based DVRs, CD players, iPod docks, CCTV cameras, and online music services — can be accessed from any of the installed keypads.

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