Economy Triggers More Innovation at NuVo
8/19/2008 4:00 PM
Not nearly as many Americans are building new homes as they were two
years ago. That fact, which has been lamented repeatedly within the
pages of Residential Systems magazine, is encouraging many
manufacturers and integrators of audio/video technologies to re-think
their strategies. Many have begun to focus on products that serve the
existing home (retrofit) market much more intuitively, a case in point
being NuVo Technologies innovative new idea.
A couple weeks ago, I was given an early preview of the new concept
that the savvy team out of Hebron, Kentucky, is developing for a first
quarter 2009 release. This new multi-room audio system, called Renovia,
is designed to tackle the retrofit market better than anything Ive
ever seen. "No new wires" have been a catch-phrase for years, and NuVo
is taking that challenge head on, in direct response to the industry's
Unlike traditional multi-room audio systems, Renovia will not require
home-run Cat-5 wiring, because it will utilize the home's existing
electrical system, via Power Line Communications (PLC) technology, to
transmit audio and metadata.
According to NuVo president and COO, David Rodarte, NuVos pitch to its
dealers go even further than the technology itself, however. Because
the installer will not need to pull Cat-5 wire, the costly and usually
unprofitable expense of patching holes in drywall in a retrofit will
disappear. Customers will have more money left over to spend on
additional equipment and services-and they will be happy that their
walls will not be torn up. Renovia will better enable dealers to
introduce multi-room audio into a typical home theater/media room
|An illustration of Renovia's likely system architecture|
Because the system is still in development, NuvVo is not yet sharing
product specs and pricing. That information will be provided when the
company officially launches the product in the first quarter of 2009.
The manufacturer did, however, reveal the basic architecture of what a
six-source, 12-zone Renovia system will look like:
Up to six sources connect to a source hub. The source hub connects to
up to 12 zone amplifiers via a PLC interface to the home's electrical
wiring. Speakers are connected to each zone amp. Each zone amp connects
to its own PLC interface behind the wall, which in turn connects to a
nearby electrical outlet box.
User control will be provided via NuVo's in-wall Control Pads, its
new Wireless Control Pads, or Music Port-enabled PC/Macintosh web
Any NuVo source that can connect to NuVo's traditional multi-room
audio systems will be able to connect to Renovia: terrestrial and
satellite radio tuners, music servers, iPod docks, and PCs via Music
Renovia will reduce multi-room audio system installation times for
existing homes significantly. Our expectation is that it will take one
day to install a six-zone Renovia system. Installation crews will be
able to do more jobs in a typical week.
Renovia's design, engineering, and development have been and continue
to be greatly enhanced by input and feedback from a trusted NuVo Dealer
Advisory Board. The Board has worked closely with NuVo engineers from
the inception of the Renovia idea to ensure that NuVo will offer a
reliable, user-friendly and installer-friendly system that delivers the
quality and reliability that NuVo dealers expect. This process is just
the latest example of the strong, mutually beneficial relationships
that have been forged between NuVo and its dealers.
NuVo is previewing Renovia technology at CEDIA EXPO 2008 in an effort
to educate new and prospective dealers about the retrofit market,
discuss the opportunities that exist and the technology required for
that market, and describe where the upcoming Renovia multi-room audio
system will fit into their changing business models.
After CEDIA, Renovia will enter a rigorous field testing phase to
ensure that the final product will be one that dealers and installers
can confidently stand behind. Renovia, they tell me, will undergo more
testing than any NuVo product has ever endured.
As the owner of a 20-year-old home with a cobbled-togther multi-room
audio system, I personally cant wait for Renovia to hit the market.
This is a game changer for me, indeed, and Im sure one for many
integrators and middle-market consumers in the U.S.