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CEDIA EXPO 2014 Offered Renewed Energy and Product Innovation

With CEDIA celebrating 25 years as a trade association, attendees and exhibitors at its annual convention shared an energy, enthusiasm, and optimism not seen since the housing bubble burst and the most recent economic recession gripped the world.

With CEDIA celebrating 25 years as a trade association, attendees and exhibitors at its annual convention shared an energy, enthusiasm, and optimism not seen since the housing bubble burst and the most recent economic recession gripped the world. Networking technologies once again dotted the trade show floor, as did new competitors in wireless audio, a resurgence of flat-panel video and two-piece video projection products, and object-based audio developments from Dolby Atmos and Auro Technologies. But beyond these bigger trends was an overall sense that manufacturers serving the custom integration channel were once again investing in R&D and innovating and refreshing product lines that had been set in a holding pattern as the economy recovered. Here’s an editor’s selection of some of the more noteworthy introductions from CEDIA EXPO. It’s impossible to cover everyone, so keep read more at, in future issues, and elsewhere within this magazine.

Jeremy Burkhardt returned to CEDIA EXPO with his previous business partners from SpeakerCraft, Ed Hasse and Ken Humphreys, to debut their new audio brand, Origin Acoustics. Burkhardt said that he hopes his company’s architectural loudspeaker innovations, coupled with an intense dedication to customer service will change the market. His team spent 18 months stripping both in-wall and in-ceiling speakers down to their core and rebuilding them from scratch. They had no allegiance to legacy product, so every aspect of the speaker was up for discussion. The results are evident in the Director Collection of in-ceilings, Producer Collection of production homes in-walls, as well as Seasons Landscape Collection of outdoor speakers.

David Weinstein, VP of residential sales for Lutron, introduced the Smart Bridge Pro, which adds support for more third-party devices; the four-button Pico wireless remote; Grafik T lighting control dimmer; and LED lighting solutions, including sleek new LED fixtures.

HEOS by Denon is a wireless multi-room sound system that offers its users the ability to stream their favorite music with Spotify Connect. The product line include three different multi-zone music player choices, the smaller $299 HEOS 3, the $399 HEOS 5 for medium to large rooms, and the $599 HEOS 7, which can deliver true wide-range high-fidelity stereo sound.

Sony showcased its VPL-VW600ES 4K Ultra HD projector with anamorphic 3D, and HD-to-4K upscaling. The projector is HDMI 2.0 compatible for 4K resolution at up to 60 frames per second, has 200,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio with SXRD technology and has an auto-calibration function.

In the Legrand booth, Middle Atlantic launched the Essex line of affordable equipment racks and accessories that were designed for easy selection and purchase, quick assembly, and simple integration. Essex includes three series of racks, horizontal and vertical power distribution and a selection of accessories, including thermal management, cable organization, rackshelves, and panels. Adding to custom integrators’ options for configuring wireless multi-room music systems, NuVo Technologies’ rack-mounted, three-zone P3500 Player for the Wi-Fi-based NuVo Wireless Audio System will play up to three different streaming sources independently in three zones and provide up to 200 watts of speaker power per zone. Vantage Controls’ Equinox 41 (pictured) continuous glass LCD touchscreen employs presence detection and light sensors to automatically wake up to a desired, personalized scenario and adjusts to ambient light conditions.

Complementing a customizable 3.5-inch color LCD touchscreen on RTI’s T3x are programmable “soft touch” hard buttons, providing quick access to common control functions, while five additional buttons have interchangeable keycaps for added convenience. The unit’s edge-to-edge touchscreen provides users with improved screen swiping while haptic feedback delivers a subtle vibration when pressing touchscreen buttons.

Platinum Tools’ TeleTitanXg 2.0 10Gig termination tool combines two crimpers into a single tool. Designed for Cat-6A cables, this tool improves efficiencies by not having to change out tools in the middle of a termination.

Vanco president Brad Corbin shows off the company’s new HDBaseT matrix selector switches, available in 4×4, 8×8, and 16×16 varieties. The company also introduced its Ultimate HDMI adapter, the Super Flex HDMI Male to Female Cable, which supports active and passive cables, 4k x 2K resolutions, data speed transfer up to 18 Gbps, Audio Return Channel, 3D, IP-based applications, and is UL listed.

D-Tools demonstrated its Systems Integrator 2015 estimation, design, and project management software, which includes new functionality around mobile installation management and quoting for tracking the status of install tasks, tracking time, adding notes, and syncing field data from a mobile device. The company also touted its Mobile Quote App, which was designed to enable integrators to generate quotes on the fly, natively on an iPad, the later import them into the full D-Tools SIX software platform.

LG’s Tim Alessie, director of new product development for home entertainment products, introduces the Ultra HD OLED TVs. The company’s 105-inch class Curved Ultra HDTV (model 105UC9) offers a 21:9 aspect ratio LCD screen with 11 million pixels and True 4K Engine Pro to upscale to near-Ultra HD quality. The company also showed its 77EC9800 77-inch curved display.

Steering the ship at Core Brands are (left to right): Bill Hensley, Yann Connan, Joe Roberts, John Benz, and Joe Lautner. At Core Brands, Niles Audio showcased its Auriel MRC-6430 whole-home audio controller, which allows access to up to six distinct music sources, from any smartphone, tablet, or a computer running Auriel software. ELAN spotlighted a major upgrade to its Linux-based Control Platform that enables better performance, easier installation, broader device compatibility, and greater scalability. It also offered two new g! controllers, the gSC2 and gSC10, which are faster and more scalable than before. Panamax previewed a new affordably priced M4000-PRO power manager that is designed for high-end AV system installations. It features BlueBOLT technology, which allows users to remotely manage their power, energy, and network from any web-enabled device. Xantech introduced its new flagship EN85K Ensemble universal IR kit, which features a thinner micro IR sensor to better blend with narrow TV bezels and ultra-thin displays. SpeakerCraft launched its first multiroom audio controller in almost a decade, revamped its stereo and multiroom amplifier lineup, and unveiled its next-generation AIM in-ceiling speakers with woofers and tweeters that can be directed in many more ways than before.

Kwikset showed its SmartCode 916, a touchscreen version of the company’s SmartCode 914 deadbolt lock. The SmartCode 916 provides all of the features of SmartCode– including keyless entry– combined with the added convenience and enhanced aesthetics of a capacitive touchscreen. Users can activate the SmartCode 916 with the touch of a finger.

OmniMount previewed its OE120IW inwall TV mount solution with in-wall box and a pre-assembled full-motion wall mount or high-end installations. By supplying both parts, the OE120IW eliminates the hassle of matching an in-wall box with a compatible mount and makes in-wall wiring feasible without an electrician.

Peerless-AV showed the 47-inch UV2 outdoor TV, which features an IP65 rating, making it water and dust resistant. The TV can also operate in severe temperatures, ranging from -24 to 124 degrees Fahrenheit. The company also introduced its PeerSound wireless audio systems (ADS100-B), a rack-mountable wireless audio transmission system with remote antenna that allows integrators to send up to eight channels of audio wirelessly to receivers/speakers up to 140 feet way.

Crestron ambassador and VP of global marketing Jeff Singer introduces Pyng, the app that IS the home automation system. In addition to its much-ballyhooed Pyng programming architecture (see review) Crestron demonstrated what it calls “the only end-to-end 4K certified distribution solution.” The company’s established DigitalMedia system can handle 4K signal transport, eliminating the complexities of mixing various high-definition resolutions and video together with audio in one system. The only end-to-end distribution system certified by the HDBaseT Alliance, DM provides the flexibility to distribute point-to-point uncompressed video over copper or fiber, or stream content, all from the same card-based matrix frame. Crestron also has rounded out its family of high-performance amplifiers with the new C2NAMP- 6X100, a six-zone amp designed for mid-size audio distribution systems.

Paul Hagman, president of Stealth Acoustics, demonstrates the Stealth Patio Theater. The Stealth Patio Theater (SPT) is a customizable outdoor entertainment solution consisting of a scalable, large-format, high-luminosity, motorized LED screen and Stealth Acoustics’ outdoor speaker and amplifier technologies. Incorporating motorized lifts and hidden containment structures, SPT rises out of a fixed structural element (that can be designed to match the above-ground outdoor architecture of a home) that safely houses the screen when not in use.

Harman featured three high-end cars, including this racer to draw attention to the harmonious relationship the company’s audio brands have with automobile manufacturers. Harman also featured its Lexicon MC-14 7.1 surround processor, which is designed for the optimal pairing for Lexicon’s RX-7 and

ZX-7 multi-channel amplifiers. The company also showcased its nine Revel Performa3 home theater and music loudspeakers that incorporate engineering and aesthetic enhancements to the original Performa Series. The company’s Mark Levinson brand introduced the No 585 integrated amplifier, which features Class AB amplification delivering 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 350 watts per channel into 4 ohms. Harman also showed its JBL Synthesis SDP-45 surround processor, an ultra high-end 7.1 home theater device with eight HDMI inputs, compatibility with all popular surround formats, balanced and single-ended connections, and easy setup menus. The company’s Revel brand showcased its 2-Series in-wall/in-ceiling speaker lineup with the introduction of its C283LP shallow-mount and C263LP shallow-mount in-ceiling speakers.

AudioControl’s Director Model M6400 Matrix amplifier, which features on-board digital signal processing, graphic and parametric equalization by zone, network monitoring and programming, plus the addition of volume control, channel/zone grouping and zone audio presets.

Honeywell’s LYNX Touch 7000 is a self-contained security and control system for homes and small businesses that features a seven-inch color touchscreen display with graphic icons and intuitive prompts. Users can view live video on up to four cameras. The LYNX Connect app lets users locally view video and control systems from any iOS or Android device.

Atlona’s CEO Ilya Khayn showed off the company’s new UHD-SYNC, a 4K tester and emulator for diagnosing and resolving HDMI connection problems in the field. His company also announced a global partnership with Bang & Olufsen under which Atlona products will be preconfigured for “plug-n-play” compatibility with B&O systems. B&O dealers will be able to buy Atlona products directly from B&O’s dealer website.

SunBriteTV showcased its upgraded Signature Series of outdoor TVs, which are thinner (3.5 inches) and lighter than their predecessors, as well as feature brighter LED panels and improved rust-proof, powder-coated aluminum exteriors. The company also showed its HD Wireless Transceiver (SB-HDWT), with is capable of transmitting full 1080p content up to 100 feet.

Phase Technology introduced the new 660 and 535 Series dARTS speakers, which offers increased performance over prior models with higher peak output and power handling, as well as its update CI Series of flush-mount speakers. The high-end in-ceiling and in-wall speakers have been redesigned with built-in mounting flange and microflange grille with a nearly invisible bezel. The price also has been reduced.

URC introduced the SNP-2 streaming network player, which is designed to be installed anywhere on the home Wi-Fi network as part of a Total Control whole-house automation system. Users can get instant two-way access to streaming music services, such as SiriusXM and Pandora, Rhapsody, and internet radio, as well as stored music using Windows Media Player or My Music. URC also added URC LED Lighting, a ZigBee-based wireless lighting control system that’s so easy to install that no high-voltage experience is required. These new, affordable products are installed as part of a Total Control or ccGEN2 whole-house home automation project. Similarly URC’s Vivido Series of two-way designer lighting solutions for Total Control and ccGEN2 include everything needed for integrated lighting, including master and accessory light dimmers, switches, a lamp dimming module, an appliance switching module and more. URC systems will control and dim all loads including LED, compact fluorescent, and MLV.

The W9 is Definitive Technology’s flagship audiophile-grade wireless speaker. Transducers on the front baffle and on both sides of the enclosure create a “Tri-Polar” dispersion pattern that radiates sound off of surrounding walls. The W9 is part of the company’s Wireless Collection, which connects with streaming music services, internet radio, and personal music libraries using DTS’s Play-Fi technology.

Luxul unveiled the XWC-1000, a wireless controller that delivers centralized management for up to eight wireless access points, with minimal roaming issues.

QMotion Advanced Shading Systems recently introduced the first trackless drapery rod, with a battery-operated motor tucked inside to reduce noise, and six external finishes.

The big message from the Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) Association was about its technology’s ability to support multi-zone, whole-house wireless audio capabilities. The multi-zone requirements and feature set have been defined by WiSA Association member companies over the last six months, to add simultaneous support of both wireless home theater playback and multi-zone stereo audio streams. The new WiSA extended distance compliance and testing specification offers multi-zone capability, simplifies audio setup for home theater and whole house to a single system, providing more than enough capability to meet the most discriminating audio enthusiast needs. With the new multi-zone capability, audio brands will be able to design wireless audio products that function in multiple use models including high fidelity stereo audio, multichannel home theater, and now multi-zone (whole home) all in a single system.

Control4 unveiled Composer Express, a mobile configuration tool that enables Control4 dealers to simplify and accelerate the set-up process for home automation systems. Now, a Control4 dealer’s technician should be able to configure most one-room home theaters or set up hundreds of devices in the most complex whole-home installations in a few hours using their Wi- Fi-enabled tablet or smartphone and simply walking around the building, installing devices, and having Composer Express auto-integrate them into the Control4 system. Composer Express uses Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP), the company’s internet of the things discovery protocol.

Newcomer Apollo showed its environmental TV enclosures, for 39- to 50- inch LED/LCD TVs. The enclosures are available in two sizes and are offered with accessories such as a pole mount for deck or planter installs and a heater module for extremely cold climates.

Casatunes’ new CT-4S and 8S streamers supply four or eight streams of internet music services, as well as iTunes or Windows Media music to RTI, Control4, Audio Authority, Channel Vision, SpeakerCraft, NuVo, and Russound systems. The systems include a 1TB hard drive for local music storage.

One Firefly introduced “Active” SEO, an integrated marketing system developed to create a steady flow of leads to custom integrators. The program combines website content, social media, PR, and eMarketing.

Metra Home Theater Group’s Stephanie Casimiro shows the new VELOX UHD cables, which support the new generation of HD, Ultra HD, and 4k video applications up to 10 meters.

Digital Projection International launched its INSIGHT series of 4K projectors for elite home entertainment. The series is comprised of two solutions, a high-brightness, laser-illuminated model (the INSIGHT 4K LASER), and a REC 2020 color-space-capable LED model (the INSIGHT 4K LED). Both projectors enlist the stability of solid-state, 20,000-hours-plus Lifetime Illumination.

After integrating the Dish Hopper whole-home HD DVR with Control4 last year, Dish has expanded the initiative by sharing its API with Crestron, Savant, and AMX. The integration allows users to manage entertainment and other home technology, like lighting, temperature, and security, using one interface.

Derick Dahl of Dana Innovations shows how the company has brought hard buttons to the iPad with the iPort LaunchPort With Buttons, and inductive charger and magnetic mount.

(Left to right) IC Realtime’s Bob Odierna, Matt Sailor, and Dmitry Kozko direct traffic around the new IC720 two-lens megapixel, solid-state cameras built around the technology, and share streaming stories about the company’s work with Scuderia Racing with Ferrari as proof of the capabilities of this product.

Designed to be used with Pro Control’s advanced ProLink.z processor, the Pro.zwi Z-wave interface provides the communication interface between a Pro Control system and a building’s lighting, door locks, thermostats, and other Z-Wave-enabled devices, eliminating the need for a different app for each Z-Wave device.

The fixDock mini is the newest member of the Austria-based iRoom family and supports iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina

Paradigm’s new Prestige Series loudpeakers are what the company calls “authentic, handcrafted piece(s) of art, designed, engineered, and fully Crafted in Canada,” by people who love great audio. There are five models, including three floorstanding speakers, two center channels, one surround channel, and one bookshelf speaker.

Pakedge founders (left to right) Nick Phillips, Victor Pak, and Dusan Jankov celebrated 10 years in business at this year’s EXPO. The company offered prizes and discounts for those who attended their free product training or BakPak demo. Those who attended training were automatically entered into a prize drawing to win one custom liquid-cooled gaming PC and 15 percent off their next Pakedge order.

Yale Locks’ Kevin Kraus shows off the Z-Wave Alliance member’s next generation of key-free deadbolt locks.

Epson’s new PowerLite Pro Cinema LS10000 4K enhancement projector and the Pro Cinema LS9600e Wireless 1080p projector deliver images with up to 1,500 lumens of color brightness and 1,500 lumens of white brightness. The projectors combine Epson’s new 3LCD Reflective technology and a laser light source.

Christie brought its 85 years of cinema experience to CEDIA, showcasing a variety of 3-chip DLP, 1-chip DLP, flat-panel and audio solutions available for home entertainment.

Somfy Systems launched its new Sonesse Ultra 50 motor range of motorizing options for a wide variety of window coverings. Available in line voltage AC and low-voltage DC, the Sonesse Ultra’s acoustics performance makes for a near-silent experience, according to the company.

Leon Speakers debuted Leon LX, a universal re-design of its Horizon, Profile and Detail Series speakers, and also Leon Classic, its first-ever line of fixed-size speakers that will serve as your go-to stocked solution. Also on display was the Horizon Curve soundbar to show how high-fidelity audio and custom design can pair perfectly with any curved display. It also showcased it Media Décor solutions, designed to seamlessly conceal TVs and speakers, including the DGE Media Frame, Elite Moving Art, and Dual Eclipse Art Lift.

Clare Controls’ Brigette McCarthy demonstrates the MyClareHome app to CEDIA Daily and Residential Systems editorial director Jeremy Glowacki.

Doug Fealtman cues up 4K test patterns via the DVDO AVLabTPG, a CalMAN-ready pocket-sized unit that supports full 4K UHD at 50/60Hz, as specified in Version 2.0 of the HDMI standard.

OSD Audio unveiled an expansion of its speaker line with the introduction of the OSD Black Series high-performance architectural speakers, sold exclusively through distributors and dealers. The series comprises 18 models, including ceiling, wall, LCR, and dual-tweeter units switchable for single-point stereo and surround applications.

Russound introduced the latest upgrades to its MCA series of controllers–the MCA-66 and MCA-88. Both units feature the option of reliable streaming of Bluetooth content from phones and tablets, the ability to listen, control and share sources through three digital inputs, updated IR code libraries to control any AV source, and expandability to as many as six controllers, creating an integrated system of up to 48 zones. The company also showed the new D850 and D1650 digital multichannel amplifiers, which are designed to supply smooth, reliable power and easily scalable zones while offering Class D advantages including decreased heat, lower energy consumption, and a more compact size.

Electric Mirror’s Steve Lamancha and Travis Boyd show off Iris, the next generation of mirror TV technology.David Sprosty (left) and Johan Coorg (right) from KEF, soak in some tunes on the M500 hi-fi headphones. Wilson Electronics featured its new Pro Series line of high-performance, self-optimizing wide-band cellular signal boosters designed specifically for today’s custom integration projects. Featuring simplified installation and providing larger signal coverage area than ever before, the Pro Series boosters present new business opportunities for technology integrators and custom installers.

Artison unveiled the company’s first freestanding subwoofer, the RCC Nano 1. Measuring only 7.5 inches x 8 inches x 9 inches, including feet and grilles, the 300-watt sub has the piston area of an oversized 8-inch woofer. It is outfitted with variable crossover and dual-active 6.5-inch long-throw aluminum drivers.

Autonomic Unveiled its Dealer Zone web portal, enabling integrators to manage critical areas of the their business in real time and with increased efficiency. This will enable dealers to provide their customers with rapid access to the latest firmware, features, and services without sending a technician onsite.

After reintroducing its outdoor speakers line last year, Bogen Communications’ NEAR Speakers returned to CEDIA with the IG series and LB4T, which both feature built-in, multi-tap 70V transformers with 8-Ohm bypass, weatherproof materials, and in-ground installation. Founder and general manager Bill Kieltyka (center) greeted guests at the company’s patio beer garden party during the show.

Pro Audio Technology’s CEDIA demos usually focus on the extremes of what audio can achieve. This year, the company ’s demo products were specifically selected with an eye toward economy, space-savings, and uncompromised performance. Three of PRO’s passive SCRS-6iw infinite-baffle in-wall speakers, each of which features a professional 6.5-inch long-throw woofer with low-frequency extension down to 52 Hz, and a professional, 1-inch, horn-loaded compression driver with high-frequency extension to beyond 30kHz fronted the system. A pair of PRO’s passive SCRS-5iw in-wall served as surround effects channels, while low-frequency effects were delivered via a pair of LFC-12v architectural subwoofers, which pack a professional 12-inch driver with a 4-inch voice coil into a ported enclosure measuring just six inches deep. DSP-optimized power for the demo system was delivered by a single PRO DMA-1508.

Monoprice returned to EXPO, having launched a 2-channel 40 Watt Bluetooth Amplifier ($91.85). This all-inclusive stereo amplifier delivers 20-watts per channel into 4-ohm loads, which is more than enough to drive most bookshelf speakers. It can also be bridged to produce 40 watts into a single 8-ohm load. It features a -95dB signal-to-noise ratio at 1kHz (4 ohms) and a 20Hz to 20kHz (-3dB) frequency response. The amp features two line level inputs (one RCA, the other 3.5mm TRS), as well as Bluetooth connectivity.

Save the date: CEDIA EXPO 2015 in Dallas, Texas, October 14-17