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CEDIA Recap: An Eye on the Future

It was a big year for CEDIA in the Big D (that’s Dallas).

It was a big year for CEDIA in the Big D (that’s Dallas). Not only did the organization debut its new brand strategy and visual identity, but it experienced a 16 percent increase in integrator attendance and a six percent increase in the number of exhibitors participating in the show over last year. More than 18,700 attendees participated in this year’s event alongside 510 exhibiting companies. CEDIA also introduced its newly hired CEO, Vin Bruno, for the first time, and kicked things off with an inspiring look to the technology world ahead, with a keynote address from futurist Michael Rogers.

Futurist and CEDIA keynote speaker Michael Rogers

“CEDIA 2015 provides a unique opportunity to showcase the brand identity and bring it to life for so many of our members,” Bruno said. “From our new exhibit space and the breadth of our in-booth programming to the inspiring keynote address, the show gives us an excellent platform to envelop members with the CEDIA brand and reinforce what it stands for–vision, collaboration, innovation, and passion.” The brand strategy work also generated a new vision statement for CEDIA, “Life Lived Best at Home.”

CEDIA prepares to open the show

“Our community of integrators is revolutionizing the way people experience their best moments in life at home,” Bruno said. “We give them comfort, safety, control, connection, and entertainment. The new vision reflects the emotional impact to clients. It’s not about the technology, but how the technology improves the moments you and your family spend together at home.”

While it’s impossible to cover all of the new products from the show in one article, Residential Systems editors compiled this “debrief” of many of the noteworthy introductions. Rest assured that much more product news will be presented online and in future print editions. For now, please enjoy this review of the show:

Richard Millson

Millson Custom Solutions’ all-in-one entertainment system houses three L/C/R front channel speakers, a dual-driver subwoofer module, a 12-channel digital amplifier, an AV preamp/processor with a builtin Gigabit Ethernet switch, an AC power distribution module with commercial-quality surge protection, AV source components, and an automation processor. And all of this fits within a custom steel back box that mounts inside a standard depth wall right behind the TV. Once installed, the entire system is essentially invisible.

Digital Projection featured its INSIGHT 4K Dual-LED, which features 3,000 lumens and a color gamut capable of displaying REC 2020 color space, and the INSIGHT 4K Laser, which offers 20,000 hours of illumination life and no lamp replacements required.

Kwikset announced at CEDIA that two of its popular SmartCode deadbolt locks are now “Crestron Connected,” making them compatible with Crestron control systems. Using embedded Creston infiNET EX wireless technology, the Kwikset SmartCode deadbolt locks with Home Connect can receive commands and even communicate with other devices through the Crestron control system.

Jeff Singer, Crestron

Crestron’s key message at CEDIA 2015 was, “the luxury home made easier,” with a focus on its new Home Elements toolkit, which was developed in conjunction with Pyng technology to allow dealers to deliver the performance, scalability, and reliability of the Crestron home. According to Crestron’s Jeff Singer, 300 products can now be programmed by Pyng, and that is “just going to keep growing and growing. Now, in addition to lights, shades, audio distribution, touchscreens, and many other devices, you can use the iPad to quickly set up ONVIF cameras, additional security systems, RGB lighting controls, and wireless fan controls.” Now, Pyng is simply another module in the Home Elements toolkit—a new set of object-oriented tools for programmers of high-end home automation systems. The Home Elements toolkit streamlines setup of video distribution and customized controls that work across Crestron Pyng and 3-Series control platforms. It provides a template of pretested modules that form the building blocks of core functionality for most systems, according to the company. The toolkit is meant to make it faster and easier for Crestron dealers to deliver a consistent and completely personalized luxury automation experience in every room, and on every interface.

Mike Strange, SpeakerCraft

In the massive Core Brands booth, SpeakerCraft expanded its Profile line of in-ceiling and in-wall speakers to include two new in-ceiling Accufit UltraSlim models, both of which are designed for spaces too shallow for traditional in-ceilings. The line also includes two new models in the Profile AIM Wide series, both of which are meant to create a more diffused rear sound field in a home theater. Proficient debuted an all-new flagship line of architectural speakers and a revamp of its existing Protegé speaker line. The Signature Series will offer a major step up in performance over Protegé and incorporates a new industrial design.

Slateplan, a Silicon Valley startup, launched is floorplan-based software solution, which allows home technology professionals to collaborate with clients, instantly adjust scope and budgets in realtime, show clients what they should be spending on technology, and help close the deal in the first meeting.

The big news at Control4 was the company’s all-new security experience. The operating system, OS 2.8, offers a redesigned user interface that is streamlined for easier and more comprehensive control, as well as new management tools for monitoring and personalizing a homeowner’s access. OS 2.8 also includes Mockupancy, which is a new capability that “automatically mimics a household’s normal routines and behaviors with a smart home security experience that easily integrates with today’s leading security systems, smart locks, and cameras. It also offers native streaming of music services from Pandora, Deezer, and TIDAL. Additionally, OS 2.8 delivers a number of other dealer tools, most notably the ability to back up and retrieve Control4 project configurations to and from the cloud.

On Controls is a leader in cloud-enabled smart home and commercial control solutions for professional installers. According to VP of sales Adam Gold, it is the only control solution in the market that does not have a centralized processor. “Our brain is your handheld device,” he said. The company also added Honeywell to its Partners in Control cooperative program. The program has been created to achieve complete compatibility between the On Controls platform and a vast array of connected device manufacturers from related residential market applications such as audio, video, HVAC, security, lighting control, and others.

Savant’s new Savant Remote takes the elevated universal remote entertainment experience to a more affordable level. Demos at the booth showed that for both integrators and consumers, app-based setup was easy and the remote itself was simple to use. It will give end users control of both their home and their entertainment—Savant hopes it will be the only remote they’ll ever need. The high-resolution touchscreen controls devices like Apple TV, cable, Sonos, and even lights. Plus, the touchscreen elevates additional controls like keypads or search only when the user needs them—eliminating the need for extra buttons. Savant’s Tim McInerney demonstrated the remote’s new voice control feature, noting that with “natural language, homeowners can say things like “FOOD NETWORK,” “LIGHTS ON,” or “MOVIE NIGHT,” letting them direct their homes from their favorite seats. And, the Savant Remote “works with more than 380,000 entertainment devices, making it an ideal match for anyone’s living room,” McInerney said.

Colin Clark and Charlie Porritt, Russound

Russound’s XTS Touchscreen is a stylish in-wall touchscreen that runs an embedded version of the MyRussound App. XTS works exclusively with Russound MCA-Series/C-Series controllers and XStream systems, connecting to the network rather than the controller, making placement flexible. The company also introduced new additions to its XStream wireless audio solutions and the new A250 and A2100 rack-mountable amplifiers. The new streaming models are the XSource streaming audio player and the XZone4 four-stream, fourzone audio system.

URC’s TRC-820 is the newest Total Control feature-packed handheld remote that provides instant monitoring, access, and full control of everything in the house. Key features include a new ergonomic design, 2-inch color high-resolution LCD screen, the ability to customize buttons and functions, live video on the remote’s screen for video surveillance, and more. All can be tailored by the pro integrator to suit every homeowner for just $399 MSRP. When coupled with the new MRX-8 Compact Controller, you get full home automation, unlimited mobiles apps for iOS and Android, plus the featured-rich TRC-820—all for under $1,000 MSRP.

ClareControls unveiled new tools and resources, including the new ClareHome app, myClareHome. com customer portal, and dedicated customer support. These new services enable users to easily interact with their Clare Controls systems. With new features in the ClareHome app, homeowners using Android and iOS devices can set schedules, create automation scenes, conduct multi-step actions, and create notifications with DIY-like ease, according to Zemanek. At the same time, integrators have complete visibility of these changes and can remotely view, add, delete, reconfigure, and recover previous versions.

RTI’s Z-Wave wireless lighting controls are big news for the company. They feature intuitive control from an in-wall smart switch, RTI user interface, smartphone, tablet, or PC. The device performs as an extension of the RTI control system and can easily adjust lighting throughout a home with one touch, according to the company. The new lighting is said to be ideal for new construction and retrofit installations. RTI is also supporting audio intercom between RTI user interfaces and third-party devices via the standard SIP protocol.

Lutron Electronics unveiled the Palladiom QS keypad, which provides an architectural aesthetic with a sleek, minimalist design. It’s touted as the first of its kind to feature flush buttons and faceplates made of the same material–plastic, glass, or metal. Its customizable button layout and programming accommodates most functions. The company also introduced its new Triathlon WIDR roller shades, which are available in sizes from 20.5 inches wide by 12 inches, tall up to 12 feet wide by 12 feet tall. These shades come in a wide variety of fabric colors and textures to meet the needs of larger spaces.

Bose introduced its next-generation SoundTouch wireless music systems. Now, every SoundTouch system–including the new little SoundTouch 10 speaker–all have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built in. With Bluetooth, you can stream any song, playlist, music service, and YouTube directly from a phone or tablet. With Wi-Fi, you can broadcast it to as many SoundTouch speakers as you have, or use the SoundTouch app to explore integrated music services, set personalized presets, and enjoy different music in different rooms.

Epson was at CEDIA with new 1080p Pro Cinema projectors that deliver up to 6,000 lumens of color and white brightness like previous models. They’re designed for use in rooms with higher levels of ambient brightness. Two of the models, the 6,000-lumen G6970WU and 5,200-lumen G6570WU, integrate with Crestron, AMX, Extron XTP, and Control4. Both models will feature HDBaseT ports and six interchangeable lenses.

Pakedge introduced its new Connect+ Platform, a series of integrated routers, switches, wireless devices, and power devices that feature easy setup features, AV-specific innovations, and artificial intelligence. The Connect+ Platform exemplifies Pakedge’ s vision for a smarter network designed specifically to deliver scalable and reliable multimedia networking performance. As part of this series, the company introduced what it claims is the industry’s first truly Gigabit router. Purpose-designed for high-volume and highspeed applications, the RK-1 will be available in November. The second Gigabit access point, the WK-2, is an 802.11ac AP with a 3×3 MIMO array that boasts Gigabit throughput.

Neil Pasteris of Visual Sports

Visual Sports, a sports simulation company founded in 199, showed its newest simulator, SwingTrack, with newer high-speed cameras and software.

At the Legrand booth Middle Atlantic Products demonstrated a variety of creative mounting and cable management solutions designed to accommodate the trend toward small devices and free up room for more rack-mount equipment. These accessories included patented shelves and the Lever Lock Internal Management System that maximize space within racks or furniture. The company also showed new software for its Nuvo Player Portfolio system, making its multiroom wireless system less expensive and easier to install. The new software, version 3.0, eliminates the need for the system’s Gateway, enabling the system’s P100, P200, and P300 wireless players to connect directly to a home’s existing Wi-Fi router. Two new additions to its Nuvo Player Portfolio hybrid audio system include the Nuvo P10 Keypad, a wall-mounted, Power-over-Ethernet keypad that delivers single-zone control of the audio’s volume, track, and source, makes the Player Portfolio the first wired/wireless system to offer an integrated keypad option. The company also announced new drivers for Crestron and Control4 that deliver integration of the Player Portfolio homes using these popular control systems. Vantage, which recently joined the Azione Unlimited buying group, has doubled the processing speed for its V2 software and added a widget within its Equinox lighting control system to control multi-colored LEDs decorative lights.

Producing full-range audio (50 Hz to 20 kHz), Peerless-AV’s Xtreme Outdoor Soundbar (SPK- 060) is a powered outdoor speaker offering 60 watts of power and an IP65 rating and Bluetooth compatibility.

Origin Acoustics launched its Theater Collection IW Series, with two new towering models, the THTR66 and THTR68. The Collection uses larger woofers and midrange drivers. Quad 6.5- inch drivers partner with its patented DPSD 1-inch tweeter for better accuracy and sonic linearity. The company also unveiled new 10- and 12-inch in-wall subwoofers. The 10-inch Aluminum Composer Retrofit In-Wall Subwoofer will feature Origin’s Slide Enclosure and also comes available with a 43.5-inch damp enclosure for new construction installations. It also showcased two new additions to its Director Collection by way of dual-woofer in-ceiling subs with multiple port options.

Apollo unveiled its 65-inch outdoor TV enclosure, responding to the demand for bigger models and savings. This new larger size will fit 60- to 65-inch slim LED TVs.

James Loudspeaker is expanding its line of sound bars with slim 3-inch full-range models called the SLT3 Series. Intended for vertical application on either side of any flat-panel TV, James engineers were able to achieve the compact 3.15-inch wide/4.75-inch deep form factor by creating a bandpass enclosure with the sound bar to accommodate four proprietary 3.5-inch aluminum woofers. James also added the MQ84/MQ84A full-range L/C/R array modules to its Mavericks home theater line. It is a four-way loudspeaker available either with a built-in passive crossover (MQ84) or with an optional external active multi-channel amplifier/crossover (MQ84A).

Meridian launches its new Design and Specification Service, which is free to Meridian dealers, offering the ability to easily specify systems throughout the entire home.

Atlona has shipped 20 out of 24 products introduced this year, and will have shipped 23 before the end of 2015. The company highlighted its UHD-PRO3 dual-distance HDMI-to-HDBaseT matrix switchers, including its new AT-UHDPRO3- 1616M 16×16, which is equipped to handle 4K/UHD @60 Hz with Power over Ethernet and HDCP 2.2 copy protection.

Miranda Grantham, Metra

Metra Home Theater Group brought a selection of new products to CEDIA that to help improve signal delivery in residential and commercial installation. The M3B Metra multimedia broadcast systems, which come in both hardwired and wireless versions, allow integrators to install either a flexible multi-source video distribution system into any home using the existing coax and splitters or a point-to-point long-distance wireless system. Metra also launched the Ethereal HDMGA1, which allows the integrator to utilize existing in-wall passive HDMI cables up to 15 meters in length to upgrade and support the full 4K/60, 4:4:4, HDR signal now available in many video products.

Johan Coorg, KEF

KEF’s new Blade Two is slightly smaller than its predecessor and offers a shorter frequency range. It’s designed for customers with limited space that still want KEF-quality audio.

Yale Locks & Hardware demonstrated a new lock developed through the Works with Nest program that is fully integrated with the Nest home. Named after the company’s founder, Linus Yale, the Linus lock combines Nest’s thoughtful approach to the connected home and Yale’s deep knowledge and experience in lock security.

Chuck Geiling, MantelMount

MantelMount’s Chuck Geiling showed his company’s articulating mounting solution in the Innovation Alley section of the CEDIA show floor. The product is engineered to provide a simple, easy-to-use method of lowering the position of televisions (screen sizes 48 to 80 inches) that are mounted above fireplaces, providing a more comfortable viewing position.

Harman introduced the Revel C383XC and C363XC competitively priced extreme climate flush-mount speakers that were designed to deliver true high-performance sound, and its Concerta2 Series loudspeakers, which feature contoured enclosures, high-gloss finishes, and elegant design accents. The speakers employ a 1-inch aluminum tweeter with an integral phase ring, derived from Revel’s Performa3 Series. The company also showcased its Mark Levinson No 536 mono power amp, which delivers 400 watts (into 8 ohms, 800 watts into 4 ohms), to power even hard-to-drive loudspeakers to generous volume levels in larger rooms.

Bryston introduced the Model T Cinema reference home theater in-wall speaker, which leverages design cues from the flagship Model T floor-standing speaker. Bryston employed seven drivers in a three-way configuration capable of up to 120dB of output without dynamic compression.

Tim Alessi, LG

It’s been a year since LG debuted its first 4K UHD OLED TV at CEDIA and now the company is positioning the technology to be more accessible to the consumer market and custom integrators with price reductions of 30 to 45 percent on its EF9500 flat OLED 4K TV, which features the company’s webOS Smart TV platform that makes finding and switching between content options more intuitive and faster.

Autonomic showcased its newest software version 5.2, which includes an array of enhancements and features, including Murfie, an online music marketplace with a vast collection of CDs. Murfie customers can send their physical media to the company’s headquarters, where it is digitized and stored in the cloud to be streamed on the Mirage Music Player or on the user’s Apple or Android devices.

Draper showcased its Lightbloc Zip, which combines the company’s standard Motorized Lightbloc FlexShade with its FlexShade Zip to create a more efficient blackout system for windows.

Elite Prime Vision, the dedicated custom install division of Elite Screens, introduced its new ISFcertified matte white fixed-frame projection screen, called the Peregrine ISF.

SunBriteTV entered the 4K UHD field with a new 84-inch outdoor television, the most recent addition to its rugged Pro Series product line. The SB-8418UHD is the first 84-inch 4K UHD outdoor display designed from the ground up for permanent and year-round outdoor installation.

Ihiji introduced its new software as a service (SaaS) tool, called the Ihiji ServiceManager. It is designed to make it simple for integrators to be more effective at creating, selling, and administrating remote-managed services, client care programs, and recurring monthly revenue service plans.

Zigen featured two new HDMI switches–the SW41 and SW42–which are HDCP 2.2 compliant, having advanced EDID management, full audio support IR, RS232, and LAN support.

Torus Power’s new TOT AVR model delivers transformer-based power conditioning for electrical isolation, separating sensitive electronic equipment from electrical impurities carried by the power grid, while preserving the integrity of AV signals.

Primacoustic “Paintables” clouds are a new series of high-performance acoustic panels that users can paint. The Paintables clouds include the circular Cirrus, the hexagonal Hexus, and the square Altos.

Just Add Power demoed its third-generation (3G) Ultra HD over IP transmitters and receivers with built-in 4K up/downscaler that can simultaneously deliver multiple sources of 4K content with HDCP 2.2 from HDMI 2.0 devices, as well as 1080p and lower content from HDMI 1.x devices to a virtually unlimited number of screens.

Arlington’s 8×10 steel TV Box was one of products featured at CEDIA. It offers a flexible solution for flat-screen TV installation in new or retrofit work, accepting standard-style plates with receptacles and decorator-style devices with plates, as well as Arlington’s Scoop series entrance plates and hoods.

NEAR introduced the brand’s first two bundled outdoor speaker systems–NEARSCAPES. Both systems include NEAR’s LB4TM “satellite” speakers plus an in-ground 10-inch subwoofer. The NEARSCAPES 4.1 system featuring four LB4TMs and one IGS10 subwoofer covers a 3,000-square-foot area, while the 2.1 system with two satellites and one sub covers 1,500 square feet.

Luxul introduced the XAP-1510, a wireless access point designed specifically for the CEDIA channel. It combines high output power and 802.11ac 3×3 dual-band technology with beamforming. The result is the ability to provide data rates up to 1900 Mbps and wide wireless coverage.

Sony’s Mike Fasulo and Yamato Tanikawa

Sony launched three new 4K projectors during CEDIA, including a laser projector said to deliver multiple industry firsts. The VPL-W5000ES is being promoted as the industry’s first 4K laser projector designed specifically for home theaters to deliver 5,000 lumens of color-light brightness, high dynamic range, the full DCI-P3 color space and the ITU’s BT2020 color space to take advantage of future video sources.

Screen Innovations brought its newest models of projection screens to CEDIA, including the new Intellimask, which the company proclaims is the first “non-masking masking screen.” Rather than the traditional practice of moving fabric masking to cover over the sides of the screen, the screen’s actual frame is capable of contracting from a 16:9 to 2.40:1 aspect ratio in less than 10 seconds. Keeping in sync with its goal to make at-home technologies blend into the aesthetics of living spaces, Dana Innovations’ newest product, the iPort Surface Mount, allows you to do just that with an iPad. The Surface Mount bezel sports a minimalist aesthetic and occupies a minimal footprint on the wall, and enables all iPad functions while installed.

JVC introduced a new line of custom installation projectors with models that are nearly 50 percent brighter than current JVC projectors. Two full-speed 18 Gbps HDMI inputs with HDCP 2.2 provide connection to the latest 4K UHD sources with support for up to 4096×2160 resolution, including HDR and 4:4:4 color sampling. The 2016 additions are the Procision Series DLA-X950R, DLA-X750R, and DLA-X550R and the Reference Series DLA-RS600, DLARS500, and DLA-RS400.

ESP/SurgeX showcased Envision, a power diagnostics system that measures and records power conditions and presents detailed data in live or datestamped reports. As integrators and electricians work together to complete a job, Envision provides energy data that can be used to accurately identify the source of common electrical issues the first time around, saving money for the consumer as well as time and resources for the integrator and electrician by preventing unnecessary service or repairs.

H-P Products described its distribution agreement with SEBO to provide U.S. central vacuum dealers with two new electric powerheads. The German-engineered Acclaim by SEBO models weigh less than six pounds each and are designed with longevity, versatility, and ease of use in mind.

Nortek Security & Control introduced its GoControl smart home portfolio that brings added safety, security and convenience to the smart home with a full line of wireless home control products. GoControl devices work with Nortek Security & Control’s own 2GIG system and with many of the most professionally installed control platforms, security systems, and DIY control hubs in the market today.

Vizio’s Reference Series

The PowerHouse Alliance was on hand to showcase the VIZIO Reference Series collection that is now available for order through specialty dealers and custom installers. Both the 120- and 65- inch 4K Ultra HD High Dynamic Range TVs were on display at the show. VIZIO teamed up with PowerHouse to build a network of VIZIO trained and authorized specialty dealers that are supported and serviced through the Alliance. Each PowerHouse distributor member company will be fully trained ambassadors of the VIZIO brand and will proactively deliver product training on residential and commercial installation for the VIZIO Reference Series and VIZIO P-Series Ultra HD collections. The training PowerHouse will offer includes accurate and safe installation such as mounting, wiring, and calibration. To ensure both dealer and customer satisfaction, quality control checks are in place for both the Reference Series units upon delivery and through installation.

The Z-Wave Alliance, a global consortium of 325 member companies supporting the Z-Wave Wireless IoT standard, created a Z-Wave Pavilion at CEDIA 2015, with the message that more than 1,400 certified products are available, and more than 40 million devices are installed worldwide using the wireless standard.

Monster featured its Monster SoundStage high-definition multi-room wireless music system at CEDIA 2015. Custom integrators can now offer their customers the ability to deliver “Pure Monster Sound” from virtually any device, service or app to any room in their homes via a variety of system speakers now available, including the Model S1 (SRP $279.95), S2 (SRP 349.95), and S3 (SRP $449.95).

Among its growing collection of connectors, tools, and wiring products, Platinum Tools featured its EZ-DataLock Strain Relief, which is designed to secure network cables from tampering. Available in two sizes, they work with the company’s EZ-RJ45 Cat-5e connectors and all standard RJ45 Cat-6 connectors.

SnapAV launched Luma, a new line of analog and IP-based surveillance products. Designed to support the next generation of analog surveillance, Luma DVRs feature 1080p resolution thanks to the HD-TVI technology and new Luma 600-series analog cameras. Luma NVRs feature built-in Power over Ethernet switch on all ports, plus plug-and-play capabilities with Wirepath IP cameras. The company also launched its Episode Speakers Signature line of premium speakers, with unique details such as adjustable elliptical tweeters in in-ceiling models that provide flatter frequency response for consistent sound quality at every volume level.

Definitive Technology added the W Studio Micro to its wireless soundbar collection. Designed to deliver audiophile-grade home theater sound in an ultra-slim package, the sound bar system stands at just 1.75 inches high.

Stewart Filmscreen introduced its new Tela 80 woven acoustically transparent screen material to provide Stewart-quality image fidelity and added speaker placement flexibility.

Paradigm Electronics unveiled the first three models of its Premium Wireless series, the PW 800 premium wireless speaker, PW 600 compact premium wireless speaker, and PW AMP premium wireless amplifier. Utilizing DTS Play-Fi technology, these products allow listeners to stream their high-resolution music wirelessly up to 24-bit/192kHz over an existing Wi-Fi network to any number of connected speakers that utilize DTS Play-Fi technology once paired with the Play-Fi App. DTS Play-Fi is an open platform, meaning listeners are able to mix and match any DTS Play-Fi-enabled audio products from a selection of top audio brands.

BEAM unveiled a new addition to its central vac system, called the Precision power brush, which includes a retractable blade that cuts through hair, thread, and pet hair that get entangled in the brush roll. The consumer simply steps on the Brushroll Clean pedal on the powerhead to clean the brush roll. It eliminates the frustration of having to use scissors or pull the tangled hair out of the brush roll by hand or the need to take their powerhead in for service. It allows the brush roll to work like new every time.