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Top Trends at CEDIA EXPO 2012 - ResidentialSystems.com

Top Trends at CEDIA EXPO 2012

The custom installation industry has changed a lot over the years, with much of its current “personality” having been affected by the state of the U.S. economy and ubiquity of certain product categories that were once the unique bastion of high-end integration companies.
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An Editors Selection of top trends at CEDIA’s Annual Convention

The custom installation industry has changed a lot over the years, with much of its current “personality” having been affected by the state of the U.S. economy and ubiquity of certain product categories that were once the unique bastion of high-end integration companies. New products at CEDIA EXPO, therefore, are now more “evolutionary” than “revolutionary” than in prior years. The incremental changes in technology may not have elicited as many “must-see” reactions from attendees at the show, but there were still plenty of new products and burgeoning technologies on display. Here is Residential Systems’ editors selection of “most notable” new products, technologies, and trends from Indianapolis.

Most Notable… Dedicated Touchpanels

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The CEDIA EXPO show floor opens on Day 1 in Indianapolis, and picks up steam on the show floor the next day (inset). Despite the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones in the CI market, there were still a notable number of application-specific dedicated in-wall and tabletop control system touchpanels introduced at CEDIA EXP.

The newest addition to the Crestron family is the TSW-750 surface-mount touchscreen featuring seven-inch edge-to-edge glass, Core 3 UI graphics and five soft-touch buttons for quick access to commonly used functions such as “Power,” “Home,” “Lights,” “Up,” and “Down.” Additional features include high-performance H.264 video, Rava SIP intercom, and advanced Core 3 UI touchscreen graphics.

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Clare Controls added a new Linux-based controller and wireless Z-Wave support to its ClareHome line of home automation systems to reach more aggressive price points and expand the selection of controllable home systems. The addition of Z-Wave support enables Clare’s systems to control such Z-Waveenabled products as Schlage door locks and Z-Wave thermostats/humidistats.

Clare Controls founder
and CEO Brett Price with
the ClareRemote, an iPod touch-based handheld remote.
RTI unveiled its new KX7 in-wall seven-inch color-LCD touchpanel, 3.5-inch KX2 in-wall keypad controller with LCD display, and SURFiR RF companion remote for home-control functions.

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URC’s dual-gang TKP-7000 in-wall touchscreen features a 7-inch 1024x600 full-color capacitivetouch display that uses finger swipes to reach room menus to control systems in remote rooms. It provides two-way feedback from URC components and select third-party components, and it displays security-camera video. Power can be supplied via a single Ethernet cable connected to a Power Over Ethernet (PoE) router/switch or PoE injector.

Andrew Wale, VP of marketing for Vantage, with the Equinox 7, one of four in-wall LCD
keypads that the company
introduced at CEDIA EXPO.
Vantage Controls’ three new Equinox LCD touchscreens, including basic single-gang Equinox4, a larger 7-UX, and single-gang 4-UX. They connect to the company’s Infusion control system.

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Offering installers and homeowners a flexible dual-use interface device for residential environments, ELAN Home Systems is adding its ELAN VL10 Valet 10- inch hard-wired tabletop and under-cabinet mounted color LCD touchscreen family ELAN g! system interfaces. It features ELAN’s “touch and swipe” can double as a TV thanks to the included analog video input.

…Newcomers

Among the 90 companies new to the show floor at CEDIA, startup G2 Interactive (G2i) was one of the most visible, introducing its mid-market cloud-based security/home automation system with a monthly recurring revenue service contract business model, and a turnkey design with strong margins, requiring no programming.

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DarbeeVision’s general manager Gary Beckstrom. Also notable was DarbeeVision, which is led by Universal Electronics co-founder Paul Darbee. This CEDIA newcomer demonstrated the Darblet, an iPhone-sized accessory that uses proprietary technology to process any HDMI video output and deliver an enhanced sense of perceived depth and clarity in video.

Also new to EXPO was Simplicikey, a manufacturer of remote control electronic deadbolts that provides three methods of home entry: via keyfob, keypad, and key. Up to eight different key fobs can be programmed to one SimpliciKey, each featuring robust 128-bit encryption and offering a range up to 50 feet.

XGOLF America manufactures golf simulators that feature industry firsts, such as Xplate, a stance platform that changes and shifts according to ball lie position on the screen and Xball, an automatic ball-teeing system that gathers, feeds, and tees up the next shot.

Jeff Zemanek (standing), VP of sales and marketing at Silicon Valley startup G2 Interactive and Reed Stevens (third from right), CEO, used a unique press conference forum featuring veteran custom integrator dealers who endorsed their idea. Also pictured (r-l) are integrators Peter Shipp, Richard Millson, and Tom Doherty.EdenDesign featured its new flush-mount inwall adaptors for iPad, iPod, and lighting control solutions, including mounting adapters for iPad that feature an integrated biometric lock and a covert lock using a proximity key.

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AudioXperts is a new luxury audio brand founded by industry veteran, Eli Harary, with products that include the Korners Speaker, a twoway L/C/R loudspeaker with the ability to fit perfectly into any corner or anywhere a wall meets the ceiling or floor, and the Korners Kompact Sub, a wireless-ready, 100-watt powered subwoofer.

Former Niles Audio president Frank Sterns returned to the systems integration industry as president of low-voltage LED lighting manufacturer NuLEDs, which offers a patent-pending Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting technology powered via Cisco network IT infrastructure and controlled by Apple and Android mobile devices over the IT network.

Celerity Technologies is a manufacturer founded in 2011. It offers a fiber optic HDMI product with detachable connector, which is available in multiple pre-terminated lengths from 40 to 1,000 feet, converts HDMI at the source to optical signals, eliminating attenuation and HDMI handshake issues at up to 1,000 feet.

Perhaps the most surprising addition to CEDIA EXPO was Monoprice, an e-commerce website that delivers what it says are high-quality tech accessories at bargain prices. Although Monoprice started out with the goal of selling HDMI cables, flat-panel TV mounts, security cameras, and other consumer electronics accessories straight to consumers, the company had been developing a large enough following from custom integrators to warrant exhibiting at EXPO. Ajay Kumar, CEO of the California-based e-tailer, hoped to demonstrate to attendees that the company was a real place with knowledgeable employees behind the scenes. And because the company respected concerns of CIs that were reselling its products at a considerable mark-up, the company has begun its first line of “no-logo” products, which cannot be “shopped” online by the consumer, yet are otherwise exactly the same as Monoprice-branded products.

…Manufacturer Partnerships

Several companies announced partnerships during CEDIA, with one of the most interesting involving a deal between Sony and Control4 introducing new audio video receivers with a complete home automation system built in. The STR-DA5800ES and STR-DA2800ES both contain the full Control4 software suite and differ by their levels of AV performance. There are two levels of home automation available, including an out-of-the-box solution with a setup wizard that consumers can use to set up an entire rack of gear, and the receiver controls all automation control. The other option is for dealers to enable the Control4 automation functionality with an activation code for $300. Programming is conducted with Control4’s Composer software suite to fully control audio, video, lighting, thermostats, energy management, security, and mobile access.

Neal Manowitz (left), director of Sony Electronics’ home division for home audio & video and Martin Plaehn, president and CEO, Control4. Access Networks and Meridian also entered into a new engineering and product development partnership to enable better performance and ease of use for audio and video equipment on the network. The Access Networks Approved program is intended to assist in all aspects of the product development process as it relates to network integration.

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Harman Luxury Audio Group has entered into a distribution partnership with video processing manufacturer Lumagen, providing Harman’s JBL Synthesis, Lexicon, and Mark Levinson customers access to Lumagen’s entire product line of 2D and 3D video processing solutions. Lumagen offers HDMI 1.4, proprietary no-ring scaling, linear-gamma RGB-color-palette CMS, 21-point parametric grayscale calibration, video deinterlacing, MPEG artifact reduction, and temporal noise reduction.

Vanco International and Wyrestorm Technologies have struck a joint co-operation agreement under “Vanco powered by Wyrestorm Technologies,” which allows Vanco to offer a select range of HDMI products that are

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Kevin Kraus, senior product manager, and Jason Williams, general manager of Yale Locks & Hardware. engineered and supported by Wyrestorm Technologies. Brad Corbin, president and owner of Vanco, said he recognized the increasing global demand for quality HDMI distribution products and saw Wyrestorm as an excellent partner for engineering, manufacturing, and technical support of such products.

ELAN Home Systems also introduced an electronic door lock integration solution with Yale Residential that allows users to makes changes to pass codes and lock schedules right from a g! interface, with no technician required. Users can view a simple table with events for each lock, including when and how a door was locked, as well as which user unlocked a door. Dealers can also configure the g! system to send outbound alerts through text or email to the homeowner, giving them instant notification when a lock jams or has a low battery, or when a lock is opened in their home.

…Brand Extensions

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Jeff Singer, Crestron’s director of global marketing campaigns, triggers one of the company’s new Roman shades products. At its massive CEDIA booth, which some referred to as “Planet Crestron,” the Rockleigh, NJ, control products manufacturer offered its “Shades Pavilion” for a first-look at the company’s complete line of shading solutions. All the available styles of shades were on display, including Roman shades and Crestron’s Architectural Series. Crestron is prepared to walk dealers through every element of adding shades to their installations, from design to spec to ordering.

Savant Systems introduced Savant Lighting Control, transforming the LiteTouch products that it purchased earlier in the year into a solution that can be used as part of a complete package within Savant’s automation and energy management ecosystem or as a standalone lighting control system. Savant will continue to support third-party lighting control systems through the company’s Partners in Excellence Program.

Procella Audio unveiled its first power amplifier, the DA-2800. Delivering a total of 2,800 watts into 4-ohm loads, the amplifier is rated at 700 watts per channel into 4-ohm loads and 360 watts per channel into 8-ohm loads. Channel pairs can also be bridged, producing 1,400 watts at 8 ohms. Two versions of the four-channel amplifier are available.

BlueBOLT became it’s own brand, spun off from Panamax/Furman in the Core Brands consolidation. The company’s MD2-ZB smart plug provides energy monitoring, load control, scheduled conservation, and surge protection in a compact form factor that plugs directly into any standard 120V, 15A outlet. Utilizing ZigBee wireless communications, the MD2-ZB can be monitored, controlled, programmed, and remotely accessed via Panamax/Furman’s cloud-based BlueBOLT energy management and control platform (with BB-ZIGBEE gateway).

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Gary Kasmeier, product engineering manager, D-ILA, visual systems division, JVC U.S.A., with the company’s DLA-RS66 Perhaps an indication of the types of products it will offer within the reorganized Core Brands group of Nortek companies, Niles offered a new line of five systems integration amplifiers that includes the re-tooled SI-1230 Series 2 amplifier, the successor to the SI-1230 that was inducted to the CEDIA Half of Fame in 2011. The new Niles SI- 1650 16-channel amplifier features a web browser configurator that allows each channel to select from any of the 16 inputs or combination of inputs.

Projection screen manufacturer Elite Screens, spun off a new company, called AirFlex5D, to sell a 2D/3D projector stacking system that gives precise digital alignment of images from multiple projectors vertically and horizontally into one single picture with amplified brightness.

Gefen moved beyond signal distribution boxes with its new GAVA (Gefen A/V Automation) system, which is now configured for commercial environments. The residential-based GAVA began shipping in July. For both resellers and integrators, GAVA may be particularly appealing because it is designed for a simple, point-and-click method of setup. GAVA is using IP connectivity to control all devices in the system.

Jennifer Davis, VP of marketing for Runco. Leon Speakers, long known for its customdesigned on-wall speakers and soundbars, offered its Boundary Series of outdoor speakers. Inspired by the American craftsmanship of the Chris Craft Thunderbird, each speaker is custom crafted out of hand-selected mahogany and finished with the same rich varnish as the hull of the classic ship.

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URC further expanded its Total Control of whole-house control products the Z-100 Advanced Network Thermostat, which provides users the ability to control climate from anywhere within a home or business environment through integration with Total Control.

…Shrinking Category: Flat-Panel TVs

Remember when CEDIA was a great place to find the latest high-end flat-panel TVs? Those days are mostly over, as major manufacturers of TVs have moved down-market and no longer look to the custom installation channel for support. Fortunately channel-specific video projector manufacturers seem more committed to CI than ever, and a few big names in video continue to use EXPO to demonstrate their continued support for the high-end front projection market.

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SIM2 U.S.A. VP of sales and marketing Alberto Fabiano poses with the new Sirio high-brightness, single-chip DLP-based projector. For instance, JVC announced that it is expanding its home theater lineup with nine new models and a new version of its e-shift technology, called e-shift2, that is now available on all but the two base models. The e-shift2 technology upconverts and scales 2D content to a 4K signal (3,840 x 2,160), using improved proprietary algorithms and a new eightband filter applying more correction to more areas of the image.

DPI’s exhibit included two formal theaters featuring its newest three-chip and single-chip DLP home cinema solutions, with screens illuminated in media room ambient lighting. The company is featuring its HIGHlite 330-3D, DPI’s newest entry for value-driven, 3D capable, three-chip DLP performance, as well as the dVision 35-1080p LED, equipped with DPI’s latest generation LEDs, which feature lifetime illumination. The dVision Scope 1080p employs DPI’s exclusive “Scope 1080p” DMD, along with aspect ratio autosensing to render 16:9 and 2.35:1 content at a native aspect ratio without relying on costly and mechanically complex anamorphic optics.

Mitsubishi featured two 3D DLP projectors: the HC8000D, which boasts a 330,000:1 contrast ratio for rich details and extra-long lamp life–up to 5,000 hours in low mode.

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Stewart Filmscreen’s VP of sales, Joaquin Rivera, with CIMA, Stewart’s 4K+-ready projection screen The 3LCD-based Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020UB delivers 3D and 2D images with 1080p native resolution, contrast ratio of up to 320,000:1, and white and color brightness of up to 2,400 lumens.

Runco’s new SC-30d and SC-35d both utilize a Runco-patented technology to enable the use of digital cinema lenses in a proprietary optical system. The digital cinema optics deliver crisp digital projection imagery, starting at prices under $40,000–making them the most affordable projectors in the Signature Cinema portfolio.

SIM2 introduced Sirio, a high-brightness, 3D active single-chip DLP-based projector designed for entertainment systems where the demand for high light output is mandatory, and Cinemaquattro, a 4K DLP three-chip home cinema projector utilizing Christie technology. Some of the key specifications include three 4K 1.38-inch DLP chipsets, up to 20,000 ANSI lumens, triple flash 3D technology, SIM2 exclusive high contrast and colorimetry profiles, a user-replaceable xenon bubble lamp, and remote monitoring.

Knoll Systems’ Claire Deaust, Clayton White, and Kevin Knoll, at the company’s CEDIA booth. Wolf Cinema’s SDC-10 3D projector and Reference (REF) cinema projectors demonstrated the difference between the $10,000 and $95,000 models from the company. The SDC-10 is a threechip D-ILA 1080p engine features the internal VariScope optics package for sharp imaging and can create three aspect ratio memories between 1.78:1 and 2.40:1. The Reference cinema projectors use next-generation xenon arc lamps to balance brightness, deep contrast ratio performance, and accurate color fidelity.

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Knoll took its best-selling projector and upgraded the light engine. The HDO2200 features a Pixelworks processor that is bright enough to use on a 280-inch diagonal screen. A complimentary premium ceiling mount kit is included.

…Companion Technology: Projection Screens

Where would projector companies be without their colleagues in the screen manufacturing community?

SunBriteTV welcome CEDIA attendees to relax and enjoy their hospitality, while checking out the Marquee Series of outdoor TVS. Seymour-Screen Excellence debuted its Absolute curved fixed-frame acoustically transparent film-screen, with a full-closing, motorized lateral masking system. The Absolute is the first on the market to offer a motorized lateral masking system that returns to a fully closed position. The masking system can be programmed to stop at any aspect ratio from 1.33:1 to 2.37:1. So as to not compromise sound, both the screen and the masking layers are acoustically transparent.

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Da-Lite’s Multi Vision Imager was designed in response to the home theater market demand for a single screen unit that contains two projection screen surfaces, one for 2D projection and one for 3D projection. It combines a fixed-screen and a tab-tensioned electric screen in one frame.

dnp denmark unveiled the Supernova Core II, which is available in Supernova 08-85 ISF certified film, as an economical solution for projecting high contrast images in high ambient light. The Core II also features a revamped tensioning system utilizing hardened, rubberized straps that hold the material firmly in place.

Just Add Power owner Ed Qualls introduces the 2G+ at a press conference in Indy. Vutec is expanding the ambient light rejecting SilverStar brand with the new SilverStar SSX, which is a rigid screen with an ultra thin fixed frame formulated from the company’s SilverStar technology.

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Stewart Filmscreen’s CIMA Screen offers a utilitarian design and versatility to satisfy the needs of most standard residential two-piece projection applications. Available in NEVE white screen material and TIBURON gray screen material, CIMA is suitable for a variety of commercial and residential applications.

Draper’s High Performance XS850E viewing surface is available on the company’s Clarion and Onyx fixed screens, for improved ambient light rejection capability, precise resolution, high contrast, a vivid color palette, and a broad viewing cone. Draper also introduced Ecomatt XT700E, the first viewing surface to be Cradle to Cradle Silver certified. The Cradle to Cradle Certified program is a third-party, multi-attribute eco-label administered by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute that assesses a product’s safety to humans and the environment and design for future life cycles.

KEF’s brand manager Johan Coorg with the company’s Blade speaker, which inspired the company’s new desktop speakers. Screen Innovations’ Black Diamond Motorized utilizes one motor, four custom helixes, and a spool of slender aircraft cable to silently lower a thin wing containing the rolled Black Diamond screen downward from a recessed ceiling-mounted cassette. The cable-hung wing then stops, and from it, a small tube quickly emerges and lowers itself down to an adjustable, pre-determined image height, leaving only the image space in sight. Because Black Diamond screens do not require masking or any black drop material.

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Severtson Screens showcased its proprietary water-based PristiVue finish, which is the cornerstone of all its screen surfaces.

…Under-Appreciated Category: Outdoor TVs

Video projectors are great for indoors, but with outdoor entertainment spaces growing in popularity, the outdoor TV category still seems under-appreciated by the CI channel, despite new competitive prices that manage to keep margins in tact.

NuVo Technologies’ Jack Hanser prepares to award a lucky winner with a Supreme Eagle guitar, specially customized by sister company B.C. Rich in honor of NuVo’s 10th anniversary. SunBriteTV showcased its Signature Series and new direct sunlight-readable Marquee Series. With the launch of the Signature Series, the company is effectively lowering prices 40 percent across the board.

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Seura’s Storm Outdoor TV has been designed to survive the harshest outdoor conditions while providing a high-performance video solution for the discriminating homeowner, according to the company. Storm delivers a clear picture even on sunny days from an ultra-bright 1080p highdefinition display.

…High-Growth Category: IP Connectivity

CEDIA’s 2012 marketing emphasized the double meaning of networking. Sure, it’s a great place to network with peers, but more and more it’s also the place to learn about integrating home networks when virtually every product has IP connectivity.

Among new IP-centric products at CEDIA, Just Add Power launched its Second Generation Plus (2G+) HD/IP enhanced transmitter/ receivers. Features include an HDMI passthrough port on the transmitter, USB over IP, an integrated stereo audio extractor with programmable audio delay, an RS-232 on 3.5mm port with an integrated null modem, support for locking HDMI cables, and an independent CEC over IP CPU on board.

Remote Technologies technical marketing manager and marketing assistant Brett Stokke demonstrates the CX7, an advanced tabletop controller.Lowell Manufacturing’s John Lowell (left), president/CEO and Tom Lowell, residential sales manager. Xantech offered XtraNet, which enables native IR, Wi-Fi, and serial control of networked AV devices using any IR remote or wireless, web-enabled iPad, iPhone, and Android tablet or smartphone.

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SurgeX is introducing Axess by SurgeX, which is an IP addressable, surge eliminating and power conditioning management system that allows integrators to monitor and control power distribution platforms via the internet, 24/7. Beyond power monitoring, Axess Elite adds a new level of device energy management, by offering two-way communication that monitors and manages system energy usage.

…Anniversary Milestones

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Celebrating Wharfedale’s 80th anniversary, Bob Springston (left) president of the company’s U.S. distributor Sound Import, and Walter Schofield, VP sales and marketing, invited attendees to enter a contest to win a pair of limited-edition Denton twoway bookshelf speakers. The industry that used to seem like the new kid on the block is getting a little gray on the temples, which was evident from the abundance of anniversaries for exhibiting manufacturers at EXPO.

KEF introduced the LS50 Mini Monitor speaker–a reinterpretation of the research, design, and engineering approach of its LS3/5a–to commemorate its 50th anniversary celebration.

NuVo Technologies celebrated its 10th anniversary by displaying some of the company’s most popular and award-winning products, such as its streaming source device the Music Port, and the company’s flagship whole home audio system, the Grand Concerto. The company also gave away a one-of-a-kind Supreme Eagle guitar, specially customized by sister company B.C. Rich.

Triad Speakers celebrated its 30th anniversary by showcasing the first offerings of its new Cinema Reference line of high-performance theater speakers.

Harman Luxury Audio Group showcased its Mark Levinson 40th Anniversary No. 52 Reference Dual-Monaural Preamplifier, which is an all-analog, true dual-monaural design with a two-chassis configuration that separates the critical analog audio circuitry from the control section to maintain the purest signal paths possible.

RTI Celebrated 20 years by introducing new and enhanced solutions in nearly every product category, including new control processors, handheld and in-wall controllers, audio and video distribution solutions, the new APEX control platform, and much more.

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Tributaries president Joe Perfito and executive VP Mary Victor during the press preview event at CEDIA EXPO. Throughout 2012, Lowell Manufacturing Company has been celebrating its 65th anniversary as a U.S. manufacturer of AV and related products.

Wharfedale marked its 80th anniversary with a year-long celebration as well, plus a limited-edition 80th Anniversary Denton loudspeaker, a two-way bookshelf speaker in the classic bookshelf tradition.

…Developments in HDMI Switching and Extending

Thanks to the recent ubiquity of HDBaseT technology, extending HDMI signals isn’t a total headache anymore, and numerous other HDMI solutions were available at CEDIA as well.

Tributaries offered two updates to its HX1C6- PRO HDMI extender. The extender adds bidirectional IR and RS232 and improved IR cables for enhanced plasma support to its long list of features. Because of HDBaseT, the HX1C6-PRO will ensure total signal integrity with just one Cat-6 cable for installations requiring a signal over 300 feet. The HX1C6- PRO will transfer deep color (12 bits/color) video and new lossless compressed digital audio, with a bandwidth up to 340MHz and a bit rate of 10.2 Gbps.

SpeakerCraft’s Keith
Marshall.
Leaf debuted the LTHDMI2020E, a 20x20 matrix switcher with four HDMI and 16 HDBaseT outputs. It features four, back-panel HDMI outputs for in-rack or inroom video and audio connectivity. The 16 HDBaseT LTB1E remote breakout units can receive audio and video from up to 52 potential sources, plus control data and Ethernet connectivity, up to 328 feet away.

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The new Intelix DIGIHDCOAX2 utilizes the company’s second generation of HDMI over coax extension technology to distribute 1080p up to 300 feet, and 1080i/720p up to 650 feet. Linkable up to seven units, the device transmits true 2.0, 5.1, and 7.1 audio, and is fully HDCP compliant.

AMX’s Enova DGX 32 digital media switcher enables plug-andplay of HDMI/HDCP-supported sources.

Featuring the latest HDBaseT technology, the Atlona AT-PRO3HD44M 4x4 HDMI matrix switcher extends HDMI sources up to 230 feet over Cat-6a cables at 1080p and 1920x1200, or 197 feet with Cat5e/6 cables. The unit allows for control of up to eight devices through IR remote control, RS-232, third-party IR control boxes, and the front panel.

Pakedge Device & Software introduced its S24H 24-port gigabit switch with full PoE+ ports, a managed 24-port gigabit PoE+ switch for powering AV devices that require the high-power PoE+ standard. Designed specifically for custom-installation and audio/video bridging (AVB), the S24H can deliver up to 25.5 watts per port for use with HDMI-over-IP transmitters, wireless access points, high-definition IP cameras, home automation PoE+ controllers, and other devices which require PoE+ operation and gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

The Mountain Series 8x8 HDMI with 16x16 analog/digital audio matrix (HX- 0808HA/16) is the first digital matrix from AVocation Systems to include 16 independently routable analog and digital audio inputs and outputs with volume control. Each of the eight HDMI, 16 analog audio (RCA), and 16 digital audio (RCA) inputs and outputs can be simultaneously or independently routed, providing enough distribution flexibility for the most demanding AV set-ups.

Gefen unveiled its new GefenTV 4x1 HD switcher with audio amplifier, providing a central, one-box solution that integrates four HD sources using HDMI and outputs audio as 5.1 surround sound with 25w per channel amplification. Alternatively, it can also process audio sources using digital and analog audio inputs as 5.1 surround sound for connection to a pre-amp.

Transformative Engineering’s newest product is the HL-1 for those requiring a robust HDMI extender without all of the functions and features of the company’s flagship HDS-14. Utilizing the newest version of HDBase-T, known as HDBase-T Lite, it offers HDMI extension up to 70 meters, along with bi-directional IR over a single Cat-5e or Cat-6 UTP cable.

…Wireless Technology Developments

Last year was a burgeoning year for wireless AV technology development, and 2012 brought even more products to market.

SpeakerCraft introduced the SYNERGi wireless whole-house music systems. Each transmitter in the system provides quality audio to as many as eight receivers per transmitter. The transmitter can accept inputs from four sources. SpeakerCraft also has begun shipping its CS3 TV Speaker, an under- TV sound system with Bluetooth connectivity.

Established player Soundcast showcased its SurroundCast system, a kit consisting of a transmitter with speaker level inputs and an amplified receiver module with 60 watts of digital power and speaker level outputs. And, NuVo Technologies displayed its more fully cooked system featuring two zone amps (smaller and larger depending on the power needed for an area) and a rackmount model that has three zones built into one.

Three new wireless music speaker systems from Pioneer Electronics (USA)–XW-SMA1, XW-SMA3, and XW-SMA4–are equipped with the latest wireless technologies including Apple’s AirPlay, DLNA 1.5, and Pioneer’s Wireless Direct, which allows the speaker to act as its own wireless access point. All three models were specially tuned by Pioneer sound engineer Andrew Jones to provide high volume output with excellent sound quality.

CasaTunes is offering its multiroom music servers with CasaTunes Air technology, which directs music from AirPlay-equipped music sources such as PCs and tablets to custom-installed wired speakers, wireless AirPlay speakers, and other AirPlay-equipped devices.

Legrand’s 2x40-watt airQast Wi-Fi speaker, which can also be controlled from the company’s app, streams music from up to six digital sources, such as an iTunes-equipped PC, and it streams internet radio and online services such as Sirius XM, Pandora, Last.fm, and YouTube.

Proficient Audio’s newest wireless multiroom-audio system, the Zero, which was previewed last year, offers wireless distribution of up to six audio sources simultaneously to up to 24 rooms if three wireless transmitters are used at a time. Each transmitter supports up to eight tabletop amplifier/receivers, and each transmitter is capable of sending stereo audio from two separate sources while also sending mono wirelessly to a powered subwoofer in the same room or another room. The new system also features stereo Bluetooth.

Proficient’s Loren Maldoon. Intelix’s new SKYPLAY-HD wireless HDMI distribution system sends uncompressed 1080p HDMI audio and video up to 100 feet in both point-to-point and point-to-many configurations, even through drywall. Each SKYPLAY-HD transmitter is compatible with up to 20 receivers, and the system utilizes WHDI and AES 128-bit encryption to ensure the integrity of every transmission.

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Paradigm Electronics’ AERA Air- Play speaker system, which is part of its SHIFT Series, offers users the freedom to play music content directly from their iPod, iPad, iPhone, or computer wirelessly via AirPlay, or to use AirPlay to stream music from iTunes and other popular on-line music streaming sites.

Liberty VP of business development James Blumhardt holds an Intelix SKYPLAY-HD
transmitter.
WASP Audio Technologies’ LINK-Mount System 2.1 is comprised of an uncompressed wireless audio transmitter and two patent-pending universal wireless amplified speaker brackets. Combined, a complete system allows the custom integrator to mount speakers where needed wirelessly.

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Luxul introduced a wireless bridge client designed to simplify some of the common challenges associated with installing an IP security camera in a remote location. Available now, the IP-66 outdoorrated Luxul Xen XAP-1050 allows for the use of any Power over Ethernet (PoE)-enabled IP camera at extended distances from the network source.

…Bleeding-Edge Products: Voice, Near-Field, Gyroscopic Control

While AMX-based software maker CineTouch is already offering a data-driven voice operated home and commercial control software package, featuring “Ask Cindy” voice control in 42 languages, and other integrators are custom designing home automation around Apple’s Siri technology, at CEDIA, VOCO showcased V-Zone+ and the V-Spot to control music and video in every room using your voice. VOCO’s Voice Touch User Interface (VTUI) leverages Wi-Fi broadband connectivity, smartphones, tablets, and cloud-based content management.

House Logix introduced VoicePod, a patentpending wireless Zigbee device that provides handsfree control in any room. VoicePod continuously listens for a wakeup phrase such as “Hello VoicePod.” Once awake, VoicePod’s dual processors instantly recognize hundreds of spoken commands and interact with users using synthesized speech.

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Richard Schneider, Antennas Direct. Offering its own take on consumer-friendly control features, URC unveiled uMotion technology, available through its new TRG- 100 and TRG-200 gyroscopic remote controls. uMotion is a motion-based technology that enables users to simply move and point the TRG- 100 or TRG-200 remote naturally–like a TV “mouse”–to control the cursor directly on the big screen for home systems control.

…Media Server Developments

For those looking to store massive amounts of personal video and music content locally on “the cloud,” several companies were offering new products at EXPO.

Autonomic introduced the Mirage Media Server MMS-5A, which supports up to 24-bit/192kHz output. Local music syncs to the MMS-5A from a Mac, PC, or NAS, then uploads to the cloud for automatic library synchronization with other Mirage Media Servers at a different location, offsite backup, and remote library access from anywhere in the world. The MMS-5A streams popular audio formats at native quality. USB audio, AirPlay, and gapless playback provide a more dynamic and fulfilling music experience.

Fusion Research’s Premiere Movie Server boasts an internal capacity for approximately 225 DVDs or 45 Blu-ray discs with the ability to expand the storage to over a thousand movies for a $495 license fee. Premiere also features EasyLoad, the unattended movie loading service for both Blu-ray and DVDs.

Kaleidescape has partnered with film critic Leonard Maltin to curate a unique compilation of both historically significant and modern movies. Available exclusively from Kaleidescape, the Leonard Maltin Recommends collection helps create the ultimate home cinema experience by identifying great films for adding to personal collections.

…Eco-Friendly Products

Energy Squad, a distributor devoted to green tech and education, displayed a variety of environmentally friendly technologies, along with information on vendors for LED lighting, home automation systems, AV products, HVAC, and energy management solutions. Energy Squad hopes to leverage its experience to become a trusted distribution partner for integrators to turn to for all of their green tech needs.

AudioXperts offered its EVA (Environmental Audio) collection of ecofriendly, compact tabletop music systems. The initial EVA product lineup includes the SCR400 dock FM clock radio with Bluetooth; SCR400D dock FM/DAB+ clock radio with Bluetooth; and the SPS300 dock speaker with Bluetooth. The EVA collection features a natural woven wool cover accented by bamboo–a natural material, significantly more sustainable than the wood found in traditional audio systems of comparable price.

The Knoll KES600 is a Class A/B amplifier that produces 50 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 70 watts per channel at 4 ohms. The “green” hook is the product’s Eco-System circuit, which determines which of the 12 stereo channels (6 pairs) are in use and delivers power only to those channels needing it. The channels that are “off” are truly off, not in “standby” or “mute.”

Similarly, Lab.gruppen’s 1U power amplifier range, developed specifically for the custom installation market, utilizes much of the design philosophy and energy-efficient concepts debuted in the Swedish company’s flagship PLM 20000Q touring amplifier.

…Ways to ‘Accessorize’

Antennas Direct has partnered up with broadcasters nationally to promote free, quality programming via HD antennas. The Broadcast Partnership Program allows local broadcast stations to share revenue with Antennas Direct, while making space on the airwaves for Antennas Direct advertising. As part of the program, Antennas Direct will also provide 200 antennas to each broadcaster for giveaway to local viewers.

Sheldon Ginn of Monitor Audio. SnapAV offered its WATTBOX rack mount and standalone power surge/conditioners and power strips. Replacing and expanding upon the company’s Episode power line, the WATTBOX models are designed to simplify the process of mounting electrical outlets in equipment racks, structured wiring cans, and behind TVs via rugged, all-metal chassis designs that are more compact, yet yield greater spacing between outlets and rack models. SnapAV also announced the addition of IP control to the WATTBOX 200, 400, and 600 Series power conditioners.

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Xantech launched its new XtraLink infraredover- coax kits, designed to allow remote control operation of a satellite receiver, cable box, DVD player, or other device from a second room using existing coaxial cabling. These new Xantech XtraLink IR-over-coax kits support the latest generation of LCD and plasma display screens and work in all lighting conditions.

Wilson Electronics showed a new adjustable signal booster specifically designed for professional installation to provide optimal coverage in larger buildings. The new AG Pro-Installer is available now and will boost voice and data signals on all cellular carriers’ 800 MHZ and 1,900 MHz networks (except Nextel/iDEN).

…Speaker Additions

Custom-installed speakers were among the hardest hit product categories during the housing-industry downturn, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from innovating with new products for the CI channel.

Earthquake Sound unveiled its Edgeless series of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers with a low-profile, frameless design to reduce their visibility when installed. The grilles protrude less than 4mm from the wall or ceiling.

GoldenEar Technology showed an expanded selection of Invisa custom-install speakers, with magnetically attached flat micro-perf grilles that hide their flange to make the speakers virtually invisible.

Jeffrey Brewer, Sonance VP of U.S. sales, with the company’s SLS high-output outdoor speaker.Sunfire’s Mark Weisenberg poses with the company’s In Wall 8. KEF offered a full assortment of in-ceiling and in-wall speakers that include round, square, and rectangular models. The Q and C series models feature two-way designs, ultra-thin bezel, and low profile for a less-obtrusive appearance, magnetically mounted speaker grilles, and special grille treatments for use in humid environments.

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Kevro’s Monitor Audio, which was celebrating its 40th anniversary, showed an expanded line of trimless, low-profile in-ceiling and in-wall speakers, the first of which were unveiled early this year. All feature paintable magnetic-mount low-profile grilles for unobtrusive installs, and all are splashand humidity-proof for installation in shower rooms or pool areas. The new 100, 200, and 300 series represent a revision of the previous 100, 200, and 300 series speakers, adding trimless grilles and higher performance.

Proficient Audio expanded its selection of value-priced custom-installed subwoofers with two in-wall models and an in-ceiling model. They’re designed to help installers step customers up to a sub or opt for two subs in a room. All can be mated with the Proficient M3 180-watt mono amp with built-in crossover. The company also introduced MaxTV, a one-piece stereo speaker system with Bluetooth connectivity, designed for placement under a flat-panel TV.

Revel relaunched its 3, 5, 7, and 8 Series of custom speakers by adding a new mounting mechanism that accommodates drywall and other wall materials of up to 2 inches in depth. The Harman brand also launched a new 2 Series of custom speakers. The 2 Series, shipping in January, also features the new mounting mechanism. Models in all of the series feature zero-bezel magnetic paintable grilles to minimize visibility, with both round and square grilles to match ceiling fixtures and lighting.

Sonance expanded its selection of 70-volt Sonance Landscape Series (SLS) that do doubleduty as in-door commercial speakers, and added a Sonance 8-ohm outdoor audio system to reach a more accessible price point.

Luc Guillaume, chief business
development officer for Wisdom Audio shows the Insight Series of highperformance in-wall speakers.
Sunfire expanded its in-wall subwoofer selection to two models with the launch of the HRSIW8, which joins the SubRosa. The new HRSIW8 is an in-wall version of the company’s HRS8 subwoofer and comes with external 520-watt amp. The SubRosa in-wall sub comes with 2,700-watt amp. Both feature patented StillBass antishake technology.

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Wisdom Audio demonstrated its Insight Series architectural loudspeakers, bringing key core technologies and performance characteristics of the Sage Series to more accessible price points. Each Insight Series model incorporates both newly developed planar magnetic thin-film drivers and moving coil woofers, all proprietary and designed by Wisdom Audio. Unlike the fully active Sage Series, the Insight Series utilizes precision passive crossover networks making it possible to drive each speaker with a single amplifier channel, and use of the SC-1 System Controller optional.

…Home Theater Developments

CEDIA EXPO may no longer be primary a home theater show, but home theater-specific audio systems still made a strong showing in Indianapolis this year.

SVS launched the Ultra series of full-range loudspeakers includes a 45-inch tall upswept trapezoidal tower, a bookshelf speaker, center channel, and a flexible surround speaker. SVS engineers performed finite element analysis (FEA) on all of the proposed components in a sophisticated computer program that simulated the internal forces of each speaker and allowed for advanced engineering before the first prototype was ever built. The Ultra Tower’s SoundMatch 3.5-way crossover was designed so that only the top of the two 6.5- inch composite glass-fiber midrange drivers crosses over to the tweeter while the bottom midrange driver works to ensure that off-axis performance is smooth and even, with a wider sweet spot and a more consistent sound across the entire room.

Integra completed the roll-out of its 2012 audio video receiver lineup with the introduction of its DTR- 70.4 THX Ultra2 Plus 9.2-channel network audio-video receiver with the 11.1-channel capabilities of DTS Neo:X, using preamp outputs for the extra channels.

Trinnov Audio unveiled its first home theater processor, which features 32 individual channels. Trinnov Magnitude32 offers Trinnov Optimizer technology, which provides advanced digital room correction and image remapping that adapts the original media soundscape to the actual loudspeaker placements.

Audio Design Associates (ADA) showcased its Cinema Rapture multi-channel integrated home theater controller-amplifier, which permits custom setups similar to the company’s Suite 7.1 HD and Cinema Rhapsody Mach IV. ADA’s new multichannel Class-D amplifier provides 150 watt/ channel at 8 ohms and 300 watts/channel at 4 ohms.

Induction Dynamics demonstrated its new ID dARTS system, which combines high-end, U.S.- made Induction Dynamics speakers with the digital dARTS amplifier/room processor. The system uses complex circuitry and room correction software to carefully match each speaker to a room’s unique acoustic signature.

Sherbourn’s PT-7030 is a no-compromise 7.1 channel preamp/processor, according to the company. Dual Cirrus 32 bit decoders deliver the ultimate in picture and sound quality, and ensure lightning-fast response time. Six HDMI inputs are switched by an AD 7623 fast HDMI switch, and the full complement of legacy inputs feature full Faroudja DCDI processing and up conversion.

JBL Synthesis has updated its ARCOS Adaptive Room Correction and Optimization System to Version 2.6 for WindowsXP, which incorporates a number of performance and user interface upgrades for faster operation and improved system calibration. ARCOS v2.6 offers 10 times faster AutoEQ calculation than previously.

Triad Speakers unveiled the CR-1 passive front-channel speaker–the first of its new Cinema Reference loudspeaker system for larger screening rooms and dedicated home theaters. The CR-1 boasts a 15-inch woofer, two eight-inch midranges, and a proprietary air motion transformer tweeter, all sourced from premium European professional driver manufacturers.

ADAM Audio showcased the ARTist Series 5.1 Surround system for those that want big sound with musically accurate reproduction in a small room. The ARTist surround system is fully powered with matching drivers and is easy to position because of its compact dimensions.

Without conventional cabinets, Steinway Lyngdorf’s Model LS Concert open-baffle speaker interacts with the room much as a musical instrument would, resulting in extremely open and life-like musicality. At the same time, the line source construction allows sound to propagate over long distances, providing increased sound reinforcement and level equalization the farther you are from the loudspeaker itself.

Artistic Installs

RESIDENTIAL SYSTEMS delivers CEDIA’s technical design Gold Winners

During CEDIA’s Electronic lifestyles Awards banquet this past September in Indianapolis, Residential Systems magazine’s Jeremy Glowacki presented CEDIA’s technical design winners. Here’s a list of the winners of the Gold prize in each category.

HIDDEN INSTALLATION

Definitive Concepts Inc.
Virginia Beach, VA
www.definitiveconcepts.com

HOME THEATER LEVEL 1
($90,000 & under)
Encore Custom Audio Video LLC
Chantilly, VA
www.encore-cav.com

HOME THEATER LEVEL 2
($92,300 - $126,000)
All Around Technology
Gaithersburg, MD
www.allaroundtech.com

HOME THEATER LEVEL 3
($142,000 - $270,000)
AV Works Inc.
Sherwood Park, AB, Canada
www.avworks.ca

HOME THEATER LEVEL 4
($328,000 - $551,000)
Sterling Home Technologies Inc.
Boerne, TX
www.sterlingHometechnologies.com

HOME THEATER LEVEL 5
($815,000 & up)
AVAI
Austin, TX
www.avai.com

MEDIA ROOM

Engineered Environments
Alameda, CA
www.engenv.com

INTEGRATED HOME LEVEL 1
($59,000 - $140,000)
NTX SA DE CV
Naucalpan, Mexico
www.basentx.com.mx

INTEGRATED HOME LEVEL 2
($180,000 - $245,000)
Graytek Solutions Ltd
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
www.graytek.ca

INTEGRATED HOME LEVEL 3
($250,000 - $293,000)
Zio Group LLC
Winter Park, FL
www.zioconnects.com

INTEGRATED HOME LEVEL 4
($450,000 - $600,000)
La Scala
Vancouver, BC, Canada
www.lascala.ca

INTEGRATED HOME LEVEL 5
($700,000 & Up)
Performance Imaging
Stamford, CT
www.performanceimaging.net

SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE INSTALLATION
Zio Group LLC
Winter Park, FL
www.aecustom.com

SPECIAL PROJECT
Liquid Automation
Auckland, New Zealand
www.liquidautomation.co.nz

BEST SHOWROOM
Audio Video Interiors
Middleburg Heights, OH
www.audiovideointeriors.net

BEST DOCUMENTATION
La Scala
Vancouver, BC, Canada
www.lascala.ca

BEST DRESSED SYSTEM
DSI Entertainment Systems Inc.
Los Angeles, CA
www.dsientertainment.com

BEST THEME
Integrated Electronic Solutions
Yonkers, NY
www.iesav.net

Learn more about CEDIA at www.cedia.org.

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