In May 2011 URC director of business development Mitchell Klein said that his company’s new Total Control line of IP-based AV distribution products would require a new training program built “from the ground up,” as the company expanded beyond its core remote control business. A year later, that’s exactly what the company has in place, with its three-day “Mission: Control” training sessions already offering dealers first-hand education of the new line and applications, specific instructions for configuring a Total Control system, and hands-on programming and installation opportunities.
URC’s first home theater processor, called the DMS-AV, is a 7.1 processor (125 watts x 7) that upconverts to 1080p and shares all inputs from the network.
Most of the Total Control line is now shipping to dealers (there are many systems already installed in the field), though there are more new products being added throughout the year. The newest additions include URC’s first home theater processor, called the DMS-AV, the DMS-1200 8-zone multi-zone amplifier, and the MRX-4IR, which converts Wi-Fi (b/g) to IR for hard-toreach components (a TV over a fireplace) where you can’t get an Ethernet cable.
The DMS-AV may be the most impressive of these introductions thus far. It was designed, in part, by an engineer who worked for many years at B&K, with the goal of seamlessly tying the home theater to the rest of a housewide audio distribution system. Its 7.1 processor (125 watts x 7) upconverts to 1080p and shares all inputs from the network. All analog units are accessible in the receiver; the processor even has a Phono input that enables the output of a turntable to be streamed around the house. The DMS-AV features built-in calibration software and a sleek industrial design with no buttons on the front–only a volume knob.
Although Total Control is network-based with a focus on TCP-IP, some devices use Wi-Fi or URC’s 2.4 GHz RF to enable wireless access where hard wiring is not practical. Klein pointed out that Total Control system is DHCP-capable, but emphasized the need to assign static IP addresses with MAC filtering will guarantee the quickest response time and reduce the likelihood of network crashes when streaming CD-quality audio over the network.
One of the selling points of Total Control is the speed with which a system can be programmed. A full design, which could consist of up to 32 zones of music with full home theater integration, takes a matter of hours to program, rather than days or weeks.
>Empowering Clients, Rewarding Dealers
Mission: Control training last month in Harrison, NYURC remains committed to a Total Control programming architecture that is flexible enough for customization yet not to the point of over-complexity.
Total Control empowers the end-user to make his own scheduling changes to timed events designed into the system as macros. A programmer would build each of these macros into the system, but it would be up to the end-user to set their schedule and make changes as they wished.
URC also is offering a Software Developer’s Kit (SDK), which pays URC direct dealers a fee for creating their own two-way modules for non-URC devices to work with Total Control.
Just as notable is URC’s new Master Dealer program, which rewards Total Control direct dealers not only for their sales numbers (based on the size of the company) but also on their continuing education on the product.