Face it, CEDIA Expo is huge and there are a lot of the “little companies” that probably aren’t on your radar that you just don’t have time to seek out. It’s not to say that they don’t have something awesome to offer to you or your business, it’s just that they get lost in all the “floor noise” of the Crestron’s, the Control4’s, and the over-the-top Dolby Atmos demos.
That’s one of the great things about CEDIA’s Media Preview event; it puts every manufacturer at the same sized table and gives the smaller companies a chance to tell their story and get some attention. This year’s Media Preview featured more than 40 companies from fairly large and well-known—Golden Ear Technology, Tivo, Russound—to pretty small and starting out—MantelMount and Miravue.
I spent every minute of the 2.5 hour Media Preview talking with the different companies and making note of the products that really caught my eye. Here’s a rundown of what I saw.
WaterCop Automatic Water Shut-Off System
A month ago I wouldn’t have cared less about this product. But then one night at about 10 PM my toilet valve blew off the wall and water flooded my guest bathroom. Fortunately I was home to rush outside and turn off the main shut-off. But had it happened later…or while I was at work…or on vacation?! This product will keep you home from flooding and will be something that your clients won’t care about until they absolutely care about it. To say that it can easily save tens of thousands of dollars in damage is no exaggeration. The WaterCop Pro Integrated can tie into security or automation systems with dry contact closures to perform a variety of functions and send alerts to homeowners on top of shutting off the water once a leak is detected. Systems start at $350 and should be an easy rec to any homeowner, and especially for second/third homes.
Whether you like it or not, TV installations over the fireplace are here to stay. Sure, the TV might be located higher than you would like, but the way most rooms are laid out, the fireplace is the focal point of the room and makes the most sense for the TV. MantelMount addresses the issue of the TV being too high with a mount that can accommodate TV’s up to 120 pounds and has 27-inches of drop to lower the set to a more comfortable viewing height. The mount has a built-in 9-degrees of tilt when fully recessed for more comfortable viewing and features a very smooth, fluid motion that is easy for anyone to adjust. Further the heat detecting handles start glowing bright red when they reach temps exceeding 110-degrees to show a homeowner that things are getting too hot. Even better? The $399 MSRP. I think MantelMount is going to be a real homerun for the CI channel.
Just Add Power 3G Ultra HD IP
This Just Add Power product is like an out-of-the-box HD matrix on steroids. With this system you connect a 4K over IP matrix using a standard Gigabit managed network creating a virtually unlimited number of sources and displays. By using a combination of transmitters—one per source—and receivers —one per display—you can scale this system to as large as you need, with distance up to 328 feet, over Cat5 and up to 10 km via fiber. Since the system includes scaling, you can watch every source on every display; either scaling up to 4K or down to 1080p, meaning that every display can watch every source in the best quality supported. The system also has integration support for RTI, AMX, Control4, Crestron, Savant, URC and more. It also features CED control as well as local serial/IR control.
I personally hate the term “man cave,” but when I saw this WyreStorm product, I thought of it as the ultimate man cave accessory, but in an awesome way! This device takes in four separate video signals either via component, VGA, or HDMI and can then matrix them out to one or two displays in some awesome ways! The system can either display all four images in a 2x2 grid, or place three smaller, easily resized and positioned images on top of one large image. The possibilities for sports fans are truly endless, as the integration with a variety of control systems—RTI, AMX, Control4, Crestron, with URC support coming—puts the ability to change main images and resize things at their fingertips. The second output can either mirror the main output, or can be used to run two separate full-sized images. While the system does not accept true 4K inputs, it scales the output to 4K, meaning it can put up four 1080p images on the screen at once, or upscale one full image to 4K resolution. Amazingly, this product will retail for under $2,800 making it within the reach of most sports fans.
AVProStore Murideo Fresco SIX-G
Test pattern generators really aren’t that cool, but sometimes they can be necessary to figure out what the hell is going on when you don’t get a picture on a display. In the scary new world of HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2 and 4K video, you need to know what is happening and where the problem lies—in the wiring infrastructure, in the display, in the transmit or receive system—and a generator like the SIX-G can be just the thing to tell you what is going on. The generator is HDMI 2.0 with 600 MHz bandwidth and has selectable HDCP outputs of 2.2, 1.4, and none to help you take the guesswork out of your wiring and installs, letting you know what works and what doesn’t. The device features over 100 patterns for setup, calibration and troubleshooting, and is ISF certified with PLUGE, Chroma Multiburst, and more test patterns and is also compatible with CalMAN for your calibrations.
Russound TVA 2.1
We all know that TV speakers suck, but getting that TV sound to better speakers can be a pain. If you add a separate AVR, then it means another control system, and finding space for it, and usually a bunch of headaches that no one wants. Russounds’ new TVA2.1 is a 30-watt/channel digital amplifier that is designed to make it easy to add a better pair of speakers to a TV. The amp features an ultra-slim design that can wall-mount behind a flat panel and is made not to overheat in such an environment. The amp features optical and coaxial digital inputs, as well as analog to accommodate any TV output, and has a sub-out to feed a powered sub for rooms needing robust low-end. The TVA also includes Russound’s new slim-line IR receiver for remote, out-of-site operation and can learn the volume up/down/mute commands for virtually any remote control. It is also a very wallet friendly $299 MSRP.
Miravue IP Distribution and Control System
The Miravue system does so much it almost reminded me of a, “And wait! There’s more!” TV infomercial as the rep was describing it to me. Every device is a transceiver; both a transmitter and a receiver, which virtually doubles the performance of the system while cutting the price. Any source connected at any location can be streamed to any display on the system, making the term “local source” kind of obsolete. The system also allows video casting of any source to wireless portable devices like phones and tablets, meaning you can watch the football game from your cable box out by the pool. Miravue can work standalone without a third party controller via a simple IR interface and on-screen overlay but Is also compatible with many automation systems for more robust operation. Miravue also offers local IP, IR and RS232 control making it easy to integrate with displays and source components. The system is incredibly scalable when compared to standard 8x8 or 16x16 matrix solutions, enabling owners to buy just what they need.