Press Release

Product Briefs: 5 New Powerhouse Vendors; Savant iPad Tool; Parasol Launches Peace of Mind

CE Pro new products—home automation, audio, video, IoT, motorized shades, lighting control, energy management, home theater, networking and more.


Product Briefs: 5 New Powerhouse Vendors; Savant iPad Tool; Parasol Launches Peace of Mind
CE Pro Editors · February 21, 2019

So many product news items come across the CE Pro desks, and we don't want to miss them. Neither do our readers. This is the place where we tell you what's now shipping, which reps and distributors picked up what new products, which products are newly comp itatible, how public companies are faring, and other briefs in custom electronics.


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Feb. 21

The PowerHouse Alliance, has announced the addition of five new vendor lines that are now available nationwide through its 12 distributor members, including Intellinet Network Solutions, LeakSmart, MantelMount, RTI, and TechLogix.

All product lines from each new vendor will join the 250-plus lines currently carried by PowerHouse Alliance distributors, available with will-call and online ordering from 43 warehouse locations across the country. Intellinet Network Solutions, MantleMount, and RTI extend options for networking, mounts, brackets, extenders, and home control devices, respectively, and TechLogix and LeakSmart expand PowerHouse into fiber and water detection categories.

“As home technology evolves, PowerHouse continues to add relevant products to give dealers choices as well as to expand our repertoire into the new categories they need,” says PowerHouse Alliance executive director Dennis Holzer. “With more networking choices and products like leak detectors and fiber, we’re making it simpler for dealers to source what they need for every unique project and as their clients request new features.”


Savant, a manufacturer of smart home technologies, has announced several updates to Studio, the company’s iPad-based quick configuration tool for integrators. The accessibility and portability of a tablet-based solution such as Savant Studio increases productivity by enabling junior techs to manage S2 host-based system configuration, freeing senior technicians to address more complex assignments in the field.

For the Savant S2 host platform, Studio now features a Smart Behaviors Editor, enabling integrators to create customized workflows that improve configuration efficiency. Examples include the capability to automatically raise/lower a motorized lift when a TV is powered on/off, or creating an audible and/or visual alert when the doorbell has been pressed. Working in conjunction with Savant’s cloud-based central management portal (SCM), user preferences such as Savant Scenes, customized Savant Pro App photos and other Studio configuration parameters can all be stored in the cloud for fast, easy access.

Savant Studio also supports an exciting new feature enabling the S2 host to create a secure, wireless connection to the Savant Pro Remote and other wireless devices without requiring access to the client’s Wi-Fi network—a feature often requested by Savant integrators.


Feb. 20

Remote support company Parasol has launched its monthly Peace Of Mind report card to its dealers and their subscribers this week.

“We’re excited to help our dealers show the value of the Parasol service to their customers in a meaningful monthly report,” says Ted Bremekamp, Parasol’s co-founder and director of operations. “Many of the questions we heard from our dealers and their subscribers relate back to demonstrating to the homeowner how the service is saving them time and money. Our new report card does exactly that.”

“I love the peace of mind I get from knowing what’s going on with my system,” says Michael Falcone, a Parasol subscriber in Richmond, Va. “It’s great knowing you guys are working behind the scenes 24/7. When I’m talking to support it’s as if they’re at my home troubleshooting on-site.”

Dealers will be given the opportunity to opt-in to the new program, which then enables Parasol to send out monthly co-branded reports to subscribers showing them how many issues have been resolved, how much time & money they’ve saved and global statistics across the entire country.

Parasol has offices in Las Vegas, Nevada and Richmond, Virginia.


Atlona has updated and expanded the relevance, and value of the accredited online courses offered through the Atlona Education Portal.

Specifically, Atlona has streamlined and revised its 100 and 200 level online certification courses. These changes provide the most up-to-date instruction and information for rolling out, configuring, and using Atlona’s complete suite of AV over IP products and solutions. Atlona has also added new accredited courses for its Velocity IP-based control AV control platform.

“This update aligns with the evolution of Atlona as a company, as we help our customers transition from foundational HDMI and HDBaseT technologies to IP networks,” says Ken Eagle, director of field training and technical sales, Atlona. “AV professionals will now gain comprehensive knowledge, tools, and industry best practices on the entire end-to-end process. This spans the design, rollout, and integration of AV over IP systems, as well as set-up, management and control of the underlying AV network."


Feb. 19

Building on its success in providing builders with a complete portfolio of connected home solutions, Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC), has announced the expansion of its newly rebranded Nortek Security & Control New Home Program, which now includes thecompany’s complete line-up of solutions.

“Nortek Security & Control is uniquely able to provide new home builders with a complete range of smart home control, automation, security, access control, and entertainment solutions that cover every aspect of the home,” says Bret Jacob, director of builder services, NSC. “Since launching in 2015, our builder program has helped builders sell more homes with smart, connected and personalized technology. We are now amplifying the opportunity with additional support, new categories, and more products within the Nortek Security & Control family.”

In addition to the solutions from NSC’s ELAN, SpeakerCraft, Panamax, and other custom installation brands originally included in the ELAN New Home Program, the Nortek Security & Control New Home Program adds 2GIG security, Linear access control, Numera health and wellness, and GoControl connectivity solutions.


sonnen, a manufacturer of intelligent residential energy management, has announced a new partnership with Azione Unlimited, a national buying group comprised of equal membership of customer integrators, home technology professionals, and manufacturers. As a new vendor, sonnen will offer buying group members a robust program centered around energy automation with ecoLinx - a revolutionary new smart home energy management system that made its debut at CEDIA in September 2018. 

"As an innovative manufacturer with a worldwide reputation for quality, excellence and market leadership in intelligent energy management, sonnen’s alliance with best-in-class industry partners is a key pillar of our go-to-market strategy,” says Jessica Weiss, energy automation & AI business development manager at sonnen, Inc. “By joining Azione Unlimited, we are partnering with many of the best companies in the custom integration industry, helping them grow their business with a unique and high-performing energy automation solution for their customers.”


ProSource, a national audio, video, and integration buying group, has announced today the addition of Future Ready Solutions as a new fiber vendor. Founded by industry veteran Eric Bodley, Future Ready Solutions is a supplier of connectivity products focused on preparing for the future of advanced data and HDMI over fiber.

"Future Ready Solutions has been at the forefront of reliable, high-performance fiber solutions for many years," says Dave Workman, CEO and president of ProSource. "They are an established expert on real 4K HDMI connectivity, signal distribution, and networking over fiber." 

Future Ready Solutions supplies a variety of featured ProSource product brands, including Belden, Celerity Technologies, Cleerline SSF, CTC Union, Inneos, TechLogix Networx, and more. ProSource members gain access to the design and training programs offered by Future Ready Solutions and its online ordering portal with a vast array of documentation, product information, and installation videos. The company also employs a national network of local rep firms to provide local tech support and service.


Feb. 14

Josh.ai has launched an integration with the Savant smart home platform. The integration, co-generated through a partnership with both companies, facilitates seamless interactivity between Savant’s user focused scene-creation into the Josh.ai platform.

The Josh.ai/Savant integration was designed to make the setup process intuitive for integrators. An authentication code is all that is needed to pair the systems, to be entered into the Josh.ai software. Once authenticated, Josh.ai automatically reads in the Savant scenes, enabling users to effortlessly access these features using customizable voice commands. In addition to custom voice triggers, the integrator can also assign custom responses. For example, a “Good Morning” scene could respond with, “Good Morning Sarah, have a great day!”

By adding Savant compatibility, Josh.ai continues to invest in the custom integration channel and its ecosystem partners. With a focus on privacy and security, the Josh.ai/Savant integration utilizes industry leading practices to ensure client data is protected. Josh.ai delivers the most advanced smart home artificial intelligence services without ever exposing client data for sale or marketing purposes. Josh.ai also allows users to opt out of data collection with the ability to delete any or all chat logs at any time, further demonstrating their commitment to privacy for end-users.

“At Josh.ai we obsessively focus on the user experience, from the design of our hardware and software to the integrations we support,” says Alex Capecelatro, CEO of Josh.ai. “Savant’s commitment to that experience makes them a natural partner for us, and collectively we are excited to deliver groundbreaking lifestyle and convenience enhancements to our mutual clients.”

Feb. 13

DOW Electronics, a Southern distributor, has announced an enhancement to its Smart Services program. The membership program now includes courier service around the six DOW Electronics locations. 

The Smart Services program is a monthly membership that covers DOW’s Smart Ship and Smart Courier services. Retailers pay a monthly fee of $50, and all 12-volt and custom integration orders are eligible for free shipping. The Smart Courier services was added to the program this week and is included at no additional cost. Courier services are available for same day deliveries up to 25 miles from a DOW Electronics location. 

“DOW is continually reviewing ways to enhance our services to keep independent retailers competitive. Our Smart Services program is a great way to simplify your shipping costs and save you money," says John Yodzis, president and CEO, Dow Electronics. "We believe the addition of Smart Courier is a great win for the dealer that needs a part that day and doesn’t want to lose time and money running out to pick it up.” 


Feb. 11

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Elite Screens Inc. was founded in 2004 by professionals from the video projector industry at a time when projector competition was enhancing quality at an increasingly lower cost. This has created a huge demographic with high expectations for a better price without compromising quality.

The company points out that it has grown through policies such as its three-year Warranty, and through its expansion into the commercial market that includes:

 

  • Elite ProAV for commercial integrators 
  • EPV Screens for dedicated residential custom installers

In addition, the company has successfully launched a blog that is designed to answer questions related to the the consumer video market. 


Feb. 8

Crestron, a global manufacturer of smart home technologies, will demonstrate enhanced entry door security and convenience, made possible by partnerships with 2N, a large global provider of IP intercoms, and ekey biometric systems GmbH, a provider of fingerprint access solutions. The latest firmware update to 2N IP-based video intercom door stations makes them Crestron RavaSIP intercom and phone technology compliant. As a result, they integrate intuitively with Crestron TSW-x60 Series touch screens to provide a video intercom solution that also seamlessly integrates with third-party electronic door locks. The wall-mounted ekey finger scanners integrate seamlessly with Crestron 3-Series control systems to provide convenient one-touch door entry and enhanced security.

“People want to feel safe and secure in their homes, while also enjoying more convenient entry. Crestron’s partnerships with 2N and ekey make that a reality. Even better, integration is incredibly simple,” says Michael Short, global residential marketing manager for Crestron.

 


Feb. 7

Verizon Fios says it is helping customers stay warm in the cold winter months through a free year of Netflix premium.

Through a new promotion, new Fios customers who purchase Verizon Fios Gigabit Connection Internet or Fios Gigabit Connection Triple Play with a two-year agreement will receive one year free of Netflix premium, which it says represents over $190 in value. Netflix premium lets users stream TV shows and movies from Netflix on four devices at the same time and in high definition (HD) and ultra-high definition (UHD) when available. The plan also lets you download titles on up to four phones or tablets.

Existing Fios customers qualify for the offer by renewing their term agreement.

Already have Netflix—no problem according to Verizon, Fios covers the cost of premium for existing Netflix accounts for one year.


Feb. 6

Zigen is among the first companies to produce video matrix products certified with Dolby Vision. With the Zigen HXL series matrices installed into AV systems, integrators will be able to take advantage of the latest HDR technology with Dolby Vision leading the way to produce greater nuance and realistic detail in the home theater experience.

The connectivity company explains that regular displays lose color saturation as the picture approach peak brightness, while Dolby Vision certified displays retain the colors. Technically speaking, Dolby Vision is capable of reproducing a range of 0.0001 to 10,000 nits of brightness. However, modern day HDR displays peak at around 4,000 nits, which are still 40 times brighter than conventional displays.


Back during CEDIA Expo 2018 Denon and Marantz announced their IMAX Enhanced audio products (Denon AVR-X8500H and Marantz AV8805) in conjunction with the IMAX Enhanced format launch. Both brands are expanding the IMAX Enhanced functionality to the following products via firmware update:

  • Denon AVR-X6500H
  • Denon AVR-X4500H
  • Marantz SR8012
  • Marantz SR7013
  • Marantz SR6013
  • Marantz AV7705

These products provide IMAX digitally remastered 4K HDR content and DTS audio technology to consumers, and Sound United, the owner of the Denon and Marantz brans is working with IMAX and its global studio and content partners to make a steady stream of IMAX Enhanced versions of blockbuster movies and additional programming available to watchers.

“IMAX Enhanced has been building impressive momentum since its introduction in late 2018,” says Brendon Stead, senior vice president of product development and engineering at Sound United.


Nortek Security & Control (NSC) has announced the introduction of the ELAN 8.3 software update, which features expanded support for the growing line of ELAN Surveillance Cameras, plus advanced IntelliVision video analytics. 

“ELAN 8.3 is our latest software that makes the smart home or business more intuitive and intelligent, and provides dealers and end-user customers with more customization options,” says Tom McKeon director of software product management, NSC. “With every update, we make it easier to access, control, and automate more subsystems within the installation and, in doing so, we continue to equip our dealers with the most seamless control platform to sell to their customers.”


Feb. 5

This past fall CE Pro reported on a collaboration between Sonos and Sonance to develop a Sonos branded line of architectural audio products. 

Sonos has now announced the products, which include a set of in-wall, in-ceiling and outdoor loudspeakers are available for preorder. 

The in-ceiling and in-wall products will deliver by Feb. 26, and it says the outdoor speaker will be available "soon."

The open-back architectural prdoucts are said to be designed for, "focused listening," and Sonos adds there is a Sanus wall-mount that will enable integrators to mount its Amp product. The mount ships on March 1, and its retail price is $50. 


Kanto Living Inc., a manufacturer of powered audio and mounting solutions, has announced that it has appointed manufacturer's rep firm Opus Marketing Group to provide sales and marketing services for the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Opus Marketing Group represents Canadian company Kanto Living's complete lineup of high-performance powered speaker systems, TV mounts, speaker stands and accessories, to support Kanto's sales growth and increased demand in consumer and B2B markets. Based in Fallston, Md., with an office in Middletown, N.J., Opus offers a wide range of home, professional, commercial, portable and mobile audio/video products and installation solutions.

"Opus is proud to partner with Kanto to represent their portfolio of products in the Mid-Atlantic Region," says Dan Mangan, principal of Opus Marketing Group. "Kanto is a superior-quality line with unique products that provide dealers with profitability and new sales opportunities in the powered speaker and mounting solutions categories."


Key Digital, a manufacturer of digital video and control systems, has announced that it has joined the Manufacturer Vantage Point (MVP) program with D-Tools Inc., a worldwide developer of business software for system integrators.  

Founded in 1998, the company pioneered the category of data-driven design and documentation with its award-winning System Integrator product, used by audio/video integration professionals in the residential and commercial custom electronics industry.

“We are happy to now have an even further streamlined process for designing audio and video systems with Key Digital’s award winning products. Joining the MVP program with D-Tools promises to save our dealers and customers time and energy with quoting, designing, and executing projects,” says Masha Lakhter, vice president of marketing, Key Digital. “Every move that Key Digital makes is based on what is best for our integrators, and I believe that joining this D-Tools program really illustrates that consideration.”


The CEDIA trade group has announced the launch of the CEDIA Member of Excellence Program. The program aims to celebrate excellence, and there are two designations CEDIA members can achieve to demonstrate their company's commitment to delivering exceptional experiences to their clients, investing in professional development and technical excellence, and serving their community.

"We thought long and hard about how we wanted to approach this program," says Giles Sutton, senior vice president of industry engagement, CEDIA. "It was important for the program to have a holistic approach and represent the core values that many CEDIA companies already share and the aspirational values that would challenge a company to reach the next level of professionalism."

The program is built upon a foundation of continuing education, customer service, and community, and the trade group says that members who demonstrate achievement in these three areas will be granted the designation of CEDIA Advanced Member.

CEDIA member companies looking to achieve the highest level of designation—the CEDIA Member of Excellence —will need to fulfill the three primary requirements, as well as a record of award-winning craftsmanship, and a dedication to advanced industry certifications.

"The program has been crafted in a way that meets the needs of our global membership. Companies of all sizes, regardless of the market they serve, are eligible to participate," adds Tabatha O'Connor, global president, and chief executive officer, CEDIA. "We are so excited to be able to provide this heightened platform to recognize and affirm those member companies who are consistently dedicated to excellence."


Feb. 1

The satellite entertainment provide DISH is letting customers know that using the DISH voice remote, customers can say “Super Bowl” or “Super Bowl 53” to watch, record or find info about the game.

In addition, the popular TV broadcast provider points out that it's building Google Assistant into its Hopper family of receivers. In the coming months, customers will be able to use the DISH voice remote to ask the Assistant to control smart home devices, provide weather and news updates, display photos and more. This new integration builds on the DISH voice remote's existing ability to control the TV experience, including navigation, search and content selection. 

Hopper with the Google Assistant built-in will join DISH's voice control technology suite, which includes its July 2018 integration with the Google Assistant that requires users to pair Hopper with a Google Assistant device, like speakers, phones and more, to control their TV.

"Our customers love the convenience of voice control, so we're expanding functionality to make it even more powerful," says Niraj Desai, vice president of product management, DISH. "As a DISH subscriber, you will soon get the Google Assistant and all its incredible features – like adjusting your thermostat, managing your calendar or simply asking for the latest news – for free, right on your TV." 

With the Google Assistant built-in on Hopper, customers will be able to use the DISH voice remote to ask the Assistant questions and see answers on the screen like the weather forecast or games scores. Users will also be able to control smart home devices, such as dimming the lights or adjusting the thermostat, and relive favorite memories by pulling up Google Photos on the TV screen via voice commands.


Jan. 31

Elite Home Theater Seating (Elite HTS) has launched new website, and and announced its new Diamond Elite Certification for home theater furniture design. 

“The new Elite HTS experience is one that we believe is a major step forward for home theater and cinema fans,” says Bobby Bala, CEO and founder of Elite. “We have taken great care to build a site that our industry partners can use on a daily basis to help their own businesses grow, as well as offering consumers a higher level of value than ever before.”

The Diamond Elite Standard ensures that Elite’s discerning customers can be confident in the design and workmanship that goes into every custom home theater chair order. The standard defines ten key design and construction specifications that every chair must meet in order to be certified and receive the Diamond Elite seal.


Luxul has issued firmware updates for its XWR-3150, XWR-3100 and XWR-1200 routers. The new firmware , version 6.4.2 provides these options:

  • It offers the ability to Auto Add an AP onto a network
  • A banner was added to the UI alerting integrators the Auto Add function was successful
  • Integrators can backup router configurations with or without Domotz information. 

IntelliVision Technologies Corp., a manufacturer of artificial intelligence and deep learning video analytics software for smart cameras, and a subsidiary of Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC), has announced the addition of anti-spoofing to its face recognition technology. IntelliVision anti-spoofing technology ensures that photos, screen-based images or even videos of a known face will not be recognized.
 

“With the growing popularity of facial recognition for access control, security and personalization, it is inevitable that bad actors will try to fool the system,” says Krishna Khadloya, vice president of development for IntelliVision. “Special 3D cameras are too expensive for most applications, so we have implemented a ‘liveness’ test which can be used with regular 2D cameras, embedded or server-based.”


Auralex Acoustics, Inc., a manufacturer of acoustical treatments, has announced that its RLX: Room Layout eXpress acoustical treatment app is available as a standalone app available on the Apple App Store and Android App Store starting in January 2019. The RLX app is an intuitive, automated treatment app that is specifically designed to give instantaneous recommendations for various small room types and gives users the ability quickly get acoustical treatment suggestions on their mobile devices. As a result, the app takes a lot of the guesswork out of determining what is the best and most effective acoustical treatment solutions for a specific space.   


The app is both easy to use and returns immediate results. To begin, simply select your “Room Type.” If your room fits more than one, select the one that best fits your situation. You can also use the “Edit Room” function to view multiple results for the same dimensions previously entered. The kit recommendations provided are based on both the type of room selected, and the suggested amount of necessary acoustic treatment required based on your specific square footage with our comprehensive line of Absorption, Bass Trapping, and Diffusion products. You are also able to input various types of equipment and gear used in your room. The app will use this information to provide suggestions on applicable ISO Series™ Products that can further help your room acoustics.   

When you are ready to make a purchase, a number of our largest Authorized Auralex Dealers are listed, or you may enter your zip code to receive the contact information of the nearest Authorized Auralex Dealer.
 


Jan. 30

YouTube Music is now available on Sonos. According to the audio manufacturer, starting on Jan. 30, 2019, YouTube Music Premium andYouTube Premium subscribers around the world can listen to YouTube’s catalog of original audio content, remixes, live performances, and covers through the Sonos app.

YouTube Music joins Sonos’ lineup of 100-plus streaming partners, giving homeowners access to music tailored to their tastes and playlists to help fans discover new music, and to help them keep up with what’s trending.


Somfy Systems, Inc., a global manufacturer of motors for interior window coverings and exterior solar protections, has announced the Somfy myLink is now an IFTTT service. This integration with IFTTT allows the myLink to communicate with other smart home solutions easily. Users can get started immediately with Applets by Somfy, or create unique Applets tailored to their automation needs. 

“Imagine your motorized shades closing automatically if your connected thermostat hits 90 degrees,” says Eric Montgomery, controls product manager of Somfy North America. “With myLink and IFTTT it’s easy to maximize the benefits of window covering automation.”

IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a free, web-based service allowing users to create connections between digital devices and services with conditional statements called Applets. When an action happens with one service, IFTTT automatically triggers a separate action in another service.
 


Key Digital, a manufacturer of digital video and control systems, has introduced the free Key Digital App for integrators and their end-users to access and control app-ready products using iOS devices. The Key Digital App scans the network to detect Key Digital devices and give users a pre-built GUI for complete control. The Key Digital App features IP control, Enterprise AV over IP access and control, switcher control, multiview and video wall control, and custom presets.

All app-ready Key Digital IP enable products are automatically detected on the local area network and are ready for control. The Key Digital App accesses and controls Key Digital Enterprise AV over IP network switching and control solutions. With switcher control users are able to choose desired video sources and assign them on selected displays, and with multiview and video wall controls users can assign sources, modify displays, and control bezels and screen modes in Key Digital digital signage products. Integrators and users can create custom presets helping to reduce time spent configuring the A/V system.


Jan. 29

ProSource, a national audio, video, and integration buying group has announced the addition of three new lighting category vendors selected by the Lighting and Shading Committee to fuel further growth for the organization. The three new vendors are American Lighting, Inc., DMF Lighting, and WAC Lighting.

"American Lighting is looking forward to providing ProSource members with great service, reliable products, extensive education, and the marketing materials that are needed to promote the products we sell," says Jennifer Kirkpatrick, national sales manager, American Lighting. "We look forward to partnering with the group and building strong relationships with everyone at ProSource."


Vanco has announced that it has issued new EVO-IP Drivers Available for Download. 

The company says the updates include integration drivers for Control4, RTI, and URC (TC2). 

In addition, the company says the updates provide these options:

  • Save and recall presets
  • Switch Multiple Outputs Simultaneously 
  • Create and manage video walls and on-screen displays
  • Reset and reboot devices

Jan. 28

Roku, Inc., announced it will begin rolling out Premium Subscriptions on The Roku Channel on Jan. 28.  All supported devices are expected to receive the update in the coming weeks, beginning with Roku players and concluding with Roku TV models. Premium Subscriptions enables users to browse, trial and subscribe to popular premium entertainment services within The Roku Channel. Users who sign-up for EPIX, SHOWTIME and STARZ before March 31, 2019, can enjoy a 30-day free trial of those services on The Roku Channel. Additionally, viewing of The Roku Channel directly from within the Roku mobile app is available for iOS devices starting today. The update for Android devices is expected to begin to roll out in mid-February.

“We’ve made subscription streaming easy for our customers and are putting them in control. Now there is one place on the Roku platform where users can seamlessly access both free and premium entertainment, with one click sign-up, easy subscription management and a single monthly bill,” says Rob Holmes, vice president, programming and engagement, Roku. “The Roku Channel already delivers a great, free ad-supported experience for our users and a valuable distribution opportunity for our content partners. With the addition of Premium Subscriptions, The Roku Channel will be a better experience for our users and even more valuable for our partners.”

Users can access to 25-plus premium partners including STARZ, SHOWTIME and EPIX, as well as Baeble Music; CollegeHumor’s DROPOUT; CuriosityStream; Fandor Spotlight; FitFusion; The Great Courses Signature Collection; Grokker; Hi-YAH!; Hopster; Lifetime Movie Club; DOX, LOLFlicks, Monsters and Nightmares, Magnolia Selects, and Warriors & Gangsters presented by Magnolia Pictures; MHz Choice; NOGGIN; Shout! Factory TV, Smithsonian Channel Plus; Stingray Karaoke; Tastemade; Viewster Anime; and ZooMoo. More partners are expected be added over time.


Global cloud-based home theater design software, The CEDIA Designer (TCD) has launched an update, which enables its users to produce an immersive VR render file depicting the finished cinema room, ready to send to a client. This update takes TCD's render tool functionality one step further, allowing users to provide their clients with an immersive preview of their potential cinema room - without the need to invest in specialized VR-enabled equipment.
 
"The process to add the immersive visual render is simple. The TCD user designs the technical elements of any dedicated theatre room using the software, then selects the way the room will look by choosing from a plethora of décor and equipment options in TCD's render tool," says Matt Nimmons, managing director, CEDIA EMEA. "The immersive render is generated automatically by the software, taking just 15-20 minutes to create the file."

The client can open the immersive render file directly from an email and view it on an Android or iOS phone, tablet, or computer. If opening and viewing on a phone or tablet, all the client needs do is download a free panorama viewer app such as Photosphere or Panorama 360 Camera, then open the file using the chosen app to view their cinema room. For an immersive visual experience, the client can view the file using an inexpensive Google Cardboard (or similar) headset and compatible panorama file viewer app.


Jan. 22

Capitol, a distributor serving the residential and light commercial markets, has unveiled a new logo. The new logo is the focal point of the company's rebranding campaign that was launched on Jan. 2.

The new logo features the company name with their iconic “play” button in Capitol Teal within
the “O” of the company name.

“Capitol is in the midst of a rebranding effort, driven in no small part by our marketing manager and graphic artist, Megan Larson,” comments Curt Hayes, president and CFO Capitol Sales. 

“From our website, collateral and eFlyers to our customers, Megan is creating an updated, unified appearance for all things Capitol, which of course begins with a new logo that features a fresh appearance while still being recognizable to our longtime clients.”


Origin Acoustics, a manufacturer of architectural loudspeakers and custom installed audio strengthens its commitment to the dedicated home theater sector by joining the global cloud-based design software, The CEDIA Designer (TCD) online database. Effective immediately, integrators using TCD can begin designing immersive audio home theatres and simpler media rooms – complete with full project documentation – using Origin Acoustics’ range of home cinema loudspeakers, subwoofers and amplifiers.

Included within TCD’s substantial product database are Origin Acoustics’ recently debuted in-wall and on-wall Marquee Cinema Collection, the in-ceiling Director Collection, the Composer Collection (comprised of sleek in-wall, theater-style, LCR style and two-way bezel-less frame loudspeakers), the in-ceiling, in-wall and retrofit in-wall Architectural Subwoofer range, Powered Subwoofers and associated amplifiers.

Built by home theater designers, for home theater designers, The CEDIA Designer software (formerly known as The Cinema Designer) allows home cinema professionals to design any dedicated cinema or media room in minutes using products from the industry’s best residential theater manufacturers. 

TCD creates peer-reviewed standard cinema designs and documentation, allowing users to produce technically impeccable dedicated cinema and media room designs, support documents, aesthetic renders accurately reflecting the finished room, in addition to producing a 3D CAD drawing of any room in under 30 seconds. 


Jan. 17

Savant, a manufacturer of smart home solutions, has announced the addition of high-resolution video tiling to its IP Video product line. IP Video Tiling is now built into Savant IP Video input and output modules (with video processing) and can be offered with no added costs or specialty equipment required. 

Integrators can now add video tiling to any IP Video system, allowing for viewing of multiple sources at the same time on a single display. Unlimited sources can be connected to Savant’s IP Video distribution system with tiling, only limited by the size of the network. All features are built in, enabling users to access and view any available source as a tile on any display within the IP video network.

The company adds delivering lossless 4K/60 4:4:4 video at zero frame latency with HDMI 2.0 support. There is no compression at any resolutions below 4K/60 4:4:4 and a ratio of only 1.4:1 at full 4K/60 4:4:4. Savant’s broadcast quality IP video solution works by transmitting video and audio data over standard 10Gb networks.


Jan. 15

Luxul has announced that it has released new firmware updates for its ABR-4500, XBR-4500 and ABR-500 routers. 

The company says it has released firmware version 6.2.7 for the Epic 4 and version 5.2.5 for the Epic 5 router. 

According to the company, the firmware updates address issues related to using Domotz or the Violet app.


Jan. 11

 DTS, a global developer of audio solutions, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation and MediaTek have announced their collaboration to release the first DTS:X System-on-Chip (SoC) solution for TVs in the second half of 2019.

The new DTS:X TV solution is an efficient DTS decoder designed for single and dual-core TV SoC architectures and is backward compatible with all DTS-encoded content, including DTS:X and DTS-HD Master Audio Blu-ray Discs. The technology also features a new, efficient DTS:X immersive streaming decoder for OTT services and is specified as the IMAX Enhanced program immersive streaming codec for 4K IMAX Enhanced movies.

“We’re excited to work with MediaTek to deliver the first DTS:X solution for TVs on its 4K UHD SoC chipsets,”says Joanna Skrdlant, general manager, home audio at Xperi. “We successfully launched DTS Virtual:X for TV together this past year, and we look forward to enabling DTS:X for TVs with MediaTek in 2019 to deliver a seamless, premium home entertainment experience for our mutual TV customers.”

“After DTS Virtual:X, we are pleased to work with Xperi again and to integrate DTS:X technology into MediaTek TV SoC’s.” adds Mike Chang, corporate vice president, head of smart home business group, MediaTek. “Together with new DTS:X support, our TV SoC solution with cutting-edge video and PQ engine will offer a more vivid, immersive viewing and listening experience for home entertainment.”


Jan. 10

Atlona has announced the immediate availability of its Dolby Vision feature option for its OmniStream AV over IP platform. Surpassing the frame rate limitations of other AV solutions when transporting Dolby Vision dynamic HDR content, the new OmniStream capability enables 4K Dolby Vision-enhanced video, at 60 Hz with 4:2:2 chroma subsampling and 12-bit color resolution, to be distributed over standard Gigabit Ethernet data networks.

OmniStream with full Dolby Vision support will be showcased alongside other Atlona products in stand 5-U120 at ISE 2019, taking place February 5-8 in Amsterdam.

Dolby Vision is an HDR format that when combined with a 60 frames-per-second Ultra High Definition (UHD) resolution produces a state-of-the-art image, but solutions for distributing 4K video with Dolby Vision HDR have been limited. 

“Dolby Vision has earned its reputation for enabling superior, lifelike images, but the lack of full compatibility in AV over IP and other video distribution systems has prevented AV customers from being able to fully realize its visual benefits,” says David Shamir, director of product management, Atlona.


Jan. 9

The Digital Entertainment Group is branching out into a new direction in media industry advocacy with the formation of the DTC Alliance as a subset of DEG membership.  

Every major media company and TV network will launch a Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) streaming service in the next five years representing a significant new chapter in how television and film content is purchased, accessed and consumed. As DTC streaming currently is a longtail situation with a few high-reach apps and many low-reach services, DEG's DTC Alliance is designed to support direct-to-consumer media services of all sizes to tackle difficult challenges and coordinate voluntary best practices and initiatives; advocate for the industry by presenting a common front to the commercial community; and promote member channels through campaigns aimed at building awareness among consumers, as well as through industry-leading events. 

Under the umbrella of the DTC Alliance, DEG has established six committees to set objectives and agendas in the following areas: Marketing Nomenclature, Data Analytics, International Expansion, Rights Repository, Title Availability Directory and Uniform Metadata Standards. 
  
"With the DTC Alliance, DEG is bringing together DTC content companies and service providers to build a robust and efficient marketplace for all players, and to promote the new DTC experience to consumers," says Amy Jo Smith, president & CEO, Digital Entertainment Group. 
 


Jan. 7

Charter Communications, Inc., has announced the launch of the Spectrum TV App on Apple TV. Nearly 50 million homes across Charter's footprint now have access to live channels and tens of thousands of OnDemand programs on the Spectrum TV App for Apple TV. Additionally, starting next week and expanding throughout 2019, new and existing Spectrum TV and Internet customers can get an Apple TV 4K as part of their monthly subscription for $7.50/month plus tax for 24 months. 

Charter is the first U.S. based cable operator to offer customers the new zero sign-on experience from Apple, which further simplifies signing in to video apps on Apple TV and gets customers to the content they love with ease. When first set up in a Spectrum household, Apple TV 4K or Apple TV (4th generation) will detect the Spectrum customer's broadband network and automatically sign them in to the Spectrum TV App and all the supported apps they receive through their service — with no need to enter a username and password.

The all-new Spectrum TV App is also integrated with the Apple TV app and Siri, making finding and playing favorite shows, movies and sports seamless across iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. 

"With Spectrum TV on Apple TV 4K, customers can now enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience across their iPhone, iPad and Apple TV," says Greg Joswiak, vice president of product marketing, Apple. "We want to help customers get right to watching their favorite channels, shows, movies and sports, and with innovative features like zero sign-on, the Apple TV app and Siri, they are able to jump right in."



Trinnov Audio has announced that it will add support for the IMAX Enhanced format to its Altitude range of high-performance AV preamp/processors. IMAX Enhanced is a certification and licensing program jointly created by IMAX and DTS that certifies high-end consumer electronics products for playback of digitally remastered 4K HDR content with enhanced DTS audio.
 
Altitude processors use an Intel processor rather than third-party chipsets for audio processing, decoding and rendering. According to Trinnov, this software-based approach enables it to be the only manufacturer that is able to implement new technologies directly into its products. 
 
“Trinnov has always been fully committed to performance and durability. We recently announced the warranty of our high-end products would be extended, retroactively, to five years. To further fulfill this commitment, we will continue to implement the latest technologies and are extremely proud to integrate IMAX Enhanced, continuing the collaboration we started with DTS when implementing DTS-X”, says Arnaud Laborie, co-founder and CEO, Trinnov.

The company adds that it is also supporting the immersive DTS:X audio format. 

Trinnov explains that object-oriented allows sound designers to move freely about in three-dimensional space to place sounds above and around the listener.

“Trinnov has been collaborating with the DTS team since 2014, leading to a first public demo of a DTS:X 22.2 system at CES 2015 on an Altitude32 processor. Our software-based platform consistently enables us to release new formats before other high-end home cinema processors. In turn, our design allows us to offer the latest technologies to our customers at their earliest availability. This was the case with DTS:X, and having worked closely with DTS, we are now very satisfied to be able to introduce DTS:X Pro as their first licensee of this technology. This accomplishment is yet another example of our commitment to high spatial resolution," adds Laborie. 


Jan. 3


VIZIO, Inc., has announced its Silver Tier award distinction from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which recognizes the brand's consistent contributions and values in sustainable electronics recycling practices for a cleaner tomorrow. The EPA presented VIZIO with the award at today's Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge Awards Ceremony held at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Silver Tier award recognizes VIZIO's commitment and adherence to the goals of EPA's Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge, including VIZIO's sustainability and public disclosure of its innovative recycling management practices. VIZIO continued to send 100 percent of collected used electronics to certified recyclers or refurbishers backed by a third-party certification program.

"VIZIO's commitment to the sustainable management of electronics demonstrates that successful business practices and environmental stewardship can go hand-in-hand," says Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator, EPA. "I congratulate VIZIO for their leadership and commitment to recycle electronics responsibly."


The CEDIA trade group has released a new white paper focused on human-centric lighting. 
 
"Human-centric lighting is an area that we are seeing rapid progress from a technology standpoint," says Walt Zerbe, senior director of technology and standards, CEDIA.

 "This white paper provides a great baseline for integrators to get familiar with the topic and to be able to talk to their clients about it."
 
Quality of Light in the Home covers topics including the benefits and challenges of human-centric lighting technology, consumers' personal control, wellness considerations for the end users, and installation implications.
 
The new white paper continues the global association's strategic focus on distilling complex and ever-changing technologies into more digestible formats for home technology professionals.

CEDIA volunteer Sam Woodward, a subject matter expert on lighting who serves as customer education leader for Lutron in London, previewed the new paper in a recent CEDIA Tech Council Podcast.

"As we're now spending so much time indoors, we need to think about the way of making that environment as conducive to productivity, well-being, and good health as possible," Woodward said in the episode titled All About Lighting. "So, human-centric lighting is all about people." says Woodward in the podcast. 

The white paper is available for $99 here.


Jan. 2: 

Como Audio has announce that its Musica high-fidelity audio system that includes a CD slot will allow existing and new customers to use Amazon Alexa skills to browse, organize and listen to music all through the house with voice commands. Beginning in early 2019, Como Audio customers will enjoy the convenience of Alexa skill to stream all music content and CDs throughout the house with Musica’s high-fidelity sound and elegant design.

After naming the system, such as “Bedroom” “Living room” or “Kitchen” and enabling the pairing through the Alexa skill App, voice control is possible through commands such as “Alexa, play BBC radio in Kitchen” or “Alexa, pay Neil Young in Bedroom” or “Alexa, play the Rolling Stones CD in Living room.”  The Alexa device no longer needs to be connected to the Como Audio system physically or via Bluetooth as before. Those who don’t own an Alexa device have the option to connect one at any time in the future.


Roku has announced that it has expanded its Roku Channel to include Premium Subscriptions. Users will be able to watch ad-free and paid premium content through its easy-to-navigate interface that includes personalized recommendations where they can browse, trial and subscribe to services. 

As part of its premium services Roku will add more than 25 premium channels such as Showtime, Starz and Epix, and it will offer these channels via a single monthly bill and account. 

"We're focused on making it easy to find great entertainment of all types on the platform and adding premium subscriptions is a natural evolution for the Roku Channel," states Rob Holmes, vice president, programming and engagement, Roku. 

"As a top-five channel by active account reach The Roku Channel is already a great source for free, ad-supported entertainment and provides significant  user engagement. By making it easy for users to discover, subscribe to and watch premium subscriptions, we believe this offering will result in increased subscriptions and user engagement for our subscription partners and an ever better user experience."




2019 State of the Industry Special Report - CE Pro Download

The custom electronics industry saw a healthy 8 percent growth rate in 2018, down slightly from the blazing 11 percent growth in 2017 but still admiringly strong. Our 2019 State of the Industry indicates that readers expect to see even more growth in 2019. Get your copy today.





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