Volume 14, Issue 21 — November 13, 2017
|AV Friend or AV Foe?|
By Mark Coxon
When I was in residential AV, real estate agents were some of my best allies. I made alliances with agents who worked directly for the builder to assure that all the spec homes they started had security, home theater, and whole house audio pre-wires in place. I also relied on them to introduce me to the buyers who bought these properties later in order to have the opportunity to complete these pre-wires with speakers and electronics at move-in.
I also had alliances with the resale realtors in the local area realtor groups. They allowed me to do technology assessments on their custom home listings so they could sell all the AV features they may not have understood were installed. I did these reports in return for an introduction to the new homeowner to help them update their systems after move-in.
At the time it was a great arrangement for all involved. I was the tech expert and they were the home experts. But what if the home expert IS the tech expert?
I ran across an interesting marketing campaign by Coldwell Banker the other day that asks this question:
Who is the Only Real Estate Brand with Smart Home Specialists?
They have been working with CNET and the CEA and have even developed a Smart Home Staging Kit with August, Lutron and Nest to help their clients sell their homes in a competitive market. They also tout smart home certified agents and listings, although clicking through ironically yields this page as of today.
Where does all this leave us as AV professionals, especially those in the residential CEDIA crowd?
In a good place actually. Coldwell Banker is doing a great job of communicating the smart home message to buyers, and if you dig a little deeper, they use a service called Pro.com to link professional AV companies to their buyers to install staging kits. If you’re a residential integrator, you may want to sign up as odds are, the home owner will continue to expand their system to include more systems and areas of the home over time.
With agents being encouraged to talk tech with buyers, they will definitely want/need some tech experts in their back pocket to help more tech savvy buyers with extended advice and trickier technology challenges that go beyond the “out of the box” capabilities.
This means networking with Coldwell Banker is an obvious must, but perhaps less intuitively, networking with agents of other real estate brokerages may be even more important. Agents at other firms most likely will be MORE motivated to develop their own technology resources to assure they don’t lose clients to their more technologically astute counterparts.
At the end of the day, technology is always a changing marketplace and new challenges arise all the time. It may seem that on the surface Coldwell Banker is creating competition. However, in reality they are really creating opportunity through increased consumer awareness and their need for a well versed labor pool to install the staging kits they are promoting, as well as the peripheral services that surround them.
A rising tide raises all boats. Float baby, float.
Leave a Comment
Back to Top
|With Broadcast Boxes, It’s Always Two Steps, Forward Three Steps Back|
By Lee Distad
The tech media never lets up with thinkpieces about cord cutters and the imminent dire future for broadcast TV providers. Yet we’ve been reading these pronouncements for years now. And the broadcast landscape has changed a lot in that time. Whether it’s for better or worse is probably a matter of opinion.
I’ll concede that at this point the concept of broadcast providers is obsolete. The businesses that maintained independent silos running services to the home have long since morphed into each other.
Where I live, all the rival telecom carriers offer broadcast TV services. The cable and satellite broadcast providers offer telecom service. And everybody offers high speed internet. Further, all of them have intertwined their offerings in order to fend off the cord-cutting movement. Periodically I look at the numbers and everyone’s package options are structured so that it’s MORE economical to take at least a basic TV package bundled with your high speed internet.
And then there are subscription streaming services.
The legacy broadcasters are well aware of the challenge raised by Netflix and Amazon, not to mention the myriad small specialty streaming services. Their response, after initially sulking about it, has been to offer their own rival streaming services. Naturally, at least here in Canada, those streaming offerings from the broadcasters are packaged to make you take at least basic TV if you want them.
All of that was a roundabout intro to make my point that as an AV pro, you now have more broadcast hardware than ever to have to get your head around and integrate into your client’s entertainment systems.
If the market in which you operate has multiple rival service providers (and it probably does), then you know the pain of needing to be familiar with all of their hardware. That means having to deal with the chimerical and sometimes seemingly random and eccentric control codes for programming.
I find it but amusing and frustrating that for all of the advances that broadcast boxes have made, most of them are still fairly dumb units, especially compared to the streaming boxes from rivals like Apple TV.
Most of the broadcast hardware around here still depends on IR for remote controls, which I suppose isn’t the end of the world. But none of the boxes I’ve come into contact with in the last couple of years have working 3.5-mm IR jacks in the back, which means you still need to use IR eyes.
Really, what century is this?
Worse though is that even though for the last few years broadcast boxes have been coming with Ethernet ports on the back, none of them for our local providers are active and the boxes aren’t network enabled. As more and more of my home AV system is controlled by IP-remote control I feel overly indignant about that.
The other major headache with broadcast boxes is incidences where they lock up or freeze. Since so much of what gets installed in home entertainment has a hard drive and is driven by microprocessors, it should be a common best practice to hook them all up to installed power management and conditioning hardware. Not least, the ability to remotely reboot a cranky broadcast box is satisfying on a deep level.
Speaking of IP-enabled hardware or the lackthereof, my current source of aggravation is that the new BlueSkyTV hardware from Shaw Cable features voice control functionality.
Sounds great, right? Well, no.
The problem with BlueSkyTV is that the microphone for the voice control is embedded in the PVR’s remote control. And because the PVR is NOT network-enabled, there are zero options to integrate the voice control into your actual control system.
If the TV room has an automation system, BlueSkyTV’s voice functionality exists in its own separate, incompatible silo.
That means that in addition to the remote control functionality of your automation, whether its on a mobile device or otherwise, you’ve got to leave the PVR’s remote control out on the coffee table.
So we’re back to multiple remote controls lined up on the coffee table. Great.Leave a Comment
Back to Top
Click above to learn more
|It Worked!!!! We Got a Woman Elected to the CEDIA Board|
By Gary Kayye
After writing this piece on how CEDIA needed women on their Board, I received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the industry. Some of you wrote to me via my LinkedIn post, some commented on Facebook and Twitter and some of you emailed me privately. I even got four phone calls from current and former CEDIA Board members — and one really cool one thanking me from a member of the CEDIA staff! To her, I want to say a special thank you for filling me in on the inner-workings of CEDIA and where she thought a woman on CEDIA’s Board could help.
In any case, all the brouhaha worked! The woman who I campaigned for, Heather Sidorowicz, is on! She will start serving Jan. 1, 2018. And although overdue, she will no doubt help transform CEDIA into a better organization and show. The high-end residential AV market is in a transition and CEDIA has the opportunity to become massively relevant as they can help marry the app-based and the professional-AV elements of the HomeAV market. Congrats to Heather and the other two newly elected members of the CEDIA Board, Matt Scott and Ken Erdmann — the 2012 CEDIA lifetime Achievement Award winner!
Here’s the official announcement from CEDIA themselves:
CEDIA Elects 2018 Board
CEDIA has announced the result from the recent election for the three open positions for the CEDIA Board of Directors. The membership has two new elected directors: Matt Scott and Heather Sidorowicz and one re-elected director: Ken Erdmann.
“We are so pleased to welcome our new directors and welcome back Ken,” said Tabatha O’Connor, CEDIA Acting President and CEO. “Each of these individuals brings unique perspectives to the table that will be incredibly valuable to the organization.”
Ken Erdmann is co-founder and part owner of Erdmann Electric, Inc. based out of Springville Utah. Ken joined CEDIA in 1993 and has been actively involved as a volunteer since 1994. He has served as an instructor, committee chair, subject matter expert, and volunteer leader. Ken was also an adjunct faculty member at Utah Valley State College instructing Electrical Automation and Robotic Technology. In 2003, he was honored as the CEDIA Volunteer of the Year. In 2005, Ken was first elected to the CEDIA Board of Directors and served two years as Chair from 2008 to 2010. In 2012, he was made a CEDIA Fellow and was honored with the CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award. Ken is currently active on the Professional Development Committee serving as the Certification team leader and served on the CEDIA Board for the 2016-2017 term.
Matt D. Scott started in the pro AV industry at a very early age, running his first live front of house event at the age of 12. Matt started Ontario-based OMEGA Audio Video in 2001, specializing in house of worship and professional audio video design and installation. He expanded OMEGA’s services to include residential AV in 2004, and continues to work heavily in both markets. Matt specializes in house of worship, live sound, lighting control, home theater design, control systems, and connected home technologies. Matt became involved with CEDIA as a member of the volunteer #CEDIATweeps social media team. In addition to running OMEGA Audio Video, Matt also hosts a weekly podcast on AVNation.TV that focuses on the residential market.
Heather Sidorowicz is president and owner of Southtown Audio Video, a custom installation and integration firm in Hamburg, New York. Heather’s roots are on the front lines; working directly with the client, selling and designing both personalized audio video solutions and corporate/higher education conference and training spaces. Her CEDIA experience began as a CEDIATweep, before joining the CEDIA Awards judging panel. She became Chair of this group, moved to the Membership committee, and is currently active on the Industry Relations Advisory Council. Southtown Audio Video has been one of Commercial Integrator’s Top Higher Ed Integration Firms for the past two years, and in 2015, Heather was selected at as one of their 40 Influencers Under 40. Locally, she has mentored for the University at Buffalo’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership program and the Allstate’s Minority and Women’s Emerging Entrepreneurs Program.
The three elected Directors’ terms will begin January 1, 2018.
The CEDIA Governance Committee is reviewing applications and conducting interviews with the 28 potential appointed candidates. Appointed directors are chosen from among all member types (manufacturers, service providers, home technology professionals, etc.) There are two open appointed positions for the 2018-2019 term — one to be filled from the EMEA region, and the other from the entire global membership. These two positions will be voted on by the newly seated board at the first board meeting in January 2018.
CEDIA is here.Leave a Comment
Back to Top
|Klipsch Designer Series Architectural Speakers Claim Reduced Installation Time|
Klipsch today announces the debut of its Designer Series Architectural speakers with tool-free technology that is designed to simplify and reduce installation time by up to 75 percent.
The patent-pending Sky Hook by Swarm technology is a tool-free, fully automatic, self-adjusting installation system that allows integrators to simply cut a hole, attach wires and insert the speaker into the hole. Sky Hook automatically engages the doglegs, adapting to the surface thickness with a preset clamping force that virtually eliminates the possibility of breaking the dog leg or cracking drywall, while locking in place for an ultra-secure, ultra-fast installation. Removals are just as easy with a quarter turn of a screwdriver.
The Klipsch Designer Series Architectural speaker line is made up of five in-ceiling (DS-160C, DS-160CDT, DS-180CDT, DS-160CSM, DS-180CSM) and two in-wall speakers (DS-160W, DS-250W-LCR). The CDT models use proprietary Controlled Dispersion Technology (hence, CDT), allowing the tweeter and woofer can be aimed up to 15° in any direction, creating maximum installation and placement flexibility.
Here are all the specs.Leave a Comment
Back to Top
|JL AUDIO Releases NEW Fathom 8-Inch In-wall Subwoofer System|
JL Audio announced the launch of a new 8-inch version of its Fathom IWS in-wall subwoofer systems. The new 8-inch Fathom IWS system joins the previous 13.5-inch driver models in the Fathom IWS lineup.
The 8-inch Fathom IWS systems feature a compact enclosure that utilizes extensive architectural techniques to improve rigidity, while maintaining a minimal footprint to facilitate installation in more applications regardless of wall construction. A unique port design vents through a slot located at the perimeter of the driver mount, to enhance efficiency and low-bass output. Inside the enclosure is an all-new, long-excursion, 8-inch thin-line woofer, designed and built specifically by JL Audio for these products. The system is driven by a rack-mountable DSP/amplifier with up to 600 watts of clean power, and programmed specifically for each system. A complete set of Fathom® signal processing features are in the amplifier, including a powerful, 18-band Digital Automatic Room Optimization (D.A.R.O.) system and a true two-way crossover with high-pass outputs, all accessible via an easy-to-use, menu-driven interface and LCD display.
Fathom IWS-SYS-108 and IWS-SYS-208 specifications include:
- Enclosure Type: Ported Enclosure
- Driver(s): 8-inch (nominal diameter)
- Effective Piston Area: 31.62 sq. in. (0.0204 sq. m.) for each woofer
- Effective Displacement: 47.5 cu. in. (0.78 liters) for each woofer
- Amplifier Power: 300W RMS short-term (IWS-SYS-108), 600W RMS short-term (IWS-SYS-208)
- Amplifier Dimensions (HxWxD): 1.75 in. x 16.84 in. x 13.63 in. (44 mm x 428 mm x 346 mm)
- Amplifier Net Weight: 13.5 lbs. (6.12 kg)
- Enclosure Dimensions (HxWxD): 61.63 in. x 14 in. x 3.25 in. (1,565 mm x 355 mm x 83 mm
- Cabinet Finish: Black Texture-Coated
- Wall Opening Dimensions (HxW): 9.75 in. x 9.75 in. (248 mm x 248 mm)
- Grille Dimensions (HxW): 10.50 in. x 10.50 in. (267 mm x 267 mm)
- Grille Finish: White (paintable)
Here are the details.Leave a Comment
Back to Top
|Control4 Intros Six New Models of Triad R Series In-Ceiling SpeakersControl4 Corporation introduced today six new models of Triad R Series round in-ceiling speakers, including:
Triad R06 Speaker: Designed as an affordable whole-home audio solution, the R06 speakers are available for $235 MSRP per pair and feature a 6.5-inch, durable, long-life polypropylene woofer and a 3/4-inch aimable, cloth dome tweeter.
Triad R10 Series Speakers: Each of the four new models in the R10 Series is built around reinforced poly-mica woofers. They are available in 5 1/4-inch for $225 MSRP per pair (R15), 6 1/2-inch for $290 MSRP per pair (R16), and 8 1/2-inch for $335 MSRP per pair (R18). The models are voice-matched, allowing homeowners to mix and match speakers to meet the needs of each room while providing identical tonal qualities throughout the home. Each model also features an aimable Teteron dome tweeter delivering what Control4 says is full, natural sound and flexible installation options. The R18DT is priced at $275 MSRP per speaker and features an 8 1/2-inch woofer and dual aimable tweeters for smaller rooms.
Triad R28DT Speaker: The Triad R20 Series speakers are the highest end models in the R Series speakers. The series uses top-quality components including carbon fiber woofers for tight, deep bass and 1-inch aimable silk dome tweeters. Existing models in the R20 Series include the R25 with 5 1/4-inch woofer, the R26 with 6 1/2-inch woofer and R28 featuring an 8 1/2-inch woofer. Joining the R20 Series today for $325 MSRP per speaker is the R28DT, which incorporates an 8 1/2-inch woofer and dual tweeters, ideal for tight spaces. The Triad R20 Series is voice-matched to allow for a variety of speaker configuration options.
All R Series models feature an ultra-slim, magnetic micro-frame round grill and optional square grill for a low-profile design. The grills are available in white, and all Triad speakers are available with custom paint matching.
The new Triad R Series speaker models are available immediately. See all the specs here.Leave a Comment
Back to Top
|Draper Announces New AV Shade Pricing, Partnership with Herman|
Draper has released an updated window shade price list for commercial and residential AV dealers. In addition to updated pricing, the price list includes information on the FlexShade Recharge, Draper’s rechargeable battery-operated shade that debuted earlier this year. With long-lasting charges, the FlexShade Recharge battery is hidden safely inside the roller tube and can be recharged from a 110V outlet or an optional solar panel. FlexShade Recharge is quiet and provides a reliable, versatile motorized shade without additional wiring.
To download an updated price list, Draper dealers can sign in to Draper’s Pro Portal here. Dealers who have yet to register for an account can click the “Need to register for access” link and set up an account.
Draper has also announced a new partnership to provide additional after-sale support to dealers who sell shades. Draper is joining forces with Herman Integration Services to provide project management, field measuring and verification for every shade, installation services, and programming and integration experience. Dealers will still contact Draper for a quote and get basic sales training from the company. Once a dealer has the quote, they can contact Herman for pricing on everything from field verification to installation and programming.
To see more information on Draper’s new shade line, go here.Leave a Comment
Back to Top
|CasaTunes Integrates With Lutron RadioRA 2 and HomeWorks QS Keypads|
CasaTunes is announcing that CasaTunes music can now be controlled anywhere in the home from Lutron lighting control devices, including RadioRA 2 and HomeWorks QS system keypads, Pico wireless controls and timer events. CasaTunes integration is available on CasaTunes music servers.
Using the CasaTunes App, users configure a CasaTunes action to take place when a Lutron keypad button is pressed, or a timeclock event occurs. Actions include powering rooms, changing the volume, rotating through sources, songs and playlists and various transport controls, such as playing and pausing music. To simplify setup, CasaTunes automatically discovers all Lutron keypads and timeclock events and updates this information whenever the Lutron configuration changes.
CasaTunes Music Servers are a sophisticated whole house audio system, providing endless amount of music including disc, networked and Internet music, as well as complete control of the system using the CasaTunes Android and iOS apps. CasaTunes systems integrate with popular home automation systems from Control4, Compass Control, HDL, RTI and URC as well as AV receivers.
Here are the details.Leave a Comment
Back to Top
|Atlona Ships HDR-Capable 4K HDMI-Over-HDBaseT Extender|
Atlona is shipping its AT-HDR-EX-70-2PS transmitter/receiver kit. Designed for both residential and commercial applications, it’s designed to extend 4K/UHD HDMI signals over HDBaseT with support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) formats.
The HDR-EX-70-2PS extends 4K HDR by combining latency-free, visually lossless (meaning it’s compressed but they say you can’t tell) compression with HDBaseT. Transporting signals up to 4K/UHD at 60 Hz with 4:4:4 chroma sampling (8-bit color) over Cat6a or Cat7 cable, the kit can extend 1080p video up to 230 feet (70 meters), while HDR-enhanced 4K content can be carried up to 130 feet (40 meters).
The new extender supports all video resolutions, audio formats – including PCM plus Dolby and DTS formats – and color spaces encompassed in the HDMI 2.0a specifications. Able to pass metadata for HDR content, the solution supports the 4K HDR10 standard at 60 Hz (4:2:0 chroma subsampling, 10-bit color) plus additional HDR variants. Additional key features include support for HDMI data rates up to 18 Gbps and HDCP 2.2 compliance for the transport of protected content.
The HDR-EX-70-2PS specs are here.Leave a Comment
Back to Top
|RTI Adds Built-In Control Processor to KX3 3.5-Inch In-Wall Touchpanel|
RTI announced today expanded capabilities for its hybrid KX3 3.5-inch in-wall touch panel keypad. Ideal for installations in homes, classrooms and conference rooms, the cost-effective device combines an in-wall touchscreen interface and a control processor into one pcustomizable unit.
Allowing users to easily engage with their surroundings, the KX3 features a 3.5-inch color WVGA touchscreen, five customizable hard buttons and a completely customizable interface for extremely intuitive navigation. Under the hood is a robust central processor offering myriad benefits, including the ability to leverage RTI’s expansive library of two-way drivers for seamless integration with third-party electronic systems. In addition, the KX3 offers wired and wireless Ethernet, which allows users to view video from network security cameras and seamlessly perform programming updates. Convenient LEDs reveal room status while the built-in camera and microphone support video intercom functionality. Providing intelligent operation, a proximity sensor wakes the unit up when approached by a user.
The all-in-one KX3 offers control without having to purchase an additional processor. Integrators can incorporate a smart device running the RTiPanel app and add an RTI wireless remote via the built-in 2.4 GHz ZigBee antenna, giving their customers even more control options. Additional advanced features include an astronomical clock to schedule and automate events, six voltage sense ports, infrared output and four relays. Its interface can be easily tailored to each specific installation with RTI’s Integration Designer programming software.
RTI’s KX3 in-wall touchpanel is now shipping. More information is here.Leave a Comment
Back to Top
|Atlona Ships AT-HDR-H2H-44M HDMI 4K with HDR Matrix Switcher
Atlona is now shipping the AT-HDR-H2H-44M HDMI matrix switcher, a 4K HDR-capable 4×4 matrix switcher for HDR in a 1RU form factor. The HDR-H2H-44M supports all video resolutions, audio formats, and color space formats encompassed in the HDMI 2.0b specification. Atlona claims that it has fast switching and that it supports 4K/UHD video at 60 Hz with 4:4:4 chroma sampling (10-bit color) and HDMI data rates up to 18 Gbps, while HDCP 2.2 compliance enables switching of protected content.
The HDR-H2H-44M offers HDMI audio de-embedding for each output, enabling two-channel PCM or multi-channel surround sound audio to be sent to AV receivers or soundbars via corresponding TOSLINK digital audio outputs. Further easing integration, the switcher includes EDID and HDCP management features and can send CEC signals independently to each output for controlling individual destination displays. The HDR-H2H-44M can be controlled via Ethernet, RS-232 or the included handheld IR remote, and can be configured remotely through its integrated web interface or the free Atlona Management System (AMS 2.0) network software platform. Additionally, the HDR-H2H-44M is ready to integrate with their Velocity Control System.
Here are all the tech specs.Leave a Comment
Back to Top
For all you REGULAR readers of rAVe HomeAV Edition out there, hopefully you enjoyed another opinion-packed issue!
For those of you NEW to rAVe, you just read how we are — we are 100% opinionated. We not only report the news and new product stories of the high-end HomeAV industry, but we stuff the articles full of our opinions. That may include (but is not limited to) whether or not the product is even worth looking at, challenging the manufacturers on their specifications, calling a marketing-spec bluff and suggesting ways integrators market their products better. But, one thing is for sure, we are NOT a trade publication that gets paid for running editorial or product stories. Traditional trade publications get paid to run product stories — that’s why you see what you see in most of the pubs out there. We are different: we run what we want to run and NO ONE is going to pay us to write anything good (or bad).
Don’t like us, then go away — unsubscribe! Just use the link below.
To send me feedback, don’t reply to this newsletter – instead, write directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or for editorial ideas: Editor-in-Chief Sara Abrons at email@example.com
A little about me: I graduated from Journalism School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where I am adjunct faculty). I’ve been in the AV-industry since 1987 where I started with Extron and eventually moved to AMX. So, I guess I am an industry veteran (although I don’t think I am that old). I have been an opinionated columnist for a number of industry publications and in the late 1990s I started the widely read KNews eNewsletter (the first in the AV market) and also created the model for and was co-founder of AV Avenue – which is now known as InfoComm IQ. rAVe Publications has been around since 2003, when we launched our original newsletter, rAVe ProAV Edition.
rAVe HomeAV Edition, co-published with CEDIA, launched in February, 2004.
To read more about my background, our team, and what we do, go to http://www.ravepubs.comBack to Top
Copyright 2017 – rAVe [Publications] – All rights reserved. For reprint policies, contact rAVe [Publications], 210 Old Barn Ln. – Chapel Hill, NC 27517 – 919/969-7501. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
rAVe HomeAV Edition contains the opinions of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of other persons or companies or its sponsors.