|Volume 12, Issue 22 — November 25, 2015|
|Be a Better Customer|
By Mark Coxon
I will admit straight off that this post is somewhat of a rant, but I am tired of bad customers. The customer, despite claims to the contrary, is not always right.
My wife does a lot of marketing work for everything from Comic Con to auto shows to demonstrating espresso machines. She is amazing at it, as she is very personable and extremely smart (not to mention beautiful).
On Saturday, she had someone come up to her in the store she was working at and inquire about an espresso machine. She asked about his coffee preferences, showed him different models and even gave him tips on preheating porcelain cups to keep the drinks hot longer. After 30 minutes of interaction, he decided to buy a machine from the retailer she was at.
On Sunday, the man returned and approached her with the machine in hand. Let me first say that she isn’t actually employed at the store and doesn’t work the register or facilitate returns, so the only reason he approached her was to say the following.
“Money doesn’t matter to me. I mean, I drop $200 on a bottle of wine easily as I’m very well off, but I found this machine cheaper on Amazon and you didn’t tell me it was cheaper there so I’m returning it.”
Then he went to the counter and proceeded to tell the retailer he was returning the machine as it was “misrepresented.” Of course upon hearing that, my wife approached him and related that she was employed to represent the brand inside the retailer, so of course she wouldn’t send someone somewhere else to make a purchase. She said that she understood he found it cheaper and it was his responsibility to do his due diligence as a customer to research that before making a purchase. His response?
“Do you feel better now that you said that to me?”
Let’s just say it’s a good thing I wasn’t standing there at that time. But what’s the bigger picture? How does this relate to our businesses in AV as well as our profitability?
We’ve all heard people rail against companies like Wal-Mart for destroying small business. In fact, I’d bet the man my wife encountered has a great speech on Wal-Mart being the devil of modern commerce. But then, hypocrisy knowing no bounds, these same people go into a retail store, try a product, take the paid time of an employee to answer questions, allay concerns and educate them on the product, and then turn around, leave the store and go buy from the cheapest online bidder.We have a Better Business Bureau to report businesses that engage in unscrupulous activity so I thought it was about time we create a Better Customer Bureau (BCB) to start tracking customers who do the same. To my surprise, there actually IS one that helps match vendors to customers who prefer to pay for work well done. Check it out here.
I think they should go a step further and create a rating system. Come into a store, and before you get the undivided attention of a paid employee, you get your driver’s license scanned and your BCB score pops up, letting the store know how much time to invest in you.
This happens to us in the AV space ALL THE TIME. We do an evaluation of the customer’s needs, we do a preliminary system design, a bid that details the equipment, and then they turn around and take it out to bid, or even worse, share our numbers with competitors to get a better price. Of course there will be someone to do it cheaper, especially now that all the design labor has been done by someone else.
The customer comes back to us with pages of search results showing where all the hardware can be procured cheaper online, asking us to match those prices. Never mind potential warranty concerns, delivery, etc. Of course they don’t consider that their purchasing manager, who makes $40 an hour, just spent 20 hours researching and compiling all this. That cost isn’t even a thought, nor is the cost the original firm incurred in doing all the specification work in the first place.
If it wasn’t for your firm, the customer never would have known what to look for on Amazon in the first place!
If we want to get better customers, we have to BE better customers. We can’t complain that customers are shopping our designs online if we ourselves go down to Best Buy, spend two hours comparing TVs and talking to their employees and then go home and order it from Amazon.
People’s time and knowledge come at a price. We get more value from a product when we are properly educated and can experience it first, even if it costs a little more to buy it from the store or from an AV integrator than Amazon.
Sure, if you already know what you want and need, and you don’t need coaching or education, then by all means go shop online. I buy books on Kindle, I buy vitamins on Amazon or toys my kids ask for from TV commercials. I’m not saying there is not a role for online shopping.
Certain products and services still require a value added delivery model that a dealer or retailer provides. This is why I never buy clothes online. I need to make sure they are a fit. If I spend time and energy ordering and returning items until I get the right one, the added savings mean nothing.
Sucking all the value out of the retailer or dealer like a consumer vampire without ever purchasing only assures that eventually those people you rely upon for hands on experience or their expertise will be out of business.
We need to be better customers, especially if our own businesses rely on value added delivery models to exist. Otherwise our own consumer behavior eventually kills the very business model we rely upon to survive and we end up with customer service like in the cartoon above.
So the next time you think about going somewhere else to save 5 percent, ask how much time and energy someone else may have spent in guiding your decision and making sure it is a good one. Then ask yourself if your company had made that same investment in that time and information, if you’d be upset if the potential customer went elsewhere and purchase to save a little.
Be a better customer and you may get better customers in return.Leave a Comment
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|On Why We Don’t Have the Shiniest Toys Anymore|
By Leonard Suskin
Pixel and Ink-Stained Wretch
AV people used to have the coolest toys. Look back not that many years to the first AV touchpanels you saw; people oohed a bit, they ah-ed a bit and — if the installer soldered the nine-pin D-sub correctly — were impressed when the touch of one (soft) button not only turned on a room’s main display, but also switched inputs to the VCR and even popped up a set of transport controls. Yes, training was sometimes a chore and yes, users were sometimes afraid of the new technology. It also seemed special; it was a dramatic improvement over the table covered with remote controls they used at home.
Then time passed. So many people have tablets and smartphones that I’ve actually heard users refer to a shiny new, sleek tabletop touchpanel as an iPad. Users accustomed to navigating apps were now comfortable selecting “dial VTC call” or “present laptop” on a touchscreen. For a time, we didn’t have the coolest toys anymore, just industrial, enterprise-level versions of the same toys. That was still pretty cool, but not quite as cool. The cutting edge seemed to have caught up to us in the professional AV world.
Today, I look at enterprise tools and see a great deal of advancement, and quite a few ways to create overall experiences and ecosystems which set us apart from the consumer world. That’s a topic for another day, but there’s one thing that has lagged: the cool factor. The user experience. As the AV system slowly vanishes it becomes easy for us to cling to the last scraps of the familiar. What do I mean? I’m thinking now about how mobile interfaces have changed, and our interfaces have, to the largest extent, not.
“Open the Pod Bay Doors, Hal” — Action-centric InterfacesLeave a Comment
The biggest “cool factor” in UI is probably voice. As I left a meeting yesterday, I took my phone out of my pocket and said “OK Google, navigate home.” The phone obediently opened a map application, set directions to my house and started reading them to me. Next: “OK Google, text Karine ‘Leaving now. Be back soon.’” My robotic servant read the message back to me and fired it off via an SMS app. The nifty part isn’t that it’s hands free (though that is nifty), but that it is task oriented rather than application oriented. We’re moving to a new way to interact with devices, in which we don’t choose to open a particular application, but ask it to accomplish a particular goal. Did I ask a general question? It will open a search app. Send an email? Mail app. Count down to when I should check that my dinner is done cooking? The countdown timer app. And so on. In the professional world, I’ve yet to see someone walk into a conference room and say, “Display presentation. Call London Office.” I felt like Dave Bowman asking Hal to open the pod-bay doors. Fortunately, as of this writing, none of my devices have yet gone mad and tried to murder me.
As an aside, I invoked the aforementioned murderous malfunctions when I learned that Rane had named its audio DSP platform “Hal.” The company’s answer was that the computer in Sir Arthur C Clarke’s novel was the HAL9000, while its latest hardware device is the Hal4. We therefore should safely have 8,996 further hardware iterations before our DSP products start killing astronauts. I’m still concerned enough about symbolism that I’d think twice before installing one in a space-station. (Full disclosure: I am currently working on zero space-station projects.)
Sharing is Caring — Content-Based Interface
What’s more interesting, and perhaps more subtle, is how tightly integrated mobile applications have become. I’m thinking in particular about the Android “Share” button that can expand to include various additional services as one adds them. When I installed a networked printer I didn’t need to reprogram my phone; I ran the printer app and the printer now appears as an option for “Share to” for my already existing image viewing apps — the same way the Chromecast plugged into my TV, instant messenger programs, email or social networking. So now in addition to the action-based approach of the voice command, we have a content-based approach in the share-button. One first selects content, and then chooses what to do with it. In fairness, wireless content sharing devices such as the Barco ClickShare or Crestron AirMedia can appear on this sharing menu. Not only are other aspects of professional AV systems not able to do so, but there’s also little of this kind of integration in PC desktop applications.
Hardware Based — The Dashboard
It’s pretty clear: For the most part, we don’t have all of the coolest toys anymore. I see many competent control GUI layouts which more-or-less follow the InfoComm Dashboard for Controls standard. (Did you know that was a standard? InfoComm has standards and guidelines for quite a few things if you take time to look for them. It’s a great resource.) These designs are familiar and comfortable, but increasingly dated. Part of the reason is that we’ve always looked at things not in terms of “actions” or “content” as above, but in terms of devices; this made a great deal of sense when a purpose-built hardware appliance was required for each action. Play physical media? Select the VCR/DVD/Blu-ray player. Make a video call? Select the VTC appliance. Present your laptop? Select the correct switcher input. The idea and positioning of persistent controls (e.g., volume, environmental factors, etc.) with a central window featuring specific device controls was a very good one for its time, and still works in many applications. I wonder, however, if we let ourselves be a bit too far fixated on what is now a decade-old standard.
Today, “play media,” “make a call,” “record an event” and even “display mobile content” could ALL be PC-based applications. This renders the the center of the dashboard — the heart of a traditional AV control system — an empty splash page. Do you remember your first systems in which “video call” gave you dialing buttons plus camera control, “watch movie” gave you your DVD transport controls, and “display PC” gave you a sad little message that said “control your PC with the keyboard and mouse?” Today that “use keyboard and mouse” message might apply to video calls, media playback and pretty much anything else you’d do. We’re left with a “dashboard” which is a pretty (and functional) frame around what has increasingly become dead space.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Various professional manufacturers have been working on different tools that would make AV control not only “cool” again, but also modern and relevant. Harman has been selling NFC-enabled touchpanels for years now (since before they were branded as Harman). I’ve seen some use of this to personalize dialing directories and the like, but implementation is still far from mainstream. But it is, at least, a start.
Also of note is Crestron’s creation of an app to pair with its PinPoint beacons
. It’s created something that knows where you are (via the magic of Bluetooth), can book the nearest meeting room for you and can not only activate the system when you walk in, but even pair you with a Crestron AirMedia device in the space. Thus far, this seems to be an all-Crestron experience. Having your meeting start when you walk in not only feels like a cool toy, but it also gets us away from an old paradigm.
What I hope is that this will begin a shift away from “AV programmers” being primarily thought of as people who program AV systems, and more as general-purpose programmers whose work is in the AV industry. Let’s make the mobile versions of an AV touchpanel something more than a scaled-down copy of the wall-panel version; there are opportunities to use environmental, audio and location services.
There’s a chance to stretch interactivity beyond “touch an icon, something happens.” There’s a chance to make some cool toys.
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|Service Efficiencies: Don’t Roll A Truck Twice|
By Lee Distad
Time is money, and, for that matter, money is money. Everything your company does needs to focus on making the best use of both.
Efficiency is everything, not just in project design and installation, but in after-install service as well. Your service techs need to follow processes and function as efficiently as your installers do.
I have a perfect example of what not to do when it comes to service department efficiencies. It doesn’t come from the AV channel, but it carries lessons that can be applied to your business just as easily.
On the Saturday of Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, my dishwasher broke down. Never mind that it’s a Bosch and they aren’t supposed to break down, ever, but it did. Fortunately, it was still under warranty.
That said, being a holiday long weekend, there was nobody to call until the following Tuesday. The call center person was courteous enough, although it was somewhat frustrating communicating the nature of the fault to her. She wanted to stick to her decision tree and ask questions that I deemed irrelevant. That’s probably because the average homeowner is not a trained professional with a troubleshooter’s mindset, and normally can’t provide a detailed description of the fault and the likely cause (clean water is filling up the inside of the dishwasher until it overflows out the seals on the side of the door, probably due to a faulty inlet valve, in case you were wondering). I was told a service tech would call back within 24 hours to schedule a service call.
A day goes by, then two. Calling the warranty center again, I was told that the file had been sent to the service company and to call them. Calling the service company, they had no record of my file, which meant I had to call back the service company, where the phone representative then had to “escalate” my file, whatever that means.
Escalation only meant that someone actually handed off my file to the service company, but that did little good because the service company, apologizing profusely for being short-staffed, couldn’t book a service call until two weeks later.
Two weeks without a dishwasher. Argh.
Finally, the day before, the service tech calls to let me know when to expect him the next day, and to affirm the nature of the fault. So I reiterate what I already explained to the call center people. “We don’t keep those parts in stock,” he tells me. “I’ll have to order it, but I still have to come by tomorrow, and confirm the fault and the serial number of the unit.”
True to his word, he arrived on time the next day, and was a nice enough fellow. We talked, he observed the nature of the fault, and said he’d call the following week once he had the replacement inlet valve to book a second service call.
“I know it’s not your fault,” I said, “but wouldn’t it make more sense for the company to stock commonly-needed parts, if not in your vans, then in the office so you wouldn’t have to roll a truck twice for a $40 part replacement?”
“You’d think so,” he sighed, “but this is how they want us to work.”
At the risk of doing unpaid consulting for the service company, I count five or six inefficiencies that could be ironed out with proper process management.
Now, granted, even Bosch dishwashers don’t have networked functionality (at least this one doesn’t), so appliance techs don’t have the same logistic advantages AV techs do today with remote system monitoring. Today, AV pros have access to more data regarding their customers’ installations in order to identify a fault that you seldom need to roll up blind and start on-site troubleshooting from zero.
Even so, it’s still possible, and your techs need to be trained and prepared for it, both in terms of being able to ask end-users the right questions over the phone, and knowing how to proceed on-site.
More importantly, as a service manager or business owner, you need to visualize where bottlenecks may appear and prepare for them. Figure out what “mission critical” parts you need to actually keep in inventory, just in case, so your clients don’t experience weeks of downtime.
And for heaven’s sake, ensure that your people are meticulous with your record keeping and in-office communication, so you don’t lose customers’ service files!
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|CEDIA Opens Elections for 2016-2017 Board of Directors|
After an in-depth evaluation process, the CEDIA governance committee has selected nine candidates that have met the competencies required to be on the ballot for the CEDIA Board of Directors.
The CEDIA Board is dedicated to furthering the CEDIA mission of building prosperity for its members and ensuring the growth of our industry through its programs and initiatives. There are five elected home technology professional board positions up for election for the 2016-2017 term. The following individuals have been selected to be placed on the election ballot:
2016-2017 CEDIA Board Candidates
Interior Technologies, Inc.
Audio Command Systems, Inc.
R L (Ric) Johnson
Right at Home Technologies, Ltd.
Sounds Good AVS Solutions Inc
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Lake Forest, CA
Audio Video Interiors
Middleburg Heights, OH
JWhitaker Designs LLC
Detailed information about each candidate can be found on the elections page. One representative from each CEDIA member company will be able to cast their vote for up to five candidates. Eligible voters may cast their vote electronically beginning today at 8:00 p.m. EDT, voting will close Dec. 11, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. EDT.Leave a Comment
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|SnapAV Launches Redesigned Episode Line of SpeakersSnapAV has announced the launch of its revamped Episode architectural speaker line, designed specifically for custom AV install. The new Episode line offers a 150, 350, and 550 series use polypropylene cone woofers that are capable of a wide range of highly responsive, mid to low frequencies. The ½” to ¾” teteron and mylar tweeters provide increased sound clarity at higher volumes, while the pivoting tweeter function on the 350 and 550 series allows for the ability to tailor the sound to the room.|
Changes were also made to enhance the aesthetic appeal of these speakers, including a magnetic one-step paintable grille. Episode architectural speakers include in-wall, in-ceiling, dual voice coil, surround and all-weather models. All of them are here.Leave a Comment
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|Acoustic Geometry Launches New Curve Diffusor V2Acoustic Geometry just announced its new Curve Diffusor V2 as a part of the company’s line of natural-sounding, affordable acoustic products. Created by John Calder and Mark Stender of Acoustic Geometry, Version 2 of the Curve Diffusor features a more consistent-radius cylindrical design offering time-coherent diffusion from low-mid to very high frequencies, and a unique built-in low-frequency absorber. Bass absorption comes from the MLV limp-mass membrane on the back of the unit, coupled with a proprietary internal impedance system. This results in room-mode-controlling Acoustic Bass Management down to 45Hz, and it is only found on Acoustic Geometry’s Curve Diffusors.|
The Curve’s bass absorption capability has been proven effective in lab tests by NWAA Labs, Inc. in Elma, Washington. NWAA Labs, Inc. is an independent laboratory providing sound and materials testing to the audio, acoustics and construction industries, and has the world’s two largest test chambers, enabling accurate absorption testing (without interpolation) down to 40Hz. NWAA’s Curve Diffusor low-frequency absorption test results can be found on Acoustic Geometry’s website.
Curve Diffusors may be placed in a variety of configurations, including vertically and horizontally on a wall, ceiling-mounted, corner-mounted (with the Corner Trap Stand) and free-standing in a room (with the Combo Stand) to achieve the best placements for greatly improving sound in any space.
The new Curve Diffusor V2 starts at $339.98 and is available in over 43 stock fabric colors, as well as many custom finish options like wood veneer and automotive paints. Acoustic Geometry products are available online and from GC Pro, Full Compass, Magnolia Design Centers, as well as others — to find a dealer near you, please visit our website. To learn more about Curve Diffusors and the lab test results, go here.Leave a Comment
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|Meridian Audio Introduces the 818V3 Reference Audio Core, a Home Audio System HubMeridian Audio just unveiled the 818V3 Reference Audio Core, marketing it as the ultimate home audio system hub. Part of the Meridian 800 Reference Series, the 818V3 is more than a pre-amplifier as it includes triple FIFO buffering, DSP unsampling and apodizing filters, a linear power supply and a new master oscillator with 40 percent lower jitter for further improved audio performance. Connectivity includes the Meridian SpeakerLink, enabling ultimate quality and convenience when driving Meridian DSP loudspeakers, as well as balanced and single-ended pre-amplifier outputs for connection with non-Meridian electronics.|
An addition to the 818V3 is its new analog output card featuring an upgraded circuit with filtering that broadens the bandwidth and maximizes the potential of high-resolution music. This latest model fully supports decoding of MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) sources for true studio quality replay, and its new chip also brings lip-sync control and DSD (DoP) playback.
This third generation comes standard in black and costs $16,000 but it’s part of Meridian’s Select Program color service, opening-up a choice of 270 colors for an $800 premium.
All the tech specs are here.Leave a Comment
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|Bose Professional Updates Panaray 802 and 402 Loudspeakers as Series IV|
Bose Professional announced updates to its Panaray 802 and Panaray 402 sound-reinforcement loudspeakers, as well as a name change to the Panaray “Series IV” models.
Introduced originally 25 years ago, the Panaray 802 and 402 loudspeakers achieved what Bose calls “an iconic status among A/V system integrators, design consultants and installers.” The Series IV models have been updated with new installation options that better suit indoor and outdoor installed applications.
All Bose Professional Panaray installed sound-reinforcement loudspeakers feature full-range driver arrays, eliminating the need for tweeters and crossovers, to provide unsurpassed reliability and natural vocal clarity. Additionally, a Bose Articulated Array design — where drivers are set at precise angles to provide wide, even coverage — is claimed to reduce the number of loudspeakers required for many installations.
The Panaray 802 Series IV loudspeaker features a 120°V x 100°H Articulated Array design, while the 52 Hz low-frequency response can eliminate the need for subwoofers, providing a cost-effective solution for many indoor and outdoor installed sound-reinforcement applications. The new Series IV model adds new side threaded inserts and optional accessory U-Bracket to make installations simple, fast, and cost effective. The Panaray 802 Series IV comes in a black finish, weighs 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) and measures 13.3″ x 20.5″ x 13.2″ (338 x 520 x 335 mm).
The smaller Panaray 402 Series IV indoor/outdoor installed sound-reinforcement loudspeaker features a 120°V x 60°H Bose Articulated Array design, while the 73 Hz low- frequency response covers the entire vocal range to provide an even further cost-effective installed sound-reinforcement solution. The new Series IV model adds new rear threaded inserts with industry-standard mounting to accommodate optional pan-and-tilt brackets to enhance installation flexibility. The Panaray 402 Series IV comes in black and white finishes, weighs 16 pounds (7.3 kilograms) and measures 23.3″ x 8.1″ x 8.0″ (592 x 206 x 202 mm) and weighs 16 lbs.
The Panaray 502A, Panaray MA12 and Panaray MA12EX, remain unchanged.
The Panaray 802 Series IV loudspeaker is available now, while the Panaray 402 Series IV is scheduled to be available in early 2016. More information is here.Leave a Comment
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|Klipsch Introduces Entry Level SoundbarKlipsch today announces the launch of its Reference R-4B soundbar and wireless subwoofer. The two-way soundbar specs drivers, two lightweight 3Ž4-inch horn-loaded textile dome tweeters for distinctive high-frequency detail, and two 2.5-inch midrange fiber composite woofers that round out the enhanced sound with crisp vocal and dynamic soundtracks. Its tweeters are coupled with Klipsch-exclusive Tractrix Horns to reduce distortion and increase dispersion more directly to the main listening area. Included with the soundbar is a 6.5-inch down-firing wireless subwoofer that is housed in a MDF cabinet with a slot-port design for deep, powerful bass. The subwoofer pairs automatically with the soundbar given its sophisticated wireless technology. At just 3.5-inches tall and 40-inches wide, it sits comfortably under most television screens, not obstructing the view or the infrared signal from the TV’s remote.|
The Reference R-10B soundbar is compatible with most Bluetooth wireless enabled devices. The included programmable remote has three listening modes for optimal enjoyment: virtual surround, night EQ and voice enhancement EQ. Its Dolby Digital Decoder allows the soundbar to automatically reproduce detailed, high-quality sound no matter what format of sound is coming from the TV’s output.
Removable feet and included keyhole mounts provide placement flexibility for the soundbar to be mounted to a wall or rest in front of the TV.
The Klipsch Reference R-4B soundbar lists for $399.99 and is now available. More information is here.Leave a Comment
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|Audience Debuts ClairAudient 1+1-V2 Loudspeaker And Introduces 1+1-V2 “+ Kit” OptionsAudience today announced the introduction of its ClairAudient 1+1-V2 loudspeaker, incorporating upgraded drivers to deliver what the company says is even greater sonic realism than the original version of the 1+1. In addition, an available “+ kit” takes the 1+1-V2 and steps up the performance.|Leave a Comment
The ClairAudient 1+1-V2 is a bi-pole (front- and rear-radiating) design that delivers surprisingly expansive sound from a compact enclosure. It’s the result of an improved Audience full range driver, the A3S2-16. Audience says the new driver basket and motor are machined to higher tolerances for a more precision assembly. The new driver also has a notably more powerful motor made possible by the use of higher-quality steel for the neodymium magnet. The new driver utilizes custom OHNO oxygen-free copper (OCC) leads between the motor assembly and the speaker lugs for improved conductivity. In addition, the A3S2-16 now has one 16-ohm voice coil rather than the dual-8-ohm voice coils of the previous driver, eliminating a jumper wire on each driver and the associated connections that were needed to parallel the two previous 8-ohm voice coils to yield 16 ohms for each of the two drivers.
The sonic results are significant — better resolution, “speed” and soundstaging and a more realistic timbre and natural quality to vocals and instruments. The 1+1-V2+’s available + kit provides yet another degree of sonic refinement. The 1+1-V2+ adds beautiful solder-less Tellurium binding posts and Audience premium Au24 internal wiring. The + kit option adds yet another layer of refinement, particularly evident by the smoothness, improved timbre and tonal richness.
The compact ClairAudient 1+1-V2 utilizes one A3S2-16 driver in the front and one in the rear along with two side-firing passive radiators in a crossover-less point source design, a configuration that yields exceptionally coherent and musically natural performance. The speaker is striking in appearance, with a multi-angled enclosure finished in high-gloss black accented by rosewood sides.
The A3S2-16 driver, although just 3 inches in diameter, delivers an extremely flat frequency response from 50Hz to 22kHz (depending on room placement), eliminating the need for a separate woofer, midrange driver, tweeter, and crossover network. As a result the inherent problems of integrating sonically dissimilar drivers and the accompanying phase distortions, loss of resolution and transient response degradation of a crossover network are completely avoided. The dual side-mounted passive radiators augment the output of the A3S2-16 drivers and enable the 1+1-V2 to deliver outstanding presence and dynamic contrast with an expanded soundstage, extended low-frequency response and increased power handling.
The A3S2-16 driver incorporates numerous engineering refinements such as a large patented neodymium-magnet motor structure and voice coil that moves with a highly linear excursion of 12 millimeters; a titanium alloy cone material with a curvilinear shape; a concave dust cap specially designed to control high-frequency cone breakup and provide optimum dispersion; a unique “S”-shaped surround that allows the driver to behave more like an ideal pistonic radiator and many additional enhancements.
The Audience ClairAudient 1+1-V2 loudspeaker is shipping and lists for $1,995 per pair. The 1+1-V2+ is available at $2,345 per pair.
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|URC Debuts HEOS and CasaTunes Two-Way Control Modules for Total ControlURC announces the availability of two-way control modules (drivers) to extend integration of Total Control whole-house home automation systems to two exciting multi-room audio sources, Denon HEOS and CasaTunes. The new modules provide control features normally expected and extensions beyond. URC reveals that more two-way modules are under development in-house and due to be released very soon. URC already provides drivers for a multitude of third-party products including those from Lutron, SONOS, Honeywell, Aqua-Link and Lilin.|
Total Control by URC delivers whole-house home automation with ease and efficiency. Fully scalable, users can begin with a modest, yet feature-rich system like the MRX-8 controller and new TRC-820 interface at unprecedented low cost of entry and continue to add features as their needs expand. Home theater, A/V components, lighting, HVAC and security cameras are just a few of the items that can be integrated into a Total Control system.
The URC-developed HEOS two-way module (driver) enables Browse and Play of HEOS supported music services and allows users to manage the queue of the HEOS player, manage grouping of players, observe Now playing status with metadata and provide two-way control of all Transport controls, Volume/Mute, Queue control, Playlist control and more.
The CasaTunes two-way control module (driver) allows users to Browse, Search for artist, album or song in current music service or across all services, etc., plus provides the ability to send multiple streams of music from iOS devices to CasaTunes and dozens of other exciting features including triggering macros with device events.
Here’s more information.Leave a Comment
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|Atlona Ships New 4K 16×16 and 4×4 HDMI To HDBaseT Matrix Switchers With HDCP 2.2Atlona said it’s now shipping its new 16×16 and 4×4 4K HDMI to HDBaseT matrix switchers unveiled to residential-market integrators and installers last month at the CEDIA Expo.|
The AT-UHD‐PRO3‐1616M is a 4K/UHD@60Hz 16×16 HDMI to HDBaseT matrix switcher with Power-over-Ethernet and analog audio breakout. It provides eight extended-distance, 328 foot (100 meter) outputs and eight long-distance, 230-foot (70-meter) HDBaseT outputs. It also provides bi-directional extension of both RS-232 and IR control. Four HDMI outputs are provided as mirrored outputs designed for routing HDMI-based audio to an AVR or as additional matrix outputs.
The AT‐UHD‐PRO3-44M is a 4K/UHD @60Hz 4×4 HDMI to HDBaseT matrix switcher with Power over Ethernet and analog audio breakout. It provides one extended-distance, 328 foot (100 meter) output and three long-distance, 230 foot (70 meter) HDBaseT outputs. It also provides bi-directional extension of both RS-232 and IR control. One HDMI output is provided as a mirrored output designed for routing HDMI-based audio to an AVR or as an additional matrix output.
The AT‐UHD‐PRO3‐1616M lists for $16,999.99 and the AT‐UHD‐PRO3‐44M is $2,799.99 and full specs are here:Leave a Comment
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|Extron Ships HDMI Distribution Amplifier for 4KExtron has started shipping DA2 HD 4K, a one input, two output HDMI distribution amplifier designed specifically for 4K applications. It provides distribution of computer and video resolutions up to 4096×2160, including 1080p/60 with Deep Color (12-bit). This distribution amplifier is HDCP compliant, and supports data rates up to 10.2 Gbps, 3D, Lip Sync and HD lossless audio formats. Automatic input cable equalization ensures 4K signal integrity up to 50 feet when used with Extron HDMI Pro Series cables. To streamline integration and operation, features include automatic color bit depth management, selectable output muting, and Extron technologies for EDID and HDCP management. The DA2 HD 4K is ideal for applications that require the distribution of a 4K HDMI source signal to two displays.|
Several integrated technologies included with the DA2 HD 4K distribution amplifier simplify integration of HDMI-enabled devices. EDID Minder automatically manages EDID by maintaining continuous EDID communication with each source, ensuring that sources power up properly and reliably output content for display. For HDMI signals with protected content, Key Minder authenticates and maintains continuous HDCP encryption to support reliable transmission while enabling simultaneous distribution of a single source signal to two displays. It also provides +5 VDC, 250 mA on each output for powering peripheral devices, such as an Extron UHD4K 101 or HDMI 101 Plus cable equalizer.Leave a Comment
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|KanexPro Launches 4×4 and 8×8 Matrix SwitchersKanexPro has two new matrix switchers in the HDMX44-4K and HDMX88-4K, both spec’d to handle switching of 4K/60Hz with HDCP 2.2 — but, buyer beware as they are NOT specifying color bit depth on their spec sheets.|
These matrix switchers are available in combinations of 4×4 and 8×8. The 4×4 HDMI matrix switcher includes four inputs and four outputs with audio de-embedding and HDCP 2.2 specs and supported video resolutions up to 4096×2160 at 60Hz. The 8×8 version consists of eight inputs and eight outputs with the same specs above (time between switching of less than 0.2 seconds). Control is via RS232, IR and web based GUI using Ethernet allowing integrators to switch, control and matrix directly from a touch panel or computer.
Both HD switchers provide four or eight additional audio ports via S/PDIF connectors to supports de-embedding from HDMI and expedient firmware upgrade through micro USB ports. The switchers transmit 4K x 2K at 60Hz signal up to 15 meters and they are housed in a rack-mountable enclosure.
Here are the detailed specs.Leave a Comment
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|Elite Debuts New Starling Series ScreensElite’s Starling Series has just launched its second generation of motorized electric projector screens with new features aimed at the higher-end CE retail market.|
Dubbed the Starling 2, it’s an enhancement of the company’s Elite motorized retractable projection screen. It is available with its Spectra White FG material along with a stronger, faster tubular motor. There are also integrated up-down controls on the side end-cap. A 5-12v trigger is included to coordinate the screens retraction with the projector’s power cycle in addition to a new RS-232 connection. Lastly, an extended IR “eye” sensor is included for in-ceiling applications. The retractable feature provides added flexibility in media room design while its stylish enameled casing comes in either black or white.
Here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|RoseWater Energy Group Launches Floor Planning ProgramRoseWater Energy Group, a provider of next-generation integrated energy management products, has launched a new floor planning program to provide dealers selling RoseWater’s Energy Management Hub with a full display model to demo and power their showroom and servers.|
With this financing option, dealers purchasing the RoseWater Energy Management Hub can apply for a one year interest-free loan through RoseWater Energy Group and Padco Financial Services, Inc. Many dealers may be familiar with Padco Financial Services as they have offered floor planning programs with many CE and CEDIA channel manufacturers over the past thirty years.
RoseWater Energy Group will cover the finance charges from the one-year financing arrangement. Dealers now have the opportunity to invite potential customers to a showroom to see the operational award winning RoseWater Energy Management Hub in person, which allows the customers to see the build quality, sophisticated design and operation of the Hub before purchasing their own.
RoseWater is here.Leave a Comment
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|NETGEAR Intros Smart Security CameraNETGEAR today introduced Arlo Q (VMC3040) — a 1080p HD Security Camera with audio and two-way communication. The Arlo Q has a 4-megapixel-image sensor and built-in night vision as well as two-way audio so you can listen in on any room in the house and talk with anyone there, and receive alerts on iOS and Android devices when sounds are detected. It connects via Wi-Fi.|
Using a 130-degree wide-angle lens, Arlo Q can see entire rooms from corner to corner. Multiple mounting options — desktop, magnetic or wall mounts and, when it detects something, it starts video streaming and cloud recording. With Arlo Q’s free basic video cloud storage plan, both motion — and sound-triggered videos are always stored in the cloud at no cost to customers or for an additional fee, Arlo Q’s optional Continuous Video Recording plan (CVR plan), which continuously records everything your cameras see 24/7 and securely stores this non-stop video feed in the cloud. You can rewind any camera to any point in time and track activity.
Arlo Q 1080p HD Security Camera with Audio (VMC3040) ships in December in the United States, and will launch in Australia, Canada, and Europe soon thereafter and lists for $219.99 (USD), £169.99 (GBP) and €219.99 (EUR). Here are all the specs.Leave a Comment
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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).
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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.
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