Volume 10, Issue 16 — August 30, 2013






Volume 10, Issue 16 — 30, 2013

Editorial
Theater Rooms and Wine Cellars?
Lee Distad : rAVe Columnist

Editorial
The Finer Art of Gimmickry
Mark Coxon : rAVe Blogger

Editorial
What Does it Take to Increase TV Sales?
Norbert Hildebrand : DisplaySearch

Industry News
NPD: TV Will Drive OLED Materials Market Growth
CEDIA Releases Key Findings from Annual Benchmarking Surveys
rAVe BlogSquad
Recently from rAVe’s BlogSquad
Projection
Epson Adds Sub-$1000 Home 1080p Projector with PowerLite Home Cinema 2030
Lighting
Savant Releases Wi-Fi Lighting Control System
Control & Signal Processing
Crestron HDMI Extenders with HDBaseT Supporting 4K Ship
Atlona Ships 4K HDMI Distribution Amplifiers
ZIGEN Announces New ZIG-CX-100 HDMI Over Coax Extender Kit
Intelix Adds Wireless HDMI Transmitter
Audio
Waterfall Audio Unveils Niagara Platinum Loudspeaker
Bryston Intros Model A Speaker Series
Cables, Furniture, Mounts, Racks, Screens and Accessories
Elite Screens Intros In-Ceiling DIY Electric Screen Line
Network Control Added to BlueBOLT Power Management Platform
In Brief
Alliance AV Partners and Clarity Business Group Merge
AVnu Alliance Adds Three New Members
Leslie Shiner Named as 2013 CEDIA Fellow Inductee
SpeakerCraft and D-Tools Announce Renewal of Strategic MVP Partnership


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Editorial

 Theater Rooms and Wine Cellars?

By Lee Distad
rAVe Columnist

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If there’s any one theme that strings together the editorials I’ve been writing for rAVe in the past few years, it’s how important it is for AV pros to both develop effective processes, both on the jobsite and off, and to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

In the last ten years, I’ve witnessed the AV channel’s own Boom, Bust and Echo. Prior to the global financial crisis, I watched HomeAV companies springing up like mushrooms. When builders and homeowners were awash in cash it was as Ricky Ricardo said to Lucy: “Everybody wants to get into the act!”

Following the housing crash, nearly all of the new-on-the-block AV guys vaporized. They didn’t have their act together, and when the money dried up, so did they.

The dealers who survived did so because they knew what they were doing, not just in terms of plugging one device into another but they understood their balance sheet, and they managed their company’s efficiencies.

Not only that, but most of the successful dealers differentiated themselves by providing categories and services to their clients that ran beyond the typical “cinema room and four rooms of audio” that journeyman AV companies tried to sell. Instead they plunged further into more technical things like control automation or more fun things like gaming systems and furniture.

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That’s not to say that every new attempt at a new category was a success. You can’t necessarily slap businesses together like lumps of Play-Doh and expect “synergies” (whatever those are) to just happen.

The most interesting, and unusual example I can think of in terms of AV guys branching out is the companies I’ve known who parlayed their AV expertise into designing and building wine cellars.

That’s right, wine cellars. In fact you’ll find a real synergy between theater rooms and wine cellars.

Why? Well, for a start, clients in the market for either (or both!) have a lot of money. Those are the best kind of clients: The ones who want the best and are willing to pay for it.

Further, both residential and commercial clients are in the market for custom-built wine cellars. Whether it’s for a dream home or a fancy new restaurant, both kinds of customers are out there looking for a professional firm that knows what it’s doing.

From a technical perspective, both kinds of rooms require design and installation that focuses on reducing vibrations and controlling light and temperature.

Wine cellars go a step further and require humidity control, but that’s easy if you have already mastered automation.

Just as important as the materials that compose your cellar are the people who build it. As designers, you need to contract and work with skilled cabinetry builders, tile setters, electricians and other trades to ensure that every detail in your client’s cellar is taken care of exactly. That’s no different from working on whole home AV, and you should already be comfortable with that.

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Editorial

 The Finer Art of Gimmickry

By Mark Coxon
rAVe Blogger

Curved OLED

There are two major areas of buzz in the display market right now. The first is 4K, (or really 2160p), a technology that is arguably not ready for prime time for most applications until the content catches up to the standard (if you missed my thoughts on 4K, see them here). The second display technology making its press release rounds, is the curved OLED Screen, and it is on this technology that I felt compelled to give some thoughts.

 

Why Curve a Screen?

For those of us who have been around the block in AV curved screens are nothing new. Projection screen manufacturers like Da-Lite and Stewart have been producing large format curved front projection screens for some time. In large format, front projection scenarios this makes complete sense.

In a front projection environment, a screen has a gain coating that reflects the light back to the viewer. This means that projection screens have always had a viewable “cone” where the image would be seen at full brightness. As the screen increases in scale, the image has the potential to get dimmer at the edges just due to physics of the way the light is reflecting.

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Light projected from a center point hits the edge of the screen at an angle and reflects outward in an opposite fashion. The larger the screen, the steeper the angle of entry at the edges, and the steeper the outward angle of reflection, making the image dimmer to the viewers at those locations. Make sense? Good! (If not, I heard there was some CTS thing out there that covers some of this…)

So in the world of front projection, where light is being reflected back to the viewer curved screens are a GREAT idea. They curve at the edges in toward the audience. That curve means that the same light projected from a center point, now hits the screen at a shallower angle, creating a reflection back in toward the viewer, and keeping the image uniformly bright and sharper even at the extreme edges.

What is the Advantage and Promise of OLED?

The image that you see on a curved OLED is not produced by reflected light. It is produced at the display, meaning the image is projected at the viewer from the screen (as opposed to bouncing off the screen to the viewer in a front projection environment). Look up OLED if you want to know exactly how it works, that isn’t the main point here.

The point is that OLED screens project light toward the viewer and have wide viewing angles. They project light very uniformly in a wide angle toward the audience, meaning that off axis viewing and perceived brightness at the edges is not an issue. Even if the screen were larger than the 55″ curved OLED introductions we are seeing, the need for a curve is non-existent based on the way OLED projects light toward the viewer.

The real promise of OLED is in separating the electronics to a control box, and being able to connect 1 wire to an OLED film of 100″ that you just adhere to a surface. Now, when that happens, projectors and screens are replaced by a thin flexible screen material that produces its own light without a bulb or any other consumables. It is also in a flat panel that is more energy efficient although in the current form, OLED takes a ton of power to create “white” which is why Quantum Dot Screen technology is being explored as well (never heard of that? Click here)

So why are they curving these new OLED screens?

And now ladies and gentlemen, comes the finer art of gimmickry!

OLED is flexible, thin and oh yeah, expensive. Putting it into a “flat” screen does not take advantage of OLED’s flexible nature, and curving the screen doesn’t take advantage of its thinness.

So how do you take a technology that has been developed at a high cost and try to make it attractive to consumers before its time? Introduce a gimmick. That is all the curve in theses OLED screens provides.

I know what you are asking, if it spurs sales how is it a bad thing?  Well here is the bad part. We talked earlier about how a curved screen reflects light and…

That same science says that a curved TV screen will reflect other sources of light back to the viewer.

Curved relection

Windows or lights behind the viewer will be reflected back to the viewer introducing more reflections and causing more glare. (Even anti-glare coatings have glare, they just dissipate it a bit.) So the curve actually detracts from the image quality in this scenario, as opposed to improving it like in the projection example.

The other part is that the curved screen may look nice if it sits on a piece of furniture like a credenza etc, but it is a terrible idea for a wall installation.

Curved OLED is Off the Wall!

One of the major customer requests with flat panel installations I received was to get it as close to the wall as possible. This was not only to increase clearance and eliminate the potential to “clip” a screen with an arm or shoulder while passing by, but also to mitigate the view of the mounting hardware and cables behind, not to mention any video extension or signage boxes that may reside back there. LED-lit LCDs have helped a lot in creating more clearance, and the fusion of thinner mounts and better back plate and rail designs have mitigated the cable view issues.

Curved OLED destroys all that, as the edges curve away from the wall, enhancing the viewable angles to the mount and cabling, and revealing the very things customers desire to hide.

Curved OLED also stands off the wall more than an LED lit LCD would, bringing the accidental “clipping” issues back into the picture. I would argue that the potential damage to these screens from clipping is also much higher as you are putting uneven pressure on the curved substrate.

At the end of the day, design considerations may mean that form takes precedence over function in these displays.  They will perhaps look pretty in environments with well designed lighting, sitting on a modern piece of AV furniture.

Spoon

However, in most cases these screens will cause more issues than they solve.  Hey, OLED manufacturers! Why not go one step further and make these screens curve left to right and top to bottom? Then you could harvest reflections from all over the room and reflect images upside down on top of the images being projected by the screen right side up! (Try this at home by looking at your reflection in the “bowl” of a spoon.)

Now that wouldn’t be distracting at all.

What are your thoughts on curved OLED? Weigh in below!

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Editorial

 What Does it Take to Increase TV Sales?

By Norbert Hildebrand
DisplaySearch

By Norbert Hildebrand
DisplayDaily

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For the last year we have heard from the LCD panel makers about the overcapacity of large sized TV panel production. The latest warning comes from IHS in its ‘LCD Industry Tracker – TV – Monthly,’ which states that according to the analysis, TV panel inventory will increase to 4.9 and 5 weeks in July and August respectively.  As it seems, the world’s interest in TVs is decreasing.

‘Why is this happening and what will be the consequences for our industry going forward?,’ is a question that rattles the CE industry in many countries.

When we take a look back at the TV industry over the last few years, we see that many pushed the 3D TV as the answer to declining TV sales. As we all know this did not materialize. While the market-share of 3D capable TVs increased, the total number of TVs sold continued to decline. Many analysts and industry insiders blamed the 3D performance and lack of 3D content as the reason. Surveys showed that indeed the use of 3D on TV sets was not growing as strongly as many had hoped. Availability of 3D content did not increase any further and some channel providers have announced that they are discontinuing the broadcast of 3D content next year.

The consensus seems to be that 3D and the necessary glasses were just the wrong technology to entice consumers to buy TVs. When we forecasted the 3D TV market several years ago we made an argument that 3D will not be as enticing as HD and flat panel TVs were when they were taking the world by storm. We need to remember that the governments around the world pushed the use of new flat panel TVs with the mandated switch to the digital TV format. Also, the form factor change from a CRT tube to a new PDP or LCD TV was way more drastic than the switch from a TV to a 3D TV.

So, what is the issue with the TV market?

Let us take a look at the recent results of the cable providers.

Time Warner Cable reported an increase in total revenue from $5.4 billion in Q2’2012 to 5.55 billion in the same quarter of 2013. Good growth as it seems. Unfortunately all the growth came from its high speed data and business services segments. Video, as the company’s largest business segment, decreased from $2.8 billion in Q2’2012 to 2.67 billion in Q2’2013. This is a 4.4 percent decline.

Cablevision also showed a slight increase in total revenue from $1.56 billion in Q2’2013 to $1.57 billion in Q2’2013.  While they were able to increase video sales slightly, this was based on a higher per customer income, as the number of video customers dropped by 20 thousand during the quarter. The worst part of the report; operating income from the video business decreased by 20 percent against the same quarter in 2012.

During the same time period, Netflix added 630,000 new subscribers to their streaming services in the US. They now service almost 30 million subscribers in the U.S. At the same time they lost 1.7 million subscribers of their DVD subscription base.

I think it is fair to assume that the way US consumers acquire their content is changing. There is no real consensus on where this is leading, but we can be sure it is not going back to a model that is in place for many years.

I want to suggest a different view on TV and video entertainment in the home. As we can see from the adoption of  smart phones and tablets, more and more consumers value mobility higher than computing performance and display size. If this behavior continues to develop, buying a TV set will not be very high on the CE purchase priority list. Consumers are getting used to choosing their entertainment content according to their schedule and not the one from the cable company.

This will lead to a dilemma going forward. As the subscriber base of the cable companies continues to shrink, the advertising income will eventually reflect the lower number of people they reach. In order to keep up operations, they have to increase the subscription fee to cable and high speed internet users. This of course will lead to even more people dropping their cable subscription. Not a good scenario.

If this scenario plays out as described, why would people buy a TV in the first place? They love the large screen, but it may just be more of a monitor than an TV in the sense of the word. With an Wi-Fi connection, tablets and smart phones could become the content source of choice going forward.

Now the industry is hoping that adding pixels to the TV will overcome this problem and lead to increased TV sales. If this does not happen, will we also believe that UHD TV was just the wrong TV technology improvement to spawn more TV sales? Maybe it is time to rethink the whole TV infrastructure.

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Industry News

 NPD: TV Will Drive OLED Materials Market Growth

Growing demand from large TV panels is expected to increase OLED material revenues at a compound annual growth rate of 67 percent through 2017, even as material revenue from mobile phones slows after 2014. According to the Quarterly OLED Materials Report from NPD DisplaySearch, revenues from organic materials used in the emission and common layers of OLED displays are forecasted to reach $530 million in 2013 and grow to $3.4 billion by 2017. The growing importance of OLED materials is emphasized by this month’s announcement that Samsung, the leading OLED panel manufacturer, was acquiring Novaled AG, a developer of common-layer OLED materials.

Until recently, active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays have mainly been used in mobile phones, but AMOLED display manufacturers are now starting to make inroads into TVs, tablet PCs, and other large-area display applications. OLED TV unit shipments are expected to remain modest at less than a million units in 2014 and only reaching 10 million after 2017, when they will account for 10 percent of total OLED panel shipments. However, on an area basis, OLED TV panels are expected to account for 17 percent of the OLED display materials market in 2014 and will exceed the share of mobile phone panels by 2016.

“The large size of TV panels will result in OLED display area growing quickly through 2017,” noted Jimmy Kim, senior analyst for NPD DisplaySearch. “The demand for materials in the emission, common, and other OLED layers is proportional to the area of the panels; furthermore, the low yield rates for OLED TV panel manufacturing means that the consumption of raw materials is further increased; thus, the introduction of OLED TVs will result in rapid growth in the market for OLED materials.”

Figure 1: Forecast of OLED Material Revenue by Application

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Source: NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly OLED Materials Report

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 CEDIA Releases Key Findings from Annual Benchmarking Surveys

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CEDIA has released key findings from its 2013 Benchmarking Surveys, which evaluate the  performance and the state of home technology professional companies for calendar year 2012 and reports on 2013 expectations.

Results find home technology professional companies are continuing to experience moderate growth, focusing on operational efficiencies (historically one of the largest prohibitors of profitability) again, and ready to bring in additional staff to accommodate a growing workload.

  • 2012 survey participants expected a revenue increase from 2011 of 12 percent. 2013 participants reported an actual increase of 10 percent and an expected increase in 2013 of 18 percent.
  • Median number of employees stayed flat from 2010, 2011, and 2012 at six employees per company (full and part-time), while revenue per employee rose from $135,000 in 2011 to $145,950 in 2012. However, participants indicate that they will increase their staff by 14 percent in 2013.
  • In 2012, there was a stronger commitment to operational efficiencies with 80 percent of participants reporting that they focused on standardizing operational practices in 2012 for increased profitability, the most applied tactic out of the 10 presented.
  • Of the participants offering recurring monthly revenue services, the percentage of companies offering remote network monitoring and diagnostic services is continuing on a strong positive trend – 16 percent in 2011 to 32 percent in 2012 to 41 percent in 2013.

The survey report, compiled by Profit Planning Group, provides detailed benchmarks, best practices, and trend analysis based on data collected from home technology professional companies.

All survey participants receive a customized report comparing their company to similar size companies, the industry median, and the most profitable industry companies. This custom report also includes a suggested action plan for increasing profitability and trending analysis for participants of more than one year. The estimated value of this custom analysis is $2,500.

For the first time, CEDIA is offering condensed versions of the reports at no cost to all CEDIA members as a membership benefit. The full survey reports are available for purchase through the CEDIA Marketplace.
For more information about the CEDIA Benchmarking Surveys and member report access, click here.

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 Recently from rAVe’s BlogSquad

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Projection

 Epson Adds Sub-$1000 Home 1080p Projector with PowerLite Home Cinema 2030

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Epson’s new PowerLite Home Cinema 2030 is a 2D and 3D 1920x1080p 3LCD projector that offers MHL-enabled HDMI. You can learn all about MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) here. Basically, MHL is a smaller connector (for small devices like memory stick streaming devices, mobile phones, tablets, etc.) that can output resolutions up to 4K and do surround 7.1, too.

The EPSON 2030 includes six color modes, is spec’d to output 2,000 ANSI lumens, has an integrated 1.2x zoom, has both HDMI (two ports) and MHL ports, handles component video and includes two pairs of 3D glasses. It lists for $999 and all the specs are here.

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Lighting

 Savant Releases Wi-Fi Lighting Control System

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Designed for residential and commercial applications, Savant Systems announced this month its new SmartLighting Wi-Fi 802.11-based lighting control products, a solution that can be used as either a standalone lighting control platform or as part of a complete Savant automation system.

The system uses a dimmer inside each Wi-Fi-connected keypad. Once the keypads have been connected to existing line voltage and lighting load wiring in the wall, they become a networked device that can be controlled using Savant’s new standalone lighting control iOS app or as part of a larger Savant ecosystem. Savant’s double gang keypad features its own internal processor, eliminating the additional installation expense associated with external hardware and related wiring. Additionally, the Savant SmartLighting Wi-Fi keypads deliver real-time energy usage data.

Savant’s networked lighting control solution can be used in the commercial marketplace, suited to such applications as event scheduling; having your conference room lights turn on just before a meeting, or having predetermined facility lights turn off once the security system has been activated, reducing energy costs. And because these lighting control devices operate on the network, integrators will be able to offer remote system maintenance, control and diagnostics with maximum efficiency utilizing Savant’s Enterprise Management System, which the company says will be introduced later this year. Savant’s Wi-Fi lighting control system includes a standalone lighting control iOS app that will become available in October 2013.

Learn more about Savant lighting here.

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Control & Signal Processing

 Crestron HDMI Extenders with HDBaseT Supporting 4K Ship

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Crestron has announced the availability of its new HDMI over HDBaseT Transmitter (HD-TX3-C) and HDMI over HDBaseT Receiver (HD-RX3-C). The new devices support 4K and offer a solution for extending uncompressed HDMI signals up to 330 feet (100 meters) via HDBaseT over a single CAT5e/UTP cable without signal degradation.

Available in a black or white faceplate, the HD-TX3-C makes it simple to connect an HDMI, DVI or DisplayPort multi-mode source to an HDBaseT display. Conversely, the HD-RX3-C enables easy connection of an HDBaseT source to an HDMI or DVI display. They also support IR and bidirectional RS232. A wall mount transmitter is available with black or white face plates.

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The transmitter and receiver with IR and RS232 are also available bundled together (model HD-EXT3-C). A different model, the HD-EXT4-C transmitter and receiver set, offers (instead of the control parts) separate analog audio in and out to support DVI, or other devices that don’t support embedded digital audio. The analog audio output of the transmitter can also feed a room amplifier or powered speakers, according to Crestron.
Get more information here.

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 Atlona Ships 4K HDMI Distribution Amplifiers

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Atlona is now shipping its AT-HDDA-2 (1×2) and AT-HDDA-4 (1×4) HDMI distribution amplifiers. The AT-HDDA-2 and AT-HDDA-4 extend HDMI sources to two or four zones, respectively, for commercial applications. Atlona says they support 4K resolution.

The AT-HDDA-2 and AT-HDDA-4 distribution amplifiers are ideal for small- and medium-sized TV showroom and digital signage applications. For larger settings, up to eight HDDA units can be cascaded. These DAs also support all lossy and lossless audio formats up to Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, and 3D up to 48-bit deep color.

Featuring advanced EDID management, the units learn reference EDID from the first connected output display and mirror it to all outputs. The AT-HDDA-2 and AT-HDDA-4 feature locking HDMI ports, link status LEDs for sources and outputs, and mini USB ports for in-field firmware upgrades. The AT-HDDA-4 ships with dual-purpose wall/rackmount ears.

Learn more about Atlona’s HDMI distribution amplifiers here.

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 ZIGEN Announces New ZIG-CX-100 HDMI Over Coax Extender Kit

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Zigen is now shipping its new ZIG-CX-100 that allows for HDMI over coax with 3D pass-through. The ZIG-CX-100 enables HDMI with 3D signal to be extended over a single RG-6 quad coaxial cable and is available as a transmitter/receiver set via the Zigen ZIG-CX-100 extender kit. The kit comes with built in bi-directional IR and RS232 control signal pathway that can be passed over the same coaxial cable. It enables 1080p/24Hz with 3D up to 330-ft/100 meters, and is compliant with HDMI 1.4, 3D, HDCP, and DVI-D standards.

The ZIG-CX-100 is a good fit for retrofit work or upgrades where it’s impossible to run new wire.

The ZIG-CX-100 kit lists for $699 and more info can be found here here.

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 Intelix Adds Wireless HDMI Transmitter

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Liberty AV’s Intelix group is shipping an HDMI wireless transmission system called the SKYPLAY-MX. It also manages EDID, has multichannel audio support, and the potential for up to four transmitters in a single installation.

Using the Amimon Pro wireless chipset, Liberty says the SKYPLAY-MX will distribute a 1080p video signal with audio up to 100 feet using AES 128-bit encryption on the wireless signal — and it’s HDCP compliant. Installation configurations include point-to-point (one transmitter to one receiver), distribution amplifier (one transmitter paired up to four receivers) and a switcher (up to four transmitters paired to a receiver). However, the frequency is only allowed in North America — so, sorry Europe and Asia.

Here are all the specs.

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Audio

 Waterfall Audio Unveils Niagara Platinum Loudspeaker

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French-based HiFi speaker manufacturer Waterfall Audio has introduced what it’s calling its “reference loudspeaker” in the form of the Niagara Platinum, which is housed in a special all-glass cabinet. The Niagara Platinum edition will make its debut at CEDIA in Denver and it will be distributed by Nouveau Distributing of Dallas, Tex.

The Niagara Platinum edition is designed to be used in esoteric HiFi systems, exceptional home cinema systems and larger acoustic spaces. Aptly named after Niagara Falls, the Waterfall Audio Niagara speaker does look like it’s in water and is spec’d at 500-watts of power — without clipping — and with an efficiency rating of 89dB (2.83V/1m). The Niagara Platinum’s enclosure of 10-millimeter safety glass stands 48 inches tall and weights 100 pounds a piece, and retails for $39,500/pair. Yes, $40,000 a pair.

Here they are.

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 Bryston Intros Model A Speaker Series

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Bryston this month introduced a new series of loudspeakers designed to complement its Model T line. Bryston says the new Model A series leverages the same design principals as the Model T, with a focus toward “minimizing distortion and compression during music and home theater playback applications.”

The new Model A series offers newly designed drivers, including a 6.5-inch woofer rather than the 8-inch version used in the Model T series. The Bryston Model A lineup will initially launch with a bookshelf speaker called the Mini A as well as three floor-standing towers called the Model A1 Tower, Model A2 Tower and Model A3 Tower. These four loudspeakers will become available beginning Q4, 2013. Bryston will be adding a matching Model A Center Channel, Model A Surrounds and matching Model A powered Subwoofer in the coming months. The new Mini A bookshelf speaker features a 6.5 woofer, a 3-inch midrange driver and 1-inch tweeter in a three-way configuration.

The list prices (per pair) are $3,250 for Model A1 Tower, $2,395 for Model A2 Tower and $1,995 for Model A3 Tower. The Mini A bookshelf speaker will have an MSRP of $1,200 per pair.

More information is available here.

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Cables, Furniture, Mounts, Racks, Screens and Accessories

 Elite Screens Intros In-Ceiling DIY Electric Screen Line

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The Evanesce B is a DIY (do it yourself) in-ceiling projection screen that conveniently disappears from view when not in use. It can be installed from within the above-ceiling airspace or from below thanks to its removable base panels. It’s integrated with Greenguard-certified, MaxWhite FG (fiberglass-backed), 1.1 gain matte white material with wide diffusion uniformity. The screen is moved by a fast-acting tubular motor and comes with a full IR, RF, 12-volt trigger and Ethernet control package. It’s available in 100, 110, 120” sizes with an 8” top masking border.

Here are all the specs.

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 Network Control Added to BlueBOLT Power Management Platform

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BlueBOLT, now a separate brand from Panamax/Furman within the Core Brands group owned by parent company Nortek, today introduced a network management feature to its cloud-based power and energy management platform. The new feature allows users to query (ping) any device with an IP address on a network from a BlueBOLT-enabled component with a BlueBOLT-CV1 card. In the event of a failed ping response, BlueBOLT can send email notifications, reboot an outlet, reboot a series of outlets in sequence or any combination of the above. Existing Panamax and Furman equipment owners with products that have a BlueBOLT-CV1 card already installed can upgrade for free via a firmware upgrade. In addition, the feature will be available in Q4 for use with the Panamax MD2-ZB and BB-ZB1 product family.

Initially designed to facilitate the control of power and energy usage and remotely reboot problem components in installed electronics systems, the company’s hardware and software technology provides an intuitive, plug-and-play Web interface where users can control AC outlets to schedule, monitor and manage their energy consumption easily. With this new feature, BlueBOLT expands from power and energy management to network management for a full systems management platform.

Get all the details here.

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In Brief

 Alliance AV Partners and Clarity Business Group Merge

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Two established manufacturer representative firms, AV Partners, Inc. and Clarity Business Group, Inc. have announced that they are forming an alliance. The name AV Partners will be retained, and Clarity Business Group will be absorbed into the organization. The territories for the firm are Southern California, Arizona, Southern Nevada, and Hawaii.

To read the complete press release online, click here.

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 AVnu Alliance Adds Three New Members

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AVnu Alliance, the industry consortium that certifies Audio Video Bridging (AVB) products for interoperability, has introduced three industry leaders from the consumer and automotive markets as new members dedicated to creating a new ecosystem of interoperable AVB devices through certification: Ceton, a provider in digital cable tuner solutions for the PC and manufacturer of in-home digital entertainment and communication solutions; Freescale, a manufacturer in embedded processing solutions for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets; and Ricoh, provider of office equipment and a supplier of an embedded software platform with a new business line of unique sensors.

To read the complete press release online, click here.

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 Leslie Shiner Named as 2013 CEDIA Fellow Inductee

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CEDIA has announced that Leslie Shiner of The ShinerGroup will be inducted into its prestigious Fellows program, which honors longtime CEDIA members and volunteers who have contributed significantly to the association’s success.

Shiner will be recognized at the annual Electronic Lifestyles Awards Celebration Sat., Sept. 28 during CEDIA EXPO 2013.

To read the complete press release online, click here.

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 SpeakerCraft and D-Tools Announce Renewal of Strategic MVP Partnership

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D-Tools Inc. has announced that Core Brands’ SpeakerCraft brand has recently renewed its D-Tools MVP Partnership. Detailed information on of the entire family of SpeakerCraft products is now available in the D-Tools product database, better enabling D-Tools System Integrator users to specify SpeakerCraft products.

To read the complete press release online, click here.

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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).

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 gary@ravepubs.com or for editorial ideas: Editor-in-Chief Sara Abrons at sara@ravepubs.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 https://www.ravepubs.com

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Copyright 2013 – rAVe [Publications] – All rights reserved. For reprint policies, contact rAVe [Publications], 210 Old Barn Ln. – Chapel Hill, NC 27517 – 919/969-7501. Email: sara@ravepubs.com

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.