What's New: Residential Technology
Aug 1, 2005 12:00 PM
Snell Acoustics www.snellacoustics.com
Four new models to the Custom series loudspeaker lineup include three in-wall models — the AMC 730, AMC 770, and AMC 870 (pictured) — and the ICS 1070 in-cabinet model. The new models conform to the sonic characteristics of the equivalent Series 7 models. Each in-wall model is equipped with a 1in. aluminum dome tweeter with ferrofluid cooling and Snell's Directed Power waveguide. To ensure predictable response regardless of placement or wall type, the speakers are placed inside a sealed, aluminum enclosure to define bass response and reduce sound transfer to other rooms.
The usual method of preventing sympathetic vibrations that can damage wallboard, studs, and internal pipes and wires over time is to limit an in-wall subwoofer's output. The ContraBass in-wall subwoofer instead employs an amplifier-driven counterweight system that decreases vibrations by more than 10dB, so that it shakes only the air, not the wall in which it's mounted. The counterweight system is matched to two 10in. Sunfire woofers featuring the High-Back-EMF motor structure and output employed in Sunfire's in-room True Subwoofers. The subwoofer measures 53"×3.5"×14" and includes a 3/4in. internally braced MDF enclosure.
Blonder Tongue Laboratories www.blondertongue.com
The standards-based LightHouse series fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) products are optimized for multiple-dwelling units (MDU), gated communities, and small municipalities. Unlike other FTTH systems, which use a shared media converter architecture for use in very large networks, the LightHouse series transports 10/100BaseT Ethernet and 54MHz-870MHz CATV bandwidth to each premise through one single-mode fiber, which significantly lowers initial capital cost. The system uses a passive optical network (PON) architecture to eliminate the need to install active equipment between the headend and the premise. The FTTH products support advanced services such as VoIP, IP video, VOD, and digital cable.
The VisionDVI video processor enhances the quality of all analog, DVI, and HDMI signal sources for analog and digital high-definition displays with resolutions up to 768p. The processor is equipped with two SD/HD digital inputs and six analog inputs — two of which are SD/HD. It can transcode, process, and output video as either analog or digital signals and accept computer input for switching. The system significantly refines the images presented by plasma monitors, rear-screen TVs, and other big-screen displays. It includes user-adjustable image enhancement and a programmable output resolution from 480p to 768p, plus 1080i.
The Twist LCD swivel mount supports 13in. to 26in. LCDs up to 40lbs. and can be placed virtually anywhere in the home for 360-degree viewing. The mount's glass and acrylic housing is completely transparent, so it doesn't become obtrusive or a focal point. The unit features a 20in.-wide bottom to provide stability and a combination of nylon bearings and spacers for smooth 360-degree rotation.
The DS-A1 receiver provides a complete interface between Onkyo AV components and Apple's iPod. Users can control iPod audio playback and photo display with the receiver's existing remote control, along with basic iPod functions such as play, pause, stop, skip, and shuffle/repeat. Additionally, the dock recharges the iPod batteries while in use. The dock is compatible with most Onkyo components manufactured in the past decade.
Monster's THX Select Certified Subwoofer 200 works with the company's line of high-performance home theater speakers. The subwoofers operate as standalone, low-frequency channels to deliver 5.1 surround-sound audio while complementing existing décor. The systems incorporate a 12in. woofer, a 200Wrms amplifier, and multi-directional bass.
New features and enhancements of the Musica 5066 multi-room audio system include MU5066 in-wall, backlit, amplified keypads and an optional plug-in FM tuner card. The keypads, available in 25W and 50W versions, feature a built-in DSP for five-band EQ and 3D sound control in each zone. When the optional digital FM tuner card is added, it becomes a fifth source available in the room, allowing local FM radio to be broadcast into each individual room in the house. The four-source, six-zone system can be expanded up to six sources (two local) and 18 zones.
Distributed Digital Audio
Colorado vNet www.coloradovnet.com
Using the Distributed Digital Audio System's intuitive LCD touchscreen interface, all family members can easily select and operate a range of playback devices, including cassette decks and CD players. Each zone features one touchscreen amplifier with a 70W digital amplifier, and each source requires one advanced audio encoder, which converts digital and analog to an IP-based, Ethernet-compatible format to deliver crisp, clear sound from a central location. The easy-to-install system can be added to existing audio, Cat-5, and A-Bus wiring. The touchscreen features removable front and back bezel frames and side pieces for easy painting access. An optional desk-stand mount is also available.
Universal Remote Control www.universalremote.com
In addition to buttons controlling important functions, the Aurora MX-950 IR/RF remote control includes 10 buttons that can be given custom labels via a multicolor LCD display that automatically lights when the remote is picked up. Capable of displaying up to 255 pages of custom-labeled buttons, the remote can act as a “Master” remote, with an individual interface for each room in the house. Programmers can assign one function to both left and right buttons for easy operation by left- or right-handed users. The remote features a rechargeable lithium ion battery and charger.
Home Automation Software
The Insteon software development kit is available to enthusiasts as well as professional software developers and includes four core sections: documentation, hardware, membership, and support for the creation of Insteon-based home monitoring and management applications. The Insteon home automation network technology combines existing wiring with RF communications to provide for automatic or remote control of lighting, security, entertainment systems, and climate systems.
Classé Audio www.classeaudio.com
The new Classé CDP-300 plays DVD-Video; DVD-Audio; standard CDs; DualDisc; and discs encoded with MP3, WMA, and AAC audio formats, and handles Video-CD, S-VCD, and JPEG picture discs. It also supports all HDTV resolutions. The player upsamples all audio formats to 24-bit/192kHz prior to D/A conversion. The unit provides six analog audio outputs with single-ended RCA connections and supports front, left, and right outputs in balanced format. Users can access touchscreen control and video preview from its front panel. Other features include a slot-loader mechanism for reading discs, vibration-absorbing feet, a strong and rigid chassis, and a DVD-ROM drive.
The new Ci FDT loudspeaker lies flush with the wall when not in use and features a motorized, flat-panel, high-frequency driver that automatically extends outward to evenly deliver surround effects throughout the room, further enhanced by its natural dipole design. When the audio system is turned on, the high-frequency driver automatically moves to stand perpendicular to the wall. When the system is turned off, the flat-panel driver automatically returns to its flush position. A 5in. bass/midrange cone balances the high-frequency driver's performance and brings warmth and richness to the entire ambient soundfield. The speaker's neutral-colored bezel and grille can be painted to match its surroundings.
Five new in-wall models, the IW series, feature a universal docking bay with a self-adjusting base plate that automatically conforms to any size iPod, eliminating the need for adapter plates. From the IW-1, a basic version with a fixed feature set including unbalanced audio and video, each model offers progressively enhanced feature sets, up to the IW-5, a full-featured unit with balanced video for runs up to 250ft.