Press Release

Product Briefs:  CalMan Update; URC DoorBird Module; AVAD Adds Planar; Autonomic Wall Smart Kit

Keep checking back for CE Pro's brief product and company news in custom electronics.


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

 

February 22

The latest version of CalMAN is now available for download.  The new version is called CalMAN 2016 Rev 2. (Internal version number 5.7.2.)
 
The new CalMAN features  support for new meters, including the JETI 150, as well as new pattern generators such as Rohde & Schwartz, new LUT boxes, and more displays. 

SpectraCal says the new version of its software contains a new license key manager that is both easier to use and much more secure than the previous licensing scheme.  The company says that if existing owners have a current CalMAN license they should shouldn’t experience any change.  The new CalMAN will update automatically to the new system upon installation. 

The new system also contains a license portal you can access to see your license information at any time, and it includes provisions for high dynamic range (HDR). 


URC, a manufacturer of smart home automation and control technology, has announced the release of the DoorBird two-way module for its URC Total Control system.

The N.Y.-based company says the module enables full IP control of integrated DoorBird door stations, including doorbell ring and motion sensor activated functions, as well as open door and turn on night vision commands.

"DoorBird is the perfect integration partner to show off the robust capabilities of the URC Tabletop Touchscreen Controller (TDC-7100) and In-Wall Touchscreen (TKP-7600)," says Doug Cole, senior vice president and general manager, URC. "These two new 7-inch color touchscreens were designed with door station integration in mind, including built-in audio/video intercom, camera, microphone and speaker features."

URC adds that with DoorBird, customers never miss a visitor. The door station enables homeowners to be at home even when they are away. With the product homeowners can talk to visitors immediately via their smart device from anywhere, and the solution offers night vision, cloud-recording, echo and noise cancellation, network connectivity via Wi-Fi or PoE.


AVAD LLC, a national distributor serving the residential and commercial custom installation markets, has announced the addition of Planar to its product lineup. AVAD states that Planar provides dealers with feature-rich, customizable video walls and digital display solutions.

“We’re very excited to announce a strategic partnership with AVAD,” says Nick Begleries, director of channel sales, North America for Planar Systems. “Our partnership will help us deliver our best-in-class, digital signage solutions to a targeted set of VARs and integrators. AVAD's strong relationships with a unique set of AV resellers and a comprehensive understanding of these partners’ diverse needs will increase exposure to Planar’s unique, digital signage solutions and access to the growing list of applications that require them.”

Planar, a Leyard company, is best known for its sleek LCD video walls, fine-pitch LED video walls, multi-touch large format 4K LCD displays and transparent OLED displays.


February 21

Autonomic, a manufacturer of whole-house music systems, which was recently acquired by SnapAV, has announced that flush mount kits for its KP-6 keypad (both single and double gang installations) are now available from Wall-Smart. Wall-Smart’s concept is to create flush mount kits that achieve the perfectly coordinated blend of electronics and décor demanded by installers, interior designers and their clients. Wall-Smart’s flush mounts can be painted to match any wall color scheme. The Wall-Smart solutions for Autonomic were on display at ISE 2017 in Amsterdam.    

The KP-6 keypad from Autonomic, available in white or black, provides users with instant access to basic features of their Mirage Audio Systems without having to open an app. Users of the KP-6 keypad have access to power on/off, volume, source and track-skip—as well as four user-programmable preset buttons. Once content has been curated using the Mirage Media Controller app for iOS or Android devices, users can simply press and hold to store that programming as a preset. 


February 20

James Loudspeaker, a manufacturer of entertainment products for residential and commercial applications, has redesigned the mounting system for its QXC series of architectural speakers. The California audio manufacturer says the redesigned mounting system makes it easier for integrators to secure them in place. 

The new QXC loudspeakers utilize a lightweight aluminum frame with semi-circular clamps that attach to the ceiling or wall surface using stainless steel hardware. Once the frame has been secured with speaker mounting screws in place, the QXC speaker simply rotates into position using the provided keyhole shaped receptacles in the speaker’s mounting flange. This methodology eliminates the need for the installer, often perched precariously on a ladder, from having to balance the speaker while simultaneously holding tools and hardware.

James says that dealers interested in the mounting process can view an QXC series installation video here


Key Digital, a manufacturer of professional distributed video and control system equipment, has announced its Compass Alliance Partnerships with commercial and pro A/V manufacturers. 

Compass Control is a fully integrated control system designed to use iOS and Android devices as its backbone. Key Digital in conjunction with Compass Control’s Compass Alliance Partners (CAP) has created a fully integrated control system with driver support for hardware from the following brands: Ashly, Autonomic, Biamp, Bose, CasaTunes, Converging Systems, dbx, Denon, Digital Watchdog, Honeywell, Leviton, Lutron, MechoSystems, Nest, Russound, Sonos, TiVo, and more. 

Compass Control is currently comprised of three main components: The Compass Control Software License (KD-ProCL1/4/6/8), the Compass Control Master Controller (KD-MC1000), and the Compass Control App, which is available in the App Store on iTunes.


Earlier this year, Ihiji announced its Vendor Insights Program (VIP), VIP Plus (VIP+), Device Visibility Protocol (DVP), and Device Visibility Service (DVS). At ISE 2017, the company announced these inaugural VIP partners:

  • Acurus - Indy Audio Labs
  • American Power Conversion (APC)
  • AudioControl
  • Panamax by Core Brands
  • Russound
  • Sony
  • SurgeX
  • WhyReboot

Ihiji VIP partners gain a better understanding of how their devices are performing while VIP+ partners gain deeper insights into how products are used in the field through newly expanded data analytics solutions provided by Ihiji. 

Ihiji calls its Device Visibility Protocol "the first-and-only standard allowing smart-home vendors and their dealers to gain rich insights about their installed hardware."

The company says: The innovative protocol, developed by Ihiji engineers, is easy for manufacturers to implement in all network-based products to ensure robust and reliable monitoring capabilities. What’s more, it ensures the product and engineering teams will only have to implement one remote monitoring protocol across all of the manufacturer’s devices. The Ihiji team works closely with the partners’ product managers and engineers to assist in the design and implementation of the DVP. "


February 17

AVAD LLC, a national distributor serving the residential and commercial custom installation markets, has announced the addition of Onkyo and Integra as new vendor partners.

Onkyo specializes in premium home cinema and audio equipment. An extensive line of Onkyo products, including receivers, separates,  and other devices are now available from AVAD. In addition, Onkyo’s popular Integra line, which is a premium audio/video line of components designed for custom installation applications is now exclusively available through distribution from AVAD.  

“Onkyo USA is excited to partner with AVAD in the distribution of both the Onkyo and Integra product lines” said Joe Petrillo, Vice President of Sales & Business Development.  “Partnering with AVAD, one of North America’s premier AV solutions providers specializing in residential and commercial integration was a natural evolution for us as our business continues to expand.” 


February 16

 Audyssey, a developer of audio solutions for the consumer electronics market, has announced the company’s technologies are being used by Toshiba Client Solutions, Co., Ltd. (Toshiba) to improve audio performance in its latest generation of dynabook notebook computers. Audyssey’s audio technologies are presently integrated in the dynabook T75 & T85 models sold in Japan, and the T45 & T55 models that will be sold in Japan at the end of February 2017, with the possibility of extending into new product lines.

“Audyssey’s technologies increased the bass while keeping the sound natural, realized distortion-less clear sound and provided a realistic experience through spatial sound enhancement,” says Gen Watanabe, senior manager of client product development, global product management division, Toshiba. “The company’s acoustical engineers worked closely with our design team to customize their software solution that efficiently maximizes hardware output, enabling us to deliver a premium listening experience.”


AudioControl, a manufacturer of audio solutions for the residential, commercial and automotive markets, has announced that Monitor Audio has been added to its Sound Partners Program (SPP). The AudioControl SPP was established as a cooperative initiative with architectural speaker manufacturers in order to implement optimized performance profiles as defined by each brand’s engineers. These profiles, when stored in the DSP onboard the AudioControl Director M-Series of high-performance eight and 16-channel amplifiers, creates a whole-house entertainment/commercial audio platform for professional integrators.

DSP profiles are now available for Monitor Audio CLG140 and CLG160 garden speakers and the company's recently unveiled IV140 in-wall/in-ceiling architectural speaker system. Integrators using both AudioControl DSP-enabled Director M-Series amplifiers with any of these Monitor Audio loudspeaker models will be able to take advantage of the DSP profiles, as well as the fine-tuning capabilities of these amplifiers to deliver the best possible entertainment experience for their clients. 

“We are excited to work with the team at Monitor Audio and welcome them as new members of our Sound Partners Program,” says AudioControl CEO Alex Camara. “The SPP provides professional integrators with the tools they need to differentiate themselves in a competitive market while delivering superb sound quality to their clients.”


February 14

Capitol, a national distributor serving residential  and light commercial contractors, is expanding its selection of control options with the addition of Pro Control smart home solutions.

Pro Control, a division of Remote Technologies, Inc., (RTI) is an award-winning manufacturer of innovative home control products. The company’s programmable remote controls, professional-grade control systems, and accessories provide advanced control solutions for professionally installed entertainment systems.

“With every evolutionary and revolutionary improvement we see in smart home and A/V technology, we see a greater need for control options to satisfy a wide variety of installation and customer experience scenarios,” says Curt Hayes, president and CFO, Capitol Sales. “Pro Control’s product selection features solutions for every installation, which continually makes it a favorite among our customers.”


With demand growing worldwide for high-fidelity music content and playback through mobile devices, Cirrus Logic has introduced the low power CS43130 MasterHIFI digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with headphone amplifier. The CS43130 DAC features a proprietary Non-Oversampling (NOS) emulation mode, which the Austin, Texas-based silicon company says is, "believed by many audiophiles to contribute to the emotion of audio by providing a similar feeling as valve amplifiers or vinyl records. It offers listeners a natural, euphonic sound missing from modern consumer products."

The Cirrus Logic CS43130, as well as the DAC-only CS4399 for professional audio, uses 512 individual DACs per channel in an analog/digital filter array to deliver what the Texas company says is the highest grade reproduction of high bandwidth, high resolution digital audio sources. .

“Smartphone OEMs worldwide are accelerating product development efforts to give consumers a better listening experience that takes advantage of the growing accessibility to high resolution streaming and downloadable music content,” says Carl Alberty, vice president of audio products marketing, Cirrus Logic. “Our customers and market leaders recognize the value and legacy of the combined Cirrus Logic and Wolfson Microelectronics audio engineering expertise, and our new high-fidelity products, such as the CS43130 DAC, deliver audio quality so true that it’s almost like being in the recording studio with the artist.”


Key Digital, a popular manufacturer of technology solutions for HDTV applications, has announced a partnership with The BIG Corp - Baker International Group.

Founded by Pete Baker, The BIG Corp is a full service sales and marketing representative and consulting firm dedicated to providing unmatched brand development and global expansion support to our customers in the consumer electronics industry.

“We are excited to partner with The BIG Corp, to help us grow distribution in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand," states Michael Lakhter, COO, Key Digital.

Baker adds that he is excited to work with the N.Y.-based company.

“Key Digital is a well-established and respected innovator of award winning video distribution and related solutions. The BIG Corp is very proud to be partnered with such a legendary brand and talented team at Key Digital," says Baker. 


ProSource, a national audio, video and integration buying group announced today the addition of Windy City Wire to its vendor lineup. Windy City Wire, headquartered in Bolingbrook, Ill., has been in business since 1994, with 17 stocking locations nationally.

"Windy City Wire’s solutions are developed on the principal of bringing significant value to our members in terms of time and labor savings on the job site. In addition, their culture is ideal for our membership - they love what they do, and their team is passionate and fun," says Andy Orozco, director of business development, ProSource.  “We will be introducing Dan Hughes and his team at the upcoming ProSource Summit.”

The ProSource Summit runs March 5 – 8 at The World Marriott Center in Orlando, Fla. 


February 13

DISH will deliver live in 4K Ultra HD the natural history series, "Planet Earth II." Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the series will simulcast on BBC America, AMC and SundanceTV on Saturday, February 18, with subsequent episodes airing on BBCA every Saturday night. 

DISH is also offering an exclusive free preview of BBC America, from February 14 through March 30, giving customers access to Planet Earth II in both 4K and HD at no extra cost.

“It’s been more than 10 years since the world was first wowed by the original Planet Earth, and the second installment promises to deliver unmatched detail in crystal clear 4K resolution,” says Vivek Khemka, executive vice president and chief technology officer, DISH. “We’ve heard our customers ask for more 4K content, so we’re making every effort to deliver this programming to households as its availability grows.”

BBCA president, Sarah Barnett points out the series will provide Dish customers with the best possible way to see natural beauty through Ultra HD 4K technologies.

“The breathtaking visuals in Planet Earth II are nothing short of astounding. We are delighted to partner with DISH in bringing audiences this groundbreaking series in 4K, allowing viewers to get even closer to some of earth’s most incredible creatures and gorgeous landscapes,” she notes.

"Planet Earth II" is a sequel to the 2006 original program, and it is an immersive exploration of the islands, mountains, jungles, grasslands, deserts and cities of the world. 

The series will air on consecutive Saturdays from February 18 through March 25
 in 4K on DISH channel 540, and in HD on BBCA channel 135. "Planet Earth II" is available to DISH customers with a Hopper 3 and 4K TV.


February 8

The networking company Luxul has announced firmware updates for its AMS-1208P, AMS-2616P, AMS-4424P and XMS-2624P network switches. The new 4.0.7 firmware update includes two minor changes, according to the company, and they primarily affect users of HD over IP video systems.

Luxul adds the upgrade is optional for those not supporting HD over IP systems.

To download the update click here


VIZIO, Inc., has announced a new firmware update for select VIZIO SmartCast E-Series Ultra HD Home Theater Display models to enable HDR10 compatibility with existing HDR Blu-ray players from Samsung (UHD-K8500) and Philips (BDP7501/F7), as well as PS4 and Xbox One S game consoles.

VIZIO states that it is also working on expanded support for additional players as they become available in the market. E-Series models receiving the added bonus of HDR10 firmware range from the 55 inch to 70 inch class sizes, and the manufacturer adds, these products are available nationwide through its dealer network. 

To benefit from HDR content on Ultra HD Blu ray discs and game consoles, VIZIO SmartCast E-Series users can enable the HDR10 update by first ensuring their display is connected to the Internet. The display will then automatically search for the new firmware update and then begin downloading to the display. Once the display has been updated, to enable HDR playback from a HDR-enabled UHD Blu-ray player or game console, the company instructs dealers to open the VIZIO SmartCast remote control app, tap "Settings" and press "Inputs" then "HDMI Color Subsampling" and then enable subsampling for the HDMI port the HDR-enabled Blu-ray player is connected to.


With the launch of Eric Church’s Stagecoach concert,vantage.tv is the first company to release a full-length virtual reality concert, and this is first show that uses DTS' Headphone:X technology to deliver an immersive sound experience.

The concert, which is Eric Church’s entire set from Stagecoach 2016, is a high-quality stream featuring eight cameras, and it provides the ability to switch between multiple camera angles to take viewers on stage with the band; to the front row, and in the crowd.

DTS states that more than one hour of concert footage in surround sound is available to anyone with an Android phone via Google Cardboard. The concert is also available with standard DTS Sound through the vantage.tv app on iOS with Google Cardboard, as well as on Gear VR through the Oculus store (Headphone:X will be live in the next few weeks).


February 7

SpeakerCraft from Core Brands has announced an update to its multiroom audio software that adds streaming audio services, a new streamlined user interface, and a dynamic zone grouping feature to its six-source, six-zone MRA664 system.

“SpeakerCraft's new software refresh makes multiroom audio even easier for installers to configure, and simpler for homeowners to use,” Tom McKeon, software product manager, Core Brands. “The new features introduced in this software update truly make the platform more user-friendly than ever. And, as a free software update, it enables any existing SpeakerCraft MRA664 system to easily upgrade to include them.”

The software’s new built-in streaming services include Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora and other popular Internet radio services. These new services unlock a seventh source in the MRA-664 chassis that drives the multiroom ecosystem’s six zones of audio, expandable to 12 with a second chassis. Additionally, the dynamic zone grouping feature allows family members to instantly group media zones on-the-fly, perfect for party mode or when the entertainment moves from room to room.


February 6

Capitol, a distributor serving the residential and light commercial industries, now offers Google Home, a voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant.

“The Google Assistant on Google Home is the best example of how artificial intelligence [AI] technologies are revolutionizing the Connected Home experience at every level,” says Curt Hayes, president and CFO, Capitol. “As we’ve seen with Android, Chrome and the world’s most popular search engine, Google is more than adept at conquering every category it enters, and this will only spell success for Connected Home dealers and custom specialists.”

With the Google Assistant, Google Home provides hands-free help while also featuring an integrated high-excursion speaker for enjoying music and more.


Cleerline Technology Group, manufacturers of the SSF line of fiber optic cables and connectivity products, has just launched a new website that will support A/V professionals better than ever the company says. 

Designed to offer in-depth information about Cleerline's full line of fiber optic products, including a wide variety of cable constructions, fiber connectors, and termination and testing tools, this new website helps A/V professionals has the necessary tools and information to build a system of any size. 

Cleerline Technology Group's new site also shares a comprehensive array of educational resources, from white papers to instructional videos, to arm dealers with the knowledge to aid their installations and product selection.

"We know from both our time in the field and constant communication with today's integrators that determining exactly what each project requires and why can be the biggest hurdle for A/V professionals on a daily basis. By giving everyone who is part of the design and installation of a system a complete tool box of information, from product specs to guidelines on what will work best in a given application, Cleerline is even better positioned to support integrators from start to finish on any size project," says Ryan Prentice principal, Cleerline Technology Group.


More than 10 years ago NAD Electronics introduced its Modular Design Construction (MDC) architecture system. MDC was designed on the premise that installers could upgrade their clients' NAD A/V receivers and A/V processors as new technologies emerge. With NAD’s continuing commitment to the MDC architecture, Custom Installers can provide their clients with the unique offering of renowned NAD amplification and the assurance that their investment will not become outdated.

Available immediately, NAD is now offering two new MDC 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) video modules: the MDC VM300 (MSRP $599) for the M17, T 187, T 787 and T 777, and the MDC VM130 (MSRP $499) for the T 758. The MDC VM300 and MDC VM130 brings installers' clients the latest Ultra HD video, including HDMI 2.0b, High Dynamic Range (HDR) with full 4K at 60fps, 4:4:4 color resolution and HDCP 2.2. Using the very latest 4K video chipsets, each supports 60 frames per second (4K/60 @ 4/4/4) to fully support all current and future UHD formats. 

In addition, both the VM300 and VM130 are BluOS Ready and can be enabled with the optional BluOS Upgrade Kit (MSRP $199) to provide Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and BluOS high-resolution audio streaming. BluOS is the operating system and music management software developed by NAD’s sister brand, Bluesound. NAD points out that custom installers can add up to 64 zones of BluOS Enabled high-resolution Audio music players to create high resolution audio multiroom systems that can be controlled from a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. BluOS is also designed to seamlessly integrate with Control4, Crestron SIMPL, RTI, Push, and URC professional home control systems.


BluOS, the high-resolution wireless whole-house audio platform shared by Bluesound and NAD Electronics, has expanded its list of supported control systems. The platform already supports Control4 and RTI, and now through the addition of Crestron SIMPL and Push, and a new beta driver for URC, the whole-house audio operating system will shortly be able to integrate into systems from these manufacturers.

The Control4 driver was recently updated with the release of version 2.6, adding new features like auto on/off, mini driver support, keypad connections and event programming. It also improved the Spotify experience and cleaned up some minor bugs. The newest RTI driver, which was just announced in January features a number of two-way commands, including automatic detection of players, metadata retrieval, music player controls, among other features. Meanwhile, the upcoming URC beta driver will feature numerous one-directional commands.                                                                                                                                 

“We are committed to defining the future of hi-fi in a connected home,” says Greg Stidsen, Director of Technology and Product Planning for Lenbrook International, parent company for NAD Electronics and Bluesound. “Complete interoperability across all the leading control systems will be key for us moving forward.”


February 3

Product content from Denon and Marantz (D+M), a world leader in high-quality home entertainment and advanced audio technologies, is now available on the SpringDeck platform as well as the SpringDeck Lite app to use during sales presentations. This includes access to updated product content from the popular HEOS wireless multiroom sound system. The Lite app hardcoded with D+M product is available as an exclusive free download to dealers from their D+M representative or SpringDeck directly.

“We are committed to our dealers and providing them with the best tools available to make them successful. The SpringDeck Lite app is a powerful and innovative platform that will provide the latest product information to our dealer network and we are excited to be partnering with them,” says Paul Belanger, global business team leader – Custom Integration for D+M Group. 


StreamUnlimited, a provider of software solutions and modules for connected audio products, has announced a partnership with Summit Semiconductors to support home theater and mobile applications. StreamUnlimited will port Summit Semiconductor’s Wi-Fi compliant software for multichannel audio to the Stream770 and Stream810 Chromecast built-in modules.
 

The technology from Summit Semiconductors will enable the StreamUnlimited Wi-Fi based modules to support up to a full 7.1 home theater solution with fixed low latency for video and audio synchronization, while maintaining tight speaker synchronization and eliminating sound field distortion.


February 1

Skywalker AV Supply, a national custom integration distribution, has announced an agreement with Veto Pro Pac to distribute its products. Veto Pro Pac specializes in designing “tool bags that work” for the professional tradesman. Skywalker AV explains the tool bags are designed with the company’s patented center panel and hinged ergonomic handle. The products feature vertically tiered pockets and d-rings to provide increased organization and storage.

Skywalker AV adds the products also include marine-grade rivets and snaps, a rugged construction, and a durable waterproof base. The national distributor adds the products are covered by a five-year warranty.

“At Skywalker AV Supply we pride ourselves by providing the highest quality and selection of electronics equipment for their installs – as well as the gear and tools to get the job done,” says Bob Holliday, national sales manager of Skywalker AV Supply. “The Veto Pro Pac line is the perfect fit for our dealers; exceptional, marine-grade construction, all backed by a 5 year warranty.”


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