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Friday, October 19, 2012

image When the HDMI format was introduced many years ago it was originally designed for the transmission of digital A/V signals over short distances. Through the years cable and connectivity product manufacturers have worked diligently to increase the capabilities of the HDMI format as the protocol has changed and matured.

The New York-based manufacturer Key Digital has been at the forefront of HDMI product technology development through its vast line of matrix switchers, cables, video processors and other solutions. Recently the company added to its selection of signal transmission solutions when it announced its KD-CATHD500 balun that it says is designed to transmit the latest audio and video signals hundreds of feet. The KD-CATHD500 is a copyright friendly, HDCP compliant device that works with 3D video content, as well as 4K video and commercial video resolutions such as 1900x1200. Bolstering the unit's safe and reliable operation is its ability to store 10 internal EDID configurations, including the native EDID information of any input and output product. Highlighting the product's signal transmission capabilities is the KD-CATHD500's ability to send and receive 1080p/60fps video as far as 400 feet, and its ability to transmit and receive 1080i/60fps from as far away as 600 feet.

Key Digital also explains the balun supports the transmission and reception of IR, RS-232 and CEC control signals, and other A/V HDMI protocols such as the 12-bit Deep Color property and the Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio surround sound formats.

Friday, September 28, 2012

image With the HDMI format maturing and both the residential and commercial markets now using the technology more than ever the matrix switcher category has grown exponentially over the past couple of years.

HydraConnect recently introduced a new matrix switcher called the HSS-3 and this 8x8 solution is capable of distributing eight sources to eight zones, and it incorporates HDBaseT to transmit HDMI signals as far as 330 feet. HydraConnect also incorporates its Dynamic 2D/3D technology that is engineered to resolve EDID issues between 2D/3D sources and displays. The company also includes its FlashConnect switching technology that ensures the HSS-3 switches between sources instantaneously without picture loss. Through its inclusion of the CEC protocol the HSS-3 also eliminates the need for IR blasters and other external hardware, and because of its built-in Control4 Composer support, the unit easily integrates into Control4 installations.

Other features offered by the HSS-3 include HDMI 1.4a pass-thru, 36-, 30- and 24-bit Deep Color compatibility, and the matrix switch also works with the lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio surround sound formats.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

image The Soundbar category has quickly risen to become one of the most popular product choices in the consumer audio market. Adding to its array of soundbar choices is the Midwestern audio manufacturer Klipsch which is set to introduce its latest product the HD Theater SB 3 Soundbar.

The HD Theater SB 3 Soundbar is a 2.1 speaker system that includes a wireless subwoofer and a driver array that features a pair of aluminum-dome compression drivers mated to a set of the company's Tractrix horns. The speaker system also incorporates four of the company's 3.5-inch long-throw IMG midrange drivers, and the subwoofer features a 10-inch driver. Internally the HD Theater SB 3 offers Dolby Digital surround sound processing, a choice of analog and digital inputs, and a 3.5mm input to allow homeowners to connect their portable electronics to the speaker.

Klipsch adds the HD Theater SB 3 Soundbar ships with a remote and the system includes provisions for wall mounting.

Monday, September 24, 2012

image As one of the early adopters to the "Apple lifestyle," Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has introduced an array of products that are Apple friendly, including its P3 headphones, MM-1 multimedia speakers and Zeppelin all-in-one speaker systems. Following the footsteps of the company's Zeppelin Air product, B&W has introduced its latest products to incorporate active amplification and Apple AirPlay: the A5 and A7 all-in-one speaker systems.

B&W says the A5 and the A7 allows electronics professionals to set up retrofittable wireless audio systems that incorporate Apple's increasingly popular AirPlay technology. With AirPlay users can wirelessly stream content from their iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches or computers that are running iTunes to these self-contained speaker systems. The flagship A7 incorporates 24-bit/96kHz digital-to-analog convertors (DACs) and a 6-inch woofer that helps the speaker system fill large spaces with sound.

The A5 is a smaller version of the A7 and its smaller footprint allows installers to place the unit in bedrooms, studies and kitchens without taking up too much space within a living space.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

image Ever since the movie industry rebooted the 3D format the electronics industry has been working hard to make sure that consumers can combine their 2D and 3D viewing experiences within a single system. The latest screen solution from the Mesa, Ariz.-based screen company Severtson Screens is the newest product introduced onto the market that is engineered to ensure that residential and business owners can enjoy the best 2D and 3D viewing experience.

The company's new SeVision 3D GX "Micro Perf" screen is a made-in-the-U.S.A. product that incorporates its PristiVue technology that Severtson says enables users to see what a movie's director originally intended them to see in the theater. The 2.4-gain, curved, perforated silver screen can be used for traditional 2D content, as well as passive 3D content, and according to Severtson, the SeVision 3D GX "Micro Perf" screen is also a green friendly product because of its water-based, lacquer-free optical coating.

Severtson says that electronics professionals can order the screen in a variety of configurations, and it adds the screen material can used for consumer and commercial applications.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

image Soundbars have quickly become one of the most important product categories for loudspeaker manufacturers as speaker companies rush to develop products that serve modern consumers. Joining the rapidly expanding fraternity of soundbar manufacturers is the Kan.-based company MartinLogan.

MartinLogan's new Motion Vision soundbar is an all-in-one, multichannel speaker solution that incorporates three of the company's Folded Motion tweeters and four 4-inch woofers that are reinforced by a pair of rear-firing bass ports that can be adjusted plus or minus 10dB. The company adds the multichannel speaker's bass can be augmented with the addition of one of its wireless subwoofers, and that the speaker has provisions to expedite the integration of one of its wireless subwoofers to make the process of adding a subwoofer easy for CE Pros. Internally the Motion Vision soundbar utilizes 100 watts of total amplification and advanced digital signal processing (DSP) that are designed to replicate the immersion of a traditional home theater system.

The Motion Vision soundbar also includes a choice digital optical and coaxial inputs, as well as analog RCA inputs. Martin also points out the speaker's dimmable LED display can be setup to disappear when the speaker is in use. MartinLogan wraps the speaker in a HDTV friendly gloss black trimmed with aluminum accents to help the speaker cosmetically match a variety of flat-panel TVs.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

image The HDMI format has been around for a number of years now and just about every cable and signal transmission product manufacturer in the consumer and commercial electronics market offers some type of HDMI cable. For the longest time the Holy Grail for these HDMI manufacturers has been the launch of an American-made HDMI product.

Nordost, a Mass.-based manufacturer of cables for the high-performance audio and video markets has just launched a new line of made in the U.S.A. HDMI cables that it says are the first U.S.-made cables to hit the market. Nordost says the cables incorporate its proprietary Micro Mono-Filmament, air-space, silver-plated oxygen free, solid-core conductor materials and engineering designs, as well as its twin-axial construction design to ensure consistent performance and reliability. To further ensure the cable's performance, Nordost has also submitted the line of products to DPL Labs and the HDMI cables has received DPL certification for its products up to five meters in length.

Nordost adds the Blue Heaven HDMI cables are compatible with 3D video and all of the products are terminated with gold-plated HDMI connectors to ensure longevity.

Monday, September 10, 2012

image Over the years HDMI cable manufacturers have developed many ways to maximize the HDMI format to allow electronics professionals to use cabling products that perform well beyond the digital format's stated specifications.

Atlona's latest HDMI cable products are a good example of how cable manufacturers are finding creative ways to develop products that exceed the limitations of the HDMI format. The company's new AT-PRO-LCS HDMI cables incorporate RedMere's active signal transmission technologies to eliminate the need for hybrid-based balun solutions to save time and money. Atlona says the line of cables feature integrated circuits that are designed to pass multimedia data at the same rate as the company's traditional flat, high-speed cable products.

The CL2-rated cables are engineered to reliably handle 1080p content, and Atlona says the cables are available in lengths ranging from 20 feet to 50 feet.

Monday, August 20, 2012

image Back in the 1990s, and even in more recent times, many people used dial-up Internet services because the only thing they really needed was access to their AOL and CompuServe email accounts.

Increasingly however with services such as Pandora, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus now accounting for enormous amounts of Internet traffic, home network bandwidth is as important as whatever computers populate those networks. TP-Link's new N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router is designed to backbone the high bandwidth demands that today's homeowner places on their home networks. The competitively priced router incorporates the ability to send and receive data on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency spectrums to enable electronics professionals set up a home with a dedicated 2.4GHz connection for email, web surfing and other standard applications, and a 5GHz-based connection for the streaming of audio and video content from services like Netflix.

TP-LINK says the router also includes two USB ports that can be used to connect printers and other network devices. In total, the company says the N600 incorporates one WAN port and four gigabit LAN ports, as well as encryption options that include a one-button security setup feature.

Friday, August 17, 2012

image During the 2011 CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis the Calif.-based technology company TiVo, Inc., stepped up in a major way to differentiate its products from the video recording products offered by service providers.

At the 2011 trade event the company introduced its TiVo Premiere product and this product provided homeowners with a DVR product that supported multiple recordings and the ability to aggregate a variety of digital media content. This year TiVo is launching its Premiere 4 DVR and the company says this new DVR incorporates the ability to record four programs while watching a fifth, and it can record up to 75 hours of HD content with provisions for additional storage capabilities. Electronics professionals can connect the Premiere 4 to a network via wireless 802.11 N or G; Ethernet or MoCA, and like the original Premiere, it can aggregate a variety of digital media content that includes Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus.

TiVo adds that electronics professionals can integrate the Premiere 4 into control and automation systems from companies like Crestron, Control4 and RTI, and it is engineered to work with cable and Verizon's FiOS service.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

image With the growing use of streaming media and on-demand services consumers are becoming increasingly use to the concept of instant media access. Fusion Research, a manufacturer of home entertainment servers has recently announced a solution that delivers homeowners instant access to their Blu-ray and DVD collections to expand that user experience throughout their media libraries.

The new Premiere movie server is based upon the company's EPIC platform of products and the company says the product is capable of storing as many as 225 DVDs or 45 Blu-ray discs. Fusion says the server has the ability to expand storage to more than 1,000 movies for less than a $500 license fee and electronics professionals can also bolster the unit's storage capabilities by adding external storage. Fusion says the server also incorporates EasyLoad which is an unattended movie loading service for Blu rays and DVDs that enables users to place a disc in the unit's front panel for the importing of that movie whether the Premiere is turned on or off.

Fusion adds the Premiere's functionality can be expanded to a second zone by adding a competitively priced Fusion Zone Player. Fusion products can be controlled through the use of solutions like Control4's two-way IP driver if it's installed with a Control4 control and automation system.

Monday, August 13, 2012

image The British audio company dCS has earned a reputation among the audiophile crowd for producing some of the best digital components in the entire consumer audio category. Recently the company announced its latest digital audio solution, the new Vivaldi Digital Playback System and it says this new system provides music lovers with a reference-quality playback solution that's capable of playing DSD (SACD) and PCM audio signals.

Through its American distributor, the Boston-based company Tempo High Fidelity, the newly released Vivaldi is available in the U.S. and the four-piece system incorporates dCS' Digital-to-Digital Upsampler, CD/SACD Transport, DAC and Master Clock components. The British company says the Vivaldi Digital Playback System incorporates its proprietary dCS Ring DAC Digital Processing Platform and Clocking System technologies and it can handle format resolutions up to DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition) 24-bit/384kS/s.

Among the uses for the Vivaldi Digital Playback System include traditional CD and SACD disc playback, digital upsampling of content from a network with UPnP devices, and the upsampling of audio content stored on Apple iPhones and iPods.

Friday, August 10, 2012

image Between the failings of the new housing market, the expense of long-distance HDMI cabling and other factors, the continued development of wireless HDMI systems couldn't have come at a better time for electronics professionals.

The latest wireless HD transmission solution to enter the market is the newly revamped Knoll Systems' WHD3. Building upon previous versions of its No-Wire HDMI transmission products, the company updated the product with new technologies such as 3D video support and an on-screen display that is said to enable installers to fine tune the performance of the system.

Knoll says the product also supports 1080p and IR control. The company adds the product can be used in retrofit environments and it can also be used in new construction housing.

Friday, August 03, 2012

image Linn Products is one of the great European manufacturers whose roots trace back to the golden audiophile era with products like its iconic Sondek LP12 turntable. In more recent times the company has been active with new technologies, including music servers and Web-based technologies.

The company's latest product is the Kiko music system, and this product offers homeowners a compact, fully integrated preamplifier and amplifier and a pair of speakers all in one package. The amplifier section is rated to deliver 33-watts RMS and it includes features like Apple AirPlay, analog phono inputs, HDMI, Toslink, S/PDIF and HDMI pass-thru, UPnP compatibility, front-panel Aux and headphone inputs for iPods and other devices, Neutrik Speakon loudspeaker connectors and Linn's proprietary Dynamik Switch Mode Power Supply. Linn also says the system is capable of decoding FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, MP3, lossy WMA, AIFF, AAC and OGG files with sample rates as high as 24-bit/192kHz.

With the Kiko system installers can set up their clients to play music from their PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones; music from their home theaters, including Blu-ray players and game consoles, and the system is available in a choice of six colors: "Back to Black," "Blue Monday," "White Lines," "Champagne Supernova," "Silver Hammer" and "Baby Blue."

Monday, July 30, 2012

image Since the demise of the new housing market, the opportunity for electronics professionals to install video in the home has shifted away from expensive large home theaters to affordable, multipurpose rooms that get everyday family use.

BenQ's new EP5920 projector is a solution designed to address those affordable, multi-use scenarios in which families watch TV, game and movies on a regular basis with one singular A/V system. The native 1080p projector utilizes a DLP chipset and it incorporates two HDMI 1.3 inputs and internal processing modes for cinema and gaming applications. BenQ says the projector is engineered to produce high brightness and contrast levels to enable the projector's use in room environments that feature various levels of ambient light.

In addition to its inclusion of multiple HDMI inputs, the EP5920 also includes D-sub, composite, S-video, component, audio in/out mini jack, USB and RS-232 connections.

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