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Friday, January 20, 2012

image Bang & Olufsen (B&O) is one of the most recognizable and unique manufacturers in the entire world of consumer electronics, and the Danish company is well known for its sleek industrial designs and pursuit of high performance.

The company's new BeoSound 5 digital music system is the company's latest product and it enables homeowners in new construction or existing structures to enjoy the benefits of whole-house audio without the need to pull cables. The BeoSound 5 incorporates B&O's proprietary playlist technologies, as well as a built-in CD ripper that allows homeowners to rip their CD collections into a digital library for easy access and management.

In addition, the BeoSound 5 can be used with one of the company's Encore components to create a whole-house audio system that employs wireless technologies to transmit audio and control signals. The BeoSound 5 can be wall mounted, stand mounted or it can be used as a tabletop unit.

Friday, December 16, 2011

image With the home entertainment market rapidly adopting computer-based technologies, there is an increasing amount of ways in which electronics professionals can introduce their clients to the benefits of a digitally based whole-house A/V solution.

Recently the New york-based manufacturer Autonomic announced that it has redesigned its MMS-2 server. Externally the company redesigned the appearance of the unit by rounding the curves of the component to make sleeker and more compact. Internally the company added a new, faster processor and a choice of Toslink and HDMI outputs.

Autonomic also says it has bolstered the product by adding Amazon Cloud compatibility to go along with MP3 Tunes and iCloud options. In addition, the company is also working with Savant to ensure compatibility with the Cape Cod-based company's App Programming Interface (API) to enable the product to seamlessly integrate into Savant's control and automation systems. Autonomic already offers modules for compatibility with solutions from AMX, Control4, Crestron, RTI, URC, and Apple iOS devices.

Monday, October 24, 2011

image Whether its anecdotal evidence from electronic industry events like CEDIA or the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) or hard statistics from sources like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), there's no questioning the rising popularity of the digital audio category.

Helping to facilitate the integration of computer and audio components are new products like Straight Wire's USB-LINK USB cable that provides electronics professionals with a solution that supports connections between computers, digital-to-analog converters (DACs), music servers and other devices.

Straight Wire employs its Compressed Conductor Technology (CCT) with silver-plated conductors to help the cable to deliver high-resolution data bit-rates accurately. Through the use of the CCT silver conductors Straight Wire says the cables are able to minimize strand jumping, while maintaining the conductivity benefits of silver. Straight Wire adds the cables' data and power paths have lower resistance ratings than standard cables to support longer cabling runs without a loss in performance.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

image Apple receives a lot of publicity for its iPhones, iPad, Apple TV and iTunes products, and because of that it's almost easy to overlook that the company also manufactures several computer product lines.

This past May the Cupertino, Calif.-based company introduced its latest series of all-in-one iMac computer products. The new iMac line of computers utilizes Intel's quad-core i5 processors and Apple offers options to upgrade the processor to 3.4GHz Core i7 units. Other features bundled into the product line include AMD Radeon HD graphics processors; new FaceTime HD cameras and software that supports HD video communication between computer users and iPhone 4 and iPad2 owners, and the company's new Thunderbolt input/output technology that offers bi-directional data transfer capabilities at speeds up to 10Gbps each way.

The OS X Snow Leopard-based iMac is available in a choice of 21.5- or 27-inch screen sizes and three basic configurations: A 21.5-inch model that includes a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics card and 500GB hard drive. A 27-inch model with a 2.7-inch Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics card and 1TB hard drive. The other 27-inch model incorporates an Intel 3.1GHz Core i5 with an AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card and 1TB hard drive.

Monday, February 14, 2011

image In the world state-of-the-art audio/video connected services are all the rage.

N.J.-based Crestron Electronics has taken its digital multimedia ADMS system and added these increasingly popular Web sources to the ADMS' feature set to provide homeowners with a bigger, more diverse choice of entertainment options. The company says the new ADMS Intermedia Delivery System now includes Web connectivity to sites like ESPN, CNN, ABC News, the NFL, the NBA, Fox News and MSN.

This multimedia content joins Crestron's existing list of content choices that includes Netflix, Hulu, Netflix, iTunes and Youtube, and as an additional measure, the company now also offers Sony's 400 Disc Blu-ray/DVD ES MegaChanger (CEN-CX7000ES) to further diversify the choice of content a homeowner has to entertain themselves through the installation of a Crestron home entertainment system.

Crestron says the system can be controlled with Crestron touchpanels and remotes, as well as iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches and Android devices.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

image A number of years ago Kaleidescape popularized the concept of a living room-based media server product when it introduced its line of media server products, which leveraged commercial IT technologies and a proprietary, easy-to-use interface.

Fast forward to December 2010 and the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company is back at it again. Earlier this month the company introduced its new lower-cost Cinema One entertainment server, which will carry a MSRP of $5,000, and it's designed to provide installers with an out-of-box solution that instantly provides homeowners with a device capable of storing and managing their movie collections.

The Cinema One replaces the company's Mini System and it is capable of storing as many as 225 DVDs or 2,500 CDs. In addition, Kaleidescape says that the system is designed to accommodate family usage through features like the inclusion of a kid's remote control that when used, automatically switches to a simplified interface to enable children to easily navigate their media collections.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

image With the sales of digital music soaring and the amount of music streaming websites literally increasing everyday consumers are looking for more ways to integrate their new music and audio consumption habits into solutions that work with their current lifestyles.

Bryston's new BDP-1 Digital Music Player is a component that allows music listeners to connect any USB-based storage device, including hard drives and thumb drives to play music files with resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz, and through the implementation of a Linux-based operating system that's been written specifically for the playback of audio files, users can enjoy a quality digital music listening experience.

The BDP-1 also incorporates an industrial-grade motherboard, along with a Bryston soundcard, and AES-EBU balanced and BNC (SPDIF) output section to ensure the highest level of sound delivery. In addition, the company points out that the unit does not employ a switch-mode power supply, CD ripping functions, an internal music streaming circuit, hard drive, fan or DACs. According to the Canadian high-performance audio manufacturer, the elimination of these components allows the BDP-1 to operate quietly.

Friday, October 22, 2010

image It seems like everyday the lines between traditional audio, video, analog and digital home entertainment becomes more blurred.

Meridian's Media Source 600 is a high-performance audio component that CE Pros can employ to integrate the company's Sooloos products into any two-channel, home theater or multiroom audio system, and the hand-assembled unit provides an array of analog and digital connections to support a variety of usage applications.

The unit can be controlled via any third-party control system; any Sooloos controller, or if the clients' preference lies with Apple, the company offers an iPhone/iPad app.

Friday, October 15, 2010

image These days it's interesting how the polar opposite worlds of analog and digital audio are converging with millions of Americans merging the best attributes of these technologies to form creative ways to listen to music.

Creative Labs, a company's that's been at the forefront of the computer audio movement has recently added to its line of computer-based, THX certified audio components with the release of four new components that are highlighted by the Sound Blaster X-Fi HD device. The Sound Blaster X-Fi HD is a USB audio interface device that can be used in conjunction with a PC to allow users to listen to digital audio files that are stored on their computer, and the ability to rip their vinyl (LP) collections into a digital audio format such as AAC or FLAC.

The product incorporates RCA line outs with 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog (DAC) converters, as well as RCA/phono line inputs that feature 24-bit/192kHz analog-to-digital converters that have a dynamic range of 108dB. In addition, the device also includes Toslink input and outputs, a 1/4-inch microphone input and a 1/4-inch headphone jack.

Creative Labs says the USB powered device is compliant with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 operating systems.

Friday, October 01, 2010

image These days, digital audio is no longer the domain of a college kid sitting in a dorm. Today everyone from the dedicated, hardcore audiophile, to the suburban housewife are downloading music files and storing them on their networks.

Straight Wire, a top manufacturer of cable connectivity products has introduced a new, high-performance USB cable that employs the company's Compressed Conductor Technology (CCT), as well as silver-plated conductors. Straight Wire says the compressed silver conductors minimize strand-to-strand signal jumping, while retaining the benefits of a high-volume silver surface area.

Straight Wire adds this type of construction also enables the cable to provide a lower resistance to allow for more accurate data transmission over longer cable lengths. Straight Wire offers the cables with gold-plated type A and B connectors and it backs the cables with its Lifetime Warranty.

The cable is available in a choice of lengths: 1 meter, 1.5 meter, 2 meter and 3 meters, and the Straight Wire USB-Link 2.0 cable supports full 24-bit/192kHz data rates.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

image It's been said before and it remains true to this day: content is king.

VidaBox's new 4U RackServerV2 is a dedicated media server that installers can set up to distribute Blu-ray, DVD, music, photos and video throughout a home to as many as 10 media extender devices.

The N.Y.-based company offers the server with and without RAID protection, and it can be configured in a number of ways to provide as much as 32TB of storage with the use of one of the company's RackServerV2+Plus expansion units.

VidaBox also equips the server with its 1-Step Drop-n-Rip feature, which enables users to rip unencrypted discs easily, and its DualRip feature, which VidaBox designed for audiophiles. According to the company, the DualRip feature rips CDs in the uncompressed WAV format for playback in a typical home audio system without having the distraction of listening to low resolution audio files and in the MP3 format so the same music can be stored on an Apple iPod.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

image In the world of high-performance home theater Kaleidescape has established its product line as a go-to source component to provide users with an easy and reliable way to manage and playback their music and movie files.

On Sept. 2 the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based manufacturer of residential entertainment servers announced its new iPhone application. Kaleidescape says the app will allow users of its products to more easily shop for movies.

The app scans a DVD or Blu-ray disc barcode and then notifies users if they have that title in their content libraries and what format the video is stored. The app also provides users with information from its Movie Guide feature, which includes movie descriptions; who directed and starred in the movie, aspect ratios, running times and ratings.

Michael Malcom, chairman and CEO of Kaleidescape, says new iPhone app provides users with another tool that enhances their home theater experience. "This new app broadens the value of the rich information in our exclusive Movie Guide by making it available to our customers when they are shopping,” he says.

“It also extends the elegance and simplicity of the Kaleidescape experience beyond the home.”

Kaleidescape dealers and their clients can go to Apple's iTunes web site to download the app.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

image Vaulting ahead of the other media server companies, the N.J.-based Windows Media Center (MCE) company, S1Digital has updated its product line through the addition of 3D video playback, lossless audio and the announcement of its new P250 MCE client.

S1 had addressed its ProLine Series, which includes the S800, P600 and P500 by adding 3D Blu-ray disc playback capabilities and HDMI 1.4 connections.

The company has also added 10 terabytes (10 TBs) of internal storage with six hot-swappable RAID drives, along with the latest Intel Core i7 processor and Microsoft's Windows 7 64-bit operating system (OS) to its flagship S800.

Beyond the 3D options for the P500 and P600, S1 has added DTS Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD lossless audio and HDMI Deep Color video capabilities to its mid-level Media Center machines. On top of those additions, the N.J.-based manufacturer has added RAID-enabled internal storage, Intel Core i5 processors, and the Windows 7 OS to the P500 and P600 to ensure the products' performance.

Rounding out its product line is the P250 client. This unit supports HDMI 1.3, the Dolby and DTS lossless audio formats, 1080p video resolutions, and seamless network access to the company's ProLine Series of products to allow the device to playback Blu-ray, music, videos and photo media.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

image Back in May Qsonix announced a working relationship with Wadia that would help the distribution of its products and the performance of its products.

Six weeks later the company has introduced its Q2 series of products. These new products are said to utilize a new design and they feature digital output designs from Wadia Digital.

Some of the improvements made to the Q2 line include a new enclosure that's highlighted by a machined aluminum front panel. The company has also addressed its user interface and added options like Apple iPad control capabilities.

Improvements made to its audio circuits include the ability to support 24-bit/192kHz uncompressed audio files and a custom designed digital output section from Wadia. The servers offer AES/EBU balanced digital audio, S/PDIF, Toslink and USB digital outputs, as well as four discrete analog output options, hard wired IR connections and the ability to support third-party control systems from companies like Crestron and AMX.

Qsonix also offers the servers with a choice of 1TB or 2TB hard drives, 15 inch or 17 inch touchscreens, built-in support for PC and Apple computers and iPods, iPhones and iPads.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

image With the lines blurred between the world of A/V and traditional networking, products like Pakedge Device's new SW5-GW 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet can serve to facilitate the relationship between Web-based technologies and a traditional A/V system.

The high-speed switch is compact with dimensions of 4.75-inches by 3-inches by 1-inch and when combined with its wall-mounting brackets, installers can place the unit in a choice of spaces to accommodate a client's needs and wishes.

Pakedge says the network compliant, plug-and-play switch is equipped with five auto-speeds sensing 10/100/1000 Mbps ports, and installer friendly features like the ability to negotiate network speeds and duplex to help ensure reliable signal transmission between all connected devices.

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