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Universal Remotes News and Information

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

image It didn't take long for Apple's iPad to impact the control and automation category, and now one of the problems that dealers encounter with these devices are non-tech savvy consumers using these devices in ways installers did not intend.

The Garden City Park, N.Y.-based manufacturer Vidabox has an affordable solution that helps to minimize the impact of consumers refreshing iPads when these products are intended for other usages. Vidabox's newly announced iPad Home Button Blocker is a simple solution that installers can employ to restrict access to an iPad2 and third-generation iPad's home button. The product is designed to work with wall-mounted iPads, and when used it allows installers to set up an iPad2 or third-generation iPad as a dedicated control interface.

Vidabox manufactures the iPad Home Button Blocker with glossy acrylic to match the finish of an iPad and the laser-cut frame is engineered to line up with the iPad exactly so it doesn't block the front screen and front camera. Vidabox does provide provisions to access the home button through the inclusion of a pin hole, and the product is available in a choice of black or white to match the color of an iPad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

image At one time the naysayers said the category of web tablets would never take off and be a relevant part of the computing/consumer electronics markets. Thanks to the success however of Apple's iOS platform, as well as the Android operating system, tablets may well be the future of computing as consumers seek out smaller, portable devices that are convenient to their busy lifestyles.

Sony's new Tablet S and Tablet P tablets are engineered to meet specific usage applications of busy consumers. The Tablet S is designed for multimedia activities and it includes a 9.4-inch touchscreen, along with a NVIDIA Tegra 2 mobile processor and it runs on the Android 3.1 operating system (OS). The Tablet P is designed for mobile usage and like the Tablet S, it uses the NVIDIA Tegra 2 mobile processor and Android 3.1 OS platform. Sony says the Tablet P differs from the Tablet S in that it employs a smaller 5.5-inch screen and it was .083 pounds, whereas the Tablet S weighs 1.33 pounds.

Both also include Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile 4G access exclusively through AT&T's mobile broadband network.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

For many years the T-2C remote has been a staple of the RTI product line and recently to ensure its compatibility with the latest generation of home electronics the company updated the unit to reflect the market's latest technologies.

The newly introduced T2-Cs+ from RTI is the latest generation T2-C handheld remote from the popular custom electronics manufacturer and it says some of the freshly added revisions to the remote include a 2.4-inch LCD touchscreen that offers users better image quality and an increased viewing angle, and 128MBs of flash memory along with a 532MHz CPU to bolster the unit's speed and performance.

In addition, RTI utilizes its dual-RF platform to enable the remote to work with traditional 433MHz one-way communication RF signals and the 2.4GHz ZigBee protocol for two-way communication with RTI control processors and third-party products such as music servers, lighting dimmers, HVAC thermostats and RSS feeds to provide users with weather updates, sports transactions and other news items.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

image Whether a user is sitting on a couch in their living room or if they are standing in the middle of a classroom trying to explain the Bill of Rights, nothing is more frustrating than having to go back to a device that wouldn't turn on because of sync issues with the rest of the system.

Xantech Commercial's ISM4 Intelligent System Manager/Controller is engineered to solve these control system sync issues. The device can be used in a residential setting or in a commercial environment such as a classroom or corporate boardroom to manage the control of A/V components to ensure reliable system control. Xantech Commercial says the ISM4 offers visibility of any IR-based component's power state and it automatically issues the correct commands to keep the components in sync with the rest of the system.

The ISM4 monitors the power status of as many as four IR components and it has the capability for another four additional devices. Xantech Commercial has designed the unit with setup control provisions that include IR, RS-232 and manual operation, and it says that electronics professionals can use its Sensor modules for audio, video, CC, AC/DC, current and light sensors to set up full system power monitoring. The solution also sets up without the aid of a PC, and Xantech says through the use of the ISM4's XPS cloning option, installers can duplicate the programming from one unit to another unit.

Monday, March 28, 2011

image Before the release of the original iPad, Apple critics were ready to pounce on a company that's experienced several impressive product debuts, but was positioning itself for a large and public failure with an impending product that's never been successfully launched.

Now, approximately 15 million units later Apple has launched its second-generation iPad product line with the introduction of the iPad2. The new version products builds upon the iPad platform with improvements that include a physical size that's one-third slimmer than the original and upgraded processing through the inclusion of a Dual-Core A5 processor that enables the units to run much faster than the previous versions.

Other features bundled into the iPad2 include front- and rear-facing cameras to support Apple's FaceTime video conferencing/calling platform, HDMI video mirroring functions, Apple's Airplay technology for media streaming, a new iOS 4.3 operating system and the company's new Smart Cover, which automatically turns the iPad2 on or off.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

image These days through the popularity of Apple's iTunes program, as well as the company's iPods and iPhones, music listeners have been conditioned to the convenience of using a number of search tools to find their favorite stored music files quickly and easily.

The Ky.-based company NuVo Technologies has for a long time given its Grand Concerto and Renovia system owners the same type of music searching tools, and now the manufacturer is stepping up to offer owners of its Essentia system the same search parameters. Recently NuVo announced that its dual-gang OLED Control Pad and LCD Color Touch Pad now offer the ability to let users navigate their digital music files by artist, song, album, playlist or genre.

NuVo says that after receiving numerous requests to add the additional search features the company responded to offer its dealer base and their clients the added flexibility of these additional navigation tools.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

image Some people have dubbed 2011 as the year of the tablet. Legitimizing this title are products like the newly announced ViewPad 10 from ViewSonic.

Launched at the just completed CES Show in Las Vegas, the ViewPad 10 offers users a 10.1-inch screen, Wi-Fi connectivity, dual operating systems that includes a choice of Windows 7 or Google's Android 1.6, an Intel Atom 1.66GHz processor and a 1024x600 LED backlit screen.

ViewSonic says that it incorporates dual operating systems to provide users the opportunity to utilize Flash-based programs and Windows programs for work related activities, and the Android operating system for times when mobile entertainment is the priority.

Monday, January 10, 2011

image Jan. 2011 was quite a month in the world of universal remote controls. Both Philips and Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI) announced that they were respectfully discontinuing their Pronto and Nevo univeral remote product lines. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons why these companies are leaving the remote category is the proliferation of remote control apps for Apple's iPad and iPhone products.

A good example of the growing array of control apps on the market can be found in Utah, where Orem-based Vantage just launched its new iPad and iPhone control apps. Vantage says the Apple products' inclusion of Wi-Fi and 3G support, along with their touchscreen design make them a logical choice to use as universal control interfaces, and that they can be used to control everything from a home's A/V and lighting systems, to a home's security and HVAC systems.

The iPhone and iPad apps work seamlessly with Vantage's Digital Music Manager music server to enable users to manage their music collections, which includes the ability to build queues and playlists, and the app is available in Apple's iTunes' App Store.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

image Universal Remote Control (URC) created quite the stir at this year's just concluded CEDIA show when it introduced a line of multirooom audio equipment. Flying under the radar however, was the company's introduction of a new line if IP surveillance cameras that can be combined with the company's control devices.

The company says the new IP cameras can be controlled with its line of Total Control remotes, keypads and touchscreens, as well as from any Web browser to allow for long distance, remote access. URC adds the cameras are also designed for a variety of applications, which include wired and wireless installations, and they are supported with a full line of accessories to enable installers to place them nearly anywhere.

Summarizing the three cameras, URC says the MC-70VC offers a CMOS sensor, a 4~10,000 Lux operation, live video up to 30fps at a VGA resolution and an optional PoE adapter for unique installations. The MC-73CB is described as a box-like camera and the last of the three cameras is the MC-75CD, which the company says is built with a vandal-proof, weatherproof dome that allows installers to use it outdoors. Both the MC-73CB and the MC-75CB incorporate Super HAD CCD sensors, D1 resolutions (720x480) at 30fps and are usable in situations such as .03 Lux for color and 0.002 Lux for mono feeds.

Friday, September 17, 2010

image These days there seems like there's an app for everything. Go to the iTunes store and you're likely to see apps for everything from diapers to sound analyzers.

Adding to that diversity is WallWizard's new companion Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch control app. The optional app allows homeowners to control their motorized WallWizard mounts via their Apple products, as well as other smart phone products.

The add-on control accessory is a two-piece solution that includes the company's proprietary ControlWand software application, which provides permission to download the $10 control app, and the $120 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth hardware component that is sold exclusively through the company's authorized dealer network.

Once the app and hardware are installed in a home, users can toggle through the "Auto," "Manual" and "Gyro" control modes, and if the user chooses the "Gyro" mode, all they'll need to do to adjust the placement of their mounted television is move their smart phone.

Monday, August 09, 2010

image With Apple, Inc. continuing to innovate on the mainstream level of consumer electronics, its products are finding ways into the specialty custom electronics market through the industry's acceptance of its hardware and software solutions.

The latest company adopting Apple's technologies to drive the use of its custom-oriented product line is Remote Technologies Incorporated (RTI). RTI's new RTiPanel App for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad enables users to control their RTI XP series of remote processor components, including the Minn.-based company's flagship XP-8 processor and its XP-6 and XP-3 products.

RTI says installers can configure the customizable user interface by using its Integration Designer programming software to facilitate the control of their clients' A/V, HVAC, security and home automation devices.

Monday, July 26, 2010

image The N.Y.-based control company Universal Remote Control (URC) has just released two new modules that it says will enable custom installers to offer energy management to their clients.

URC says the TED 5000 energy management modules are accessible from its URC Tool Box dealer Web site area, and that the modules work with its Network Series controller products: the KP-4000, MX-5000 and MX-6000.

The apps are engineered to work with Energy, Inc.'s TED (The Energy Detective) energy monitoring system, and with the apps, homeowners will be able to check the status of their energy consumption, including their kW (kilowatt) usage and they'll be able to project their daily and monthly energy usage.

In addition to the TED 5000 apps, URC says that authorized custom electronics professionals can also download many other control apps from its URC Control Room site where the Tool Box resides.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

image One of the great things about flat-panel televisions is that they fit in places that old CRT televisions don't. These placement options allow homeowners to find creative ways to integrate a television into their homes without adding stress to their lives.

Helping to facilitate this these integration possibilities are products like Cabinet Tronix's new Coastal Elements line of TV lift products.

Included in that line of products is the company's Le Bloc Ebony Macassar (LEM) television lift. This lift is available with options such as a universal television mount and a universal remote control. Backed by a five-year warranty, the lift can be placed in places like at the foot of a bed, in the center of a room or against the wall, and homeowners can control the unit through its integrated IR/RF remote control signal repeater system.

The product also includes two HDMI inputs to allow homeowners to connect devices like their cable/satellite boxes and Blu-ray players.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

image It's no longer debatable how greatly the huge company Apple Inc has impacted the relatively small custom electronics market.

The company's iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad touch products are revolutionizing how the electronics industry approaches component and system control.

Traditional custom installation equipment manufacturers like BitWise are taking advantage of Apple's technologies to offer installers market competitive solutions that leverage these Apple products.

BitWise's new iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad app can be used in tandem with its Project Editor software and BC4X1 Pro Automation Controller to control an end user's A/V equipment, home theater, business conference room system and automation system.

The free app is available for download on Apple's iTunes Web site and it can be used to address retrofit and new construction system installations.

Monday, May 10, 2010

image It would be great for CE Pros if every client could afford, a powerful, flexible remote control solution that could do anything a homeowner would ever need.

Many consumers however, cannot afford to step up into those advanced products and often they are stuck with having to settle for an inferior device that doesn't meet their basic needs.

Universal Remote Control's (URC) Super Remote SR3 is a retail level product that is designed to fill that void for just $25, and according to the N.Y.-based company, it can replace up to three standard remote control products.

In the world of custom and specialty electronics the remote can be used as an affordable secondary remote for installations such as kids' rooms, dens and kitchens. The IR remote is programmable and it includes exclusive URC control options, such as MacroPower and SimpleSound, which manages the power settings and volume levels of the devices the remote is controlling.

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