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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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

image It's relatively easy to rack mount A/V receivers, Blu-ray players, cable boxes, etc., but it's another thing to incorporate these devices into a rack and also provide provisions that protect these products from the inherit danger their surroundings could deliver without taking up too much space.

The Fairfield, N.J.-based manufacturer Middle Atlantic is now making that process easier thanks to the release of its new PowerCool Series of integrated power distribution and thermal management products. Middle Atlantic says the PowerCool Series provides custom electronics professionals with a convenient way to save space, time and money by combining power distribution and thermal protection all within a product that takes up just a single rack unit of space. Middle Atlantic adds the products use its multi-purpose quiet blowers with each blower capable of removing 50 CFM of heated air while maintaining airflow in a crowded rack environment.

The product line's power capabilities include multi-stage surge protection with surge status notification, and the company offers the products in a choice of 15- and 20-amp versions, as well as a choice between 10- and 11-outlet models.

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.

Friday, September 21, 2012

image Computer audio is without question one of the hottest categories within the residential audio market. Monitor Audio, a British loudspeaker company well known for its good and affordable line of products is now addressing the computer audio category with the release of its WS100 wireless audio system.

The WS100 system is designed to allow homeowners to play the music that's stored on their computers regardless of whether it's a Mac or PC. The system includes a pair of active, two-way loudspeakers that incorporate on-board amplification and wireless receivers, as well as a USB powered transmitter that distribute the system's wireless audio signals. Monitor says The transmitter works with as many as four pairs of speakers within a 10 meter range to enable authorized Monitor Audio dealers to setup a retrofittable four zone system, and the company also notes that dealers can add another three USB transmitter units to outfit a wireless system with a total of four sources.

Internally the speakers utilize discrete amplifiers for each driver, and the company says that the drivers were developed using technologies and designs from its high-performance traditional speaker products.

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.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

image When it comes to the design of audio systems whether it's the home or even in commercial environments, it can be easy to overlook the importance of acoustics. While it may be easy to forget about acoustics when the focus of clients is typically on electronics, a properly designed listening environment is paramount to the overall quality of a sound system.

Auralex's new SubDude-HT builds upon the attributes of the company's original SubDude speaker isolation platform to allow electronics professionals to isolate residential products such as large speakers and subwoofers, and commercial products that include PA speakers, and guitar and bass cabinets. Auralex says the platform incorporates 3/4-inch velour-covered MDF and one inch of the company's Platfoam material that decouples the platform from the floor. The company adds the platform measures 22 inches wide by 17 inches deep by 1.3/4 inches tall to help it support a number of speaker products.

Once the SubDude-HT is placed under a speaker or subwoofer its isolation capabilities are said to help clean up the muddiness that emanate from the floor to create more accurate sound.

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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

image SnapAV has been one of the most aggressive manufacturers in the specialty/custom electronics market through its constant work to grow its product lines. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company's latest product line however, doesn't grow its array of custom install products, but it does replace its old line of power conditioners.

The newly announced WattBox line of power conditioners replaces the company's old Episode line of power conditioners and this new UL-certified series of products are designed provide custom installation professionals with a wide selection of devices that can be used to protect home electronics from brown-outs and spikes. SnapAV says the products utilize all-metal chassis designs, and the rack-mount models can be angled and recessed to meet whatever installation requirements an installer encounters.

Highlighting the new line of products is the company's 600 Series two-piece power conditioner that SnapAV has designed to allow installers to mount the outlets in spaces more accessible to the rest of a rack system's components. The 600 Series incorporates surge protection, isolated filter banks, fireproof MOV devices, sequenced outlets, noise filtration and safe voltage protection for brown outs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

image Today's weather seems more unpredictable than ever before and if the idea of random tornados, blinding snow storms, powerful ice storms and debilitating lightning strikes once seemed far fetched, the craziness of today's weather extremes means these events are no longer out of the realm of possibility.

Power protection can't save a home from the perils of a tornado or ice storm, but it can protect homes from surges, spikes and other power related anomalies during times of lightning strikes and other events. Eaton Corporation's new collaboration with Mike Holmes host of HGTV's "Holmes on Homes" offers electronics professionals a line of products that can protect an entire home from surges and spikes.

Eaton says the "Holmes Approved" line of products are designed to install in a home's breaker box and they are engineered to protect a home's appliances, electronics and other devices from surges. Holmes says the reason he partnered with Eaton is because he has experienced the affects of a surge and afterwards he installed Eaton products to protect his electronics and appliances from these types of events.

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.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

image The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based speaker Leon Speakers has built a reputation in the custom electronics industry for being able to build just about anything a custom installer needs.

With all the talk of the company's ability to build one-off, custom speakers it is easy to forget that Leon also offers a standard line of products. Recently the company announced that it has redesigned its Vault Series of in-wall loudspeakers, and the company says the newly re-engineered speakers now look better and are easier to install then the previous generation of Vault Series products. The new Vault Series of speakers utilizes sealed MDF enclosures, new crossover designs, and the company says that Leon can custom paint the speakers' grills in house to match the decor of any home.

Some of the Vault Series' other features are a newly designed mounting system and new cosmetics that further enhance the speakers' ability to blend into a residential environment.

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