CEA Unveils Newly Revised TechHome Rating System at EHX Spring
System includes a pre-wire spec and is made simpler with new Bronze, Gold and Platinum designations. Association plans aggressive marketing.
For the first time, the TechHome Division of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) revealed at EHX Spring its brand-new version of the TechHome Rating System (THRS) after spending more than a year tweaking it.
The new system scraps the numerical values and instead opts for a simpler system based on Bronze, Gold and Platinum designations. It also calls for a baseline “Service Pre-wire Specification” that must be installed before any of the levels can be achieved.
The THRS has been around for more than five years but gained little steam among builders and real estate agents. Previously, it assigned a numerical value to a home based on its technological sophistication.
The idea of the system is that the value will help Realtors and builders sell more homes faster by creating a quick and easily identifiable technology rating.
Potential homebuyers would quickly be able to determine if a home has the proper infrastructure wiring, for example, based on the THRS rating. The new system achieves the same thing but in a different format.
The new ratings are:
Bronze: This provides the basic technology infrastructure needed in today’s homes, such as the distribution of TV and video signals to multiple rooms, and networking and communications capability.
Gold: This level expands to more rooms and adds advanced functionality, such as a multiroom audio distribution system.
Platinum: This is the top ranking and is designated for a home that further enhances a home office space with full networking and communications.
Each rating level provides for requirements for security, lighting control and complete home control. Each level also offers detailed explanations of the minimum wire gauge and type.
To earn the designations, builders and integrators must use the CEA’s Web site and use an online form to fill in information about the home. After all the information is input, the Web site spits out the Bronze, Gold or Platinum designation.
Right now, the system is self policing, but CEA plans to enhance various parts of the program that will address issues like registration, use of logos and enforcement.
The baseline Service Pre-wire Spec calls for:
- TV: RG6 Quad for an over-the-air antenna and cable gateway, along with five runs of RG6 Quad cable for a satellite dish.
- Radio Antenna: RG6 Quad for an FM antenna and for a satellite radio antenna, and 22AWG shielded wire for an AM antenna.
The spec goes on to detail home-run configurations, head-end locations and service-entry points. Dealers can download the spec (pdf) from the TechHome Web site.
According to communications manager Laura Hubbard, the CEA plans to aggressively market the new program to builders via the Home Technology Alliance, a cooperative working group of CEDIA and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
CEA also has plans to push the program to appraisers, who will likely influence real estate agents.
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]
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