Crestron ADMS ‘Ultimate Content Machine’ is Shipping
Media server organizes music, video and other digital content from the home network and the Web and integrates under a single, universal search engine
CE Pro spoke with one of the first (only?) dealers to beta-test a unit in the field. Vivitech in New York City installed the server and a complete Crestron control system in a media mogul’s home.
“It’s a very powerful product,” says Vivitech president Ed Driscoll. “I like that it has all solutions in one box. You can stream music over the same HDMI cable as the video library.”
Before the ADMS came along, “Typically we would use a Mac Mini and drive everything through iTunes,” Driscoll says. “Obviously, gobs of things are not available through iTunes and there’s no HDMI.”
Alternatively, in this case, he might have gone with a dual-core PC using Arcsoft software.
Instead, Driscoll and his client opted for the $9,000 ADMS because it is—as Crestron VP technology Fred Bargetzi puts it—“the ultimate content machine.”
ADMS: Ultimate Content Machine
When Crestron debuted the ADMS in 2008, the system was revolutionary in the way it aggregated and organized content. Today, several mass-market products and services have caught up with some ADMS features, but none offers quite the package that Crestron has:
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The ADMS trumps other solutions that only aggregate content in the cloud. Crestron’s product looks at the Web and the home network, including PCs, NAS drives, the ADMS’s built-in hard drive (2 TB, 1 TB usable), and Crestron’s own ADC-200BR Blu-ray changer.
Crestron’s WorldSearch functionality was a first when it was demonstrated in 2008. Even though Boxee, Clicker.com, Hulu, Pioneer (E-Tap) and others have since launched universal search features, Crestron still seems to lead in that area.
- Prioritization. Crestron does a nice job of prioritizing your content. Search for “Shrek,” for example, and the results will pop out first the premium content you already own (on the Blu-ray changer or home network), then the premium content available through an online provider (Amazon Video on Demand for now), and then the free stuff, say from YouTube or Hulu. You can sort only for full-length movies/episodes if you want. Bargetzi says “Netflix can be added” to the ADMS but Crestron has not divulged plans for its release.
- Quick search. The ADMS constantly searches for new music (including iTunes) and videos (including Amazon Video on Demand) online and pushes the metadata to the server. “Automatically, every night, it downloads a whole catalog,” says Bargetzi. “Other systems just scrape the Web and they’re much slower.”
- Search options. You can take your chances and just search “Porsche” through WorldSearch, and you’ll get every piece of content that has the word in its title, cast, artist, or other metadata. Or, you can opt to search by media type (TV, music, movie, other video) and/or criteria (keywords, title, artist/cast).
For all of those options, “the GUI [graphical user interface] is elegantly laid out and easy to get around,” says Driscoll.
Driscoll’s client does use WorldSearch and “gets on to Hulu now again” but most of his content resides in the Blu-ray changer and 10 TB worth of NAS drives on the home network.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]
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