Lawsuit Hints Crestron to Launch 4K Streaming this Year
Home automation leader Crestron Electronics says it plans to release new 4K streaming technology this year, based on information detailed in a now-resolved lawsuit.
Earlier this year, AptoVision, developer of BlueRiver A/V over IP technology, named Justin Kennington director of strategic and technical marketing. In taking the new position, Kennington left the home automation giant Crestron Electronics after six years as technology manager of DigitalMedia, Crestron’s wildly successful A/V switching technology.
Crestron subsequently sued Kennington for theft of trade secrets, claiming the former employee “transferred and disclosed Crestron’s trade secrets and confidential business information in violation of the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act,” and engaged in other unlawful conduct.
The lawsuit (Pacer subscription required), which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on Jan. 14, 2016, has been resolved under sealed terms. But the big reveal from the lawsuit is that it hinted at Crestron's roadmap for 4K streaming technology.
DigitalMedia, Crestron’s runaway success for high-speed, high-resolution, low-latency video (and data) distribution, was the first product line to incorporate the Cat-5 technology from Valens Semiconductor that would eventually become HDBaseT.
Crestron launched the DM line in 2009 and today the business generates $400 million to $500 million per year “by conservative estimation,” according to the complaint.
By those figures, the DM category today represents as much as one-third of Crestron’s overall revenues.
Crestron noted in its complaint that it “plans to launch several new DM products this year including new 4K streaming technology,” and that one of the many documents allegedly copied by Kennington was titled “4k and streaming roadmap.”
Crestron claimed that this and other allegedly copied documents represent “valuable, competitively-sensitive, and highly confidential information, particularly in light of Crestron’s focus on the development of DM products and 4K streaming technology.”
4K-over-IP is a relatively new category for Crestron.
Kennington joined the company in 2009 as DM product manager after two years as a hardware engineer at Google, according to his Linkedin profile.
Crestron claimed that, after receiving an offer of employment from AptoVision, Kennington “copied numerous files containing Crestron confidential and proprietary business information from his Crestron owned and issued laptop to personal devices and accounts and then subsequently, attempted to delete all evidence that he had done so.”
AptoVision is heavily engaged in that very thing with its BlueRiver A/V-over-IP technology. The company claims its new BlueRiver 400 silicon, with AptoVision’s new in-line A/V signal-processing Plethora Engine is “the world’s first AV extension chipset designed from the ground up to efficiently and cost-effectively address all of the requirements of the professional AV market.”
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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