Joe Whitaker Rediscovers TiO Home Automation: In-Wall Amp Rocks 7-Foot Magnepans

Integrator and CE Pro contributor Joe Whitaker hasn’t looked at TiO multiroom audio and home automation system since the vNet days. Here’s his fresh take from CEDIA 2015.

TiO at CEDIA Expo 2015, demonstrating its ecosystem of multiroom audio and home automation.

Photos & Slideshow

Joe Whitaker · October 29, 2015

TiO (Turn it On) is the final iteration of the home automation and multiroom audio company that began as Colorado vNet in 2001. Now owned by its original manufacturing partner Anuva, TiO launched a multi-tier Ninja training program for integrators this year, and had dealers competing at CEDIA Expo 2015 to configure a complete TiO system in the fastest time.

Recently, Anuva introduced TiO Connect for integration with third-party control systems, but the company’s claim to fame is its all-IP communications platform and a multiroom audio system comprising powerful little in-wall digital amps and controllers.

Integrator and CE Pro contributor Joe Whitaker revisited TiO for the first time in many years during CEDIA Expo 2015. - Editors

I haven’t really looked at TiO since it spun out of Colorado vNet and other iterations over the past few years, but I was surprised to see how it has evolved. I had always been intrigued by its Android and all-IP backbone (no more ZigBee), but then I discovered its new integration capabilities at CEDIA.

I noticed, for example, that TiO now “Works with Nest” and others through its new TiO Connect modules.

Other news is the TIO Home user-facing app -- with "programmer" software hidden inside -- is now available for iPads. I for one didn't see this coming and always assumed that TiO would stay Android only. Good move by TiO.

Other notable additions are the newer/faster/better touchscreens with built-in digital amps and an interface that I always thought was ahead of its time (as the Colorado vNet Vibe). The UI nice and sleek as all touchscreens should be, but with a built in amp to make upgrading in-wall volume knobs a breeze.

However, the coolest thing they showed at CEDIA wasn’t all that new, but is worth reminding the industry about.

The digital 100-watt single-gang in-wall amp was shown at the booth, but with an eye- and ear-catching twist. Plugged into the little-amp-that-could were a pair of old-school 7-foot-tall Magnepans. Where they found these speakers is mind boggling in itself, but pushing speakers of this Magnetude (get it?) was a shocker.

I myself was a doubter the first time I saw this amp as many were. How to silence the critics? Put a massive pair of speakers on the smallest amp on the show floor and let the amp do its job.

While the TiO brand is fairly new, the technology and software has evolved over a decade and seems to be gaining traction.

I may just hit TiO's dealer site, enter the Dojo, and check out the Eight Levels of Ninja Training.

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  About the Author

With over 20 years of experience in home systems installation and design as well as being an award winning product designer, Joe Whitaker currently is principal of the integration firm thethoughtfulhome.com. He is a current member of the CEDIA board of directors first elected in 2013 and is a frequent contributor to CE Pro magazine. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Joe at joe@thethoughtfulhome.com

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  Article Topics

Speakers · Amplifiers · Audio/Video · Distributed Audio · News · CEDIA Expo · TiO · All Topics
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