Press Release

Product Briefs: RTI Samsung Driver; Dish, American Airlines; Key Digital Software

CE Pro new products - home automation, audio, video, IoT, motorized shades, lighting control, energy management, home theater, networking and more.


Product Briefs: RTI Samsung Driver; Dish, American Airlines; Key Digital Software
CE Pro Editors · September 18, 2018

So many product news items come across the CE Pro desks, and we don't want to miss them. Neither do our readers. This is the place where we tell you what's now shipping, which reps and distributors picked up what new products, which products are newly compatible, how public companies are faring, and other briefs in custom electronics.


SEE MORE NEW-PRODUCT BRIEFS, PAST & PRESENT


Sept. 18

RTI, a global control and automation manufacturer for residential and commercial settings, has announced that it has developed a driver for IP control of select 2017 Samsung TVs and 2018 Samsung 4K UHD TVs. The drivers start with the NU8 Series and include the entire QLED series and The Frame TV series of products. RTI points out that by utilizing a network connection, the new driver simplifies the integration of Samsung TVs into RTI automation and control systems to provide consumers with a full-featured control experience.

The new driver delivers control over the DTV tuner and on-board DirecTV interface of Samsung 4K Ultra HDTVs, in addition to direct one-button access to streaming sources such as Hulu and Netflix on the displays. Users can control the screens using the RTI interface of their choice, where they can view feedback on volume levels, programming, and more. By connecting to the Samsung displays via the network, the driver eliminates the need for integrators to run additional IR emitters or serial cables.

"Samsung displays are some of the most popular on the market, and we couldn't be more excited to make it simple for integrators to incorporate them into their customers' RTI systems," say,s Mike Everett, vice president of global sales RTI. "The driver eliminates the need for an IR emitter and provides the highest degree of control for users, including direct access to streaming services."


Now on select domestic American Airline flights travelers can watch live TV powered by DISH. This offering is currently available on 100 aircraft and will be expanded to more than 700 additional aircraft during 2019.  

This move gives American passengers access to 12 DISH channels, including Bravo, CBS, CNBC, CNN, Disney Channel, ESPN, FOX, NBC, NFL Network, Telemundo, TNT and USA.


Key Digital, a manufacturer of digital video and control systems, has introduced its Key Digital Management Software (KDMS). KDMS is a free PC-based software designed specifically for end-users to integrate and manage IP enabled Key Digital products including Enterprise AV over IP Solutions.

KDMS supports multiple Key Digital units and systems on the same network and has a user-friendly control GUI for compatible Key Digital systems. With KDMS users can manage video and audio routing, volume levels, video walls and more for Enterprise AV over IP, HDMI and HDBaseT matrix switchers, audio matrix switchers, presentation switchers, video wall processors, and multi-viewers.

“One of the great advantages is that KDMS has been around for a while and we've actually been using this same thought process and same solution inside all of our IP enabled products under the Key Digital App. Our app has been very successful in allowing control of all Key Digital network devices right from an iOS product. With this next generation launch everything is operational from any Windows device. Now you could have a computer for administrator mode and you can have front panel control of your Key Digital item an iOS product or from a Windows product. It could be a surface tablet or it could be any other PC in the building. It's a really progressive software, and you can see what it's like to control a multiview and Enterprise AV over IP system, video walls, presentation switchers, and more," says Jonathon Ferry, national training manager, Key Digital.


Sept. 17

Associated Volume Buyer (AVB) announced a new member program with American Express at the
2018 National Convention to extend flat and low pricing for all BrandSource and ProSource members.

The American Express discount rate is 2.1 percent, which AVB points out as one of the lowest rates available to industry professionals. 


“The margin opportunity on the American Express program through AVB is a significant savings for our business, giving us the ability to gain higher profit margins. American Express is our number one choice for customer credit card payment and this new program AVB has rolled out gives us the opportunity to sell more, on the card our customers love, with a higher return. It’s a win-win for our business and for our customers,” says Steve Sheinkopf, chief executive officer, Yale Appliances and BrandSource member.

AVB partner, ProSource, a company focused solely on consumer electronics, will greatly benefit from the AmEx program and will return that reward to their members.

“For the ProSource customer, the new American Express rate program through AVB is one of the biggest deals we have seen come forward. The American Express card is the number one card our ProSource members are asked to take during a transaction. The new program, at 2.1 percent, helps our members stay more in-line with the other credit card company rates, while gaining an immediate rebate for their businesses,” notes Dave Workman, chief executive officer and president of ProSource.


Sept. 13

Crestron, the global manufacturer of custom home automation and control technologies and solutions, has announced that Josh.ai, a provider of voice control systems, is now an official Crestron integration partner. Crestron states the Josh Micro device and app are easily set up and deployed via the Crestron Pyng operating system to enable Crestron residential integrators to add voice control to their smart home designs.

“With support for Josh.ai, our residential dealers can now take their system designs to yet another level,” says Michael Short, global residential marketing manager for Crestron.

The Crestron Pyng operating system enables simple integration with the Josh.ai modules  —  simply authorize the Hub and Josh.ai does the rest. Once enabled, Crestron smart homeowners can control everything using natural language voice commands such as, “Okay, Josh, set the thermostat to 71 degrees.” Josh.ai also supports integration with Crestron systems through SIMPL Windows software. 


Sept. 12

At CEDIA 2018 in San Diego Atlona introduced an upgrade to its OmniStream AV over IP platform to support Dolby Vision HDR at 60 Hz. This new feature is available via a licensed software update, and existing OmniStream systems can also upgrade to support Dolby Vision HDR format too. 

The company adds the upgrade also supports the HDR10 and HLG HDR formats to provide comprehensive HDR image compatibility for advanced AV over IP media applications.   


AirTV L.L.C., has introduced its “Local Channels DVR” feature to AirTV customers. This new feature allows users to watch live and recorded local channels in- and out-of-the-home. The new feature is available to all AirTV customers at no additional charge and will appear upon updating and restarting the Sling TV app – no Sling TV subscription is required.

The new Local Channels DVR feature includes:

  • Dual Tuner: AirTV’s dual tuner functionality allows customers to record up to two shows at once or watch one show live and record another. Live and recorded content can be accessed across all compatible devices, in or out of the home.
  • Integrated DVR Menu: Recorded over-the-air (OTA) content seamlessly appears in the same menu as Cloud DVR content in the Sling TV app, indicated by an OTA icon.
  • No Sling Subscription Required: No Sling TV or additional subscription is required to access Local Channels DVR recordings.
  • Up to 2 TB Storage: A dedicated external USB hard drive (purchased independently) must be attached to AirTV to use Local Channels DVR. AirTV currently supports storing up to 2 TB of local recordings.
  • Functionality: Once local content is recorded, users can pause, rewind or fast-forward programming. If watching a recording in real time, users may also pause live TV.

Sept. 10

Summit Wireless, a provider of immersive, wireless sound technology for intelligent devices and next- generation home entertainment systems, has announced it has partnered with Harman International to deliver superior audio experiences for the innovative Harman Kardon Citation Series, which it showed at the CEDIA Expo 2018 Expo and IFA 2018 events.

The Harman Kardon Citation Series is a new line of wireless smart speakers featuring sleek industrial design and immersive audio powered by Summit’s WiSA-certified technology that enables wireless, low latency multi-channel capabilities and authentic concert-quality stereo sound.

“Our technology partnership with HARMAN is pivotal to our mission of enabling intelligent devices and next generation systems to deliver immersive, wireless sound that pushes the consumer experience to new heights,” notes Brett Moyer, president and CEO of Summit Wireless. “Harman Kardon’s Citation Series addresses the needs of savvy consumers who want exceptional audio quality without compromise, and this new product line delivers on that.”


Stealth Acoustics has announced an agreement to provide AudioControl amplifiers to U.S. authorized Stealth Acoustics dealers. Stealth will now include AudioControl Director Series, Bijou and Rialto amplifiers as part of its offering, allowing domestic Stealth dealers to place AudioControl amplifier orders and achieve complete audio setups through Stealth.

AudioControl combines flexible and reliable amplification design architecture and DSP features with U.S. manufacturing to create multichannel solutions that have secured a strong reputation for product quality with custom integrators.

“This partnership creates a simple yet synergistic way for our dealers to purchase high-performance amplifiers and speakers, leading to better system outcomes and increased market opportunity,” says Steve Olszewski, vice president of Stealth Acoustics. “We are confident that when Stealth dealers use a premium amplifier from AudioControl with our speakers, they will get the best possible results.”


Just Add Power (J+P), a manufacturer of Ultra HD over IP video distribution systems, recently demonstrated its new Just OS firmware ecosystem at the CEDIA Expo 2018 event in San Diego. Just OS was developed with the REST API, the prevailing standard in IoT solution design, ensuring a future-proof platform that can communicate with intelligent technologies on the horizon. The ecosystem comprises J+P's Plug-Play-Present (PPP) logic control, the Switch Please web application, and the latest switching innovation from the company, Every Switch Supported (ESS).

The new ESS firmware solves the installation hurdle of building complex 4K video matrixes on an unsegregated network. Using ESS, integrators can now build any size of matrix on the existing network without upgrading the switches to accommodate the additional use of network resources. As a result, integrators can better manage the build time and costs of projects with 4K HDMI distribution requirements. The advanced solution is the result of more than 10 years of research and innovation from the engineers at J+P.

"As a manufacturer of network appliances, it is a natural evolution for us to work hand-in-hand with smart appliances and platforms, and embrace the potential that new web technologies bring to the table," says Taft Stricklin, sales team manager for J+P. "With Just OS, users can now easily interact with modern web technologies in ways not possible a few years ago. With the new REST API, developing native web applications for a J+P system is now easier than with any AV over IP system in the world."


RTI, a control and automation manufacturer for residential and commercial settings, and Pulse-Eight, a developer of AV control and distribution systems based in the U.K., have announced they have entered a strategic relationship. This new partnership brings the power of Pulse-Eight's class video distribution technology solutions to the Americas under the RTI brand.

Included in the lineup of video distribution products are the VHD-Ux 8x10 Matrix Switch and VHT-Ux Extender Set, which utilize the latest Class C+DSC HDBaseT technology to deliver Ultra HD 4K HDR with 4:4:4 chroma sampling over a single category cable. The result is a visually lossless video image with incredible color depth and contrast. This is all possible over distances up to 328 feet with no latency. Other solutions include 4x4 and 8x10 HDBaseT matrix switches, HDBaseT extenders (including 4K/60 HDR), and an HDMI 18Gbps 4K downscaler with audio de-embed.

"Pulse-Eight's products are unmatched in their performance and price point," says Ed McConaghay, CEO of RTI. "We're delighted to be working with Pulse-Eight to bring the next generation of video distribution technology to our customers in North and South America."


Metra Home Theater Group (MHTG) has announced its partnership with D-Tools, Inc., a global system integration software company. The partnership allows dealers and installers at the design phase of a home installation project to access the entire line of Metra Home Theater products.

“We are pleased to join forces with D-Tools and excited to be a part of the D-Tools Cloud launch at CEDIA. We like the opportunities this provides our customers and know this partnership will realize a ‘next-step’ in making Metra Home Theater Group a top-of-mind choice during the design phase,” says Jessy Crabb, general manager, Metra Home Theater Group.

“D-Tools Cloud provides users access to a supplier’s detailed product catalog including specifications, unique pricing and related information for use in their sales, system design, documentation, procurement, and project management of low-voltage systems. Metra Home Theater Group is a premier supplier and we’re happy to have them as a partner,” adds Barrie McCorkle, director of supplier programs at D-Tools, Inc.


Aug. 29

Vanco International LLC, an AV distribution and electronic accessory products company, has announced that its Spot for Dot, a patent-pending digital in-wall amplifier, is now shipping and available for purchase from qualified distributors. Announced in June 2018 and demonstrated for the first time to the residential CE community at CEDIA Expo 2018, Spot for Dot provides installers with an inexpensive and convenient amplifier that powers smart home speakers and connects to existing distributed audio systems.

Engineered to hold an Amazon Echo Dot, and when paired with speakers, Spot for Dot can add voice control of smart devices, scenes, and other functionality to many zones of audio within the home, without the need to run wires back to a central location.

When connected to an Amazon Echo Dot, Spot for Dot adds a concealed voice control option to any space. The clever vertical in-wall design improves the pick-up and responsiveness of the microphone in an Amazon Echo Dot, rather than being placed horizontally and freestanding on a table or shelf, a setup that often comes with acoustic challenges.


Aug. 28

In-home technology services company Puls Technologies, Inc. has announced a new $50 million Series C fundraising round. Temasek led the round, with participation from current investors Sequoia Capital, Red Dot Capital Partners, Samsung NEXT and Viola Ventures. The round also includes investments from Hanaco Ventures and Hamilton Lane.

Founded in 2015, Puls’ proprietary software platform matches each consumer with a technician in as little as 60 minutes, 7 days a week. Puls’ nationwide network includes more than 2,500 vetted professionals in more than 50 U.S. metro areas, providing same-day installation and repair for more than 200 high-growth products, including smartphones, big screen TVs, HD antennas, garage door openers, and smart home devices such as voice-activated speakers, video doorbells, keyless locks, AI cameras, smart thermostats, and security systems.

This investment is the largest round to date for San Francisco-based Puls. In August 2017, Puls announced a $25 million Series B.


Aug. 27

Atlona has announced a new feature to its OmniStream AV over IP platform that will enable distribution of 4K video with Dolby Vision dynamic HDR over standard, off-the-shelf Gigabit Ethernet data networks. This capability, unique to Atlona, will soon be available as a licensed feature update to the OmniStream Pro and R-Type Series for commercial and residential networked AV applications, respectively.

Atlona will be demonstrating OmniStream with Dolby Vision at Booth #3015 during the 2018 CEDIA Expo (September 6-8, San Diego Convention Center). 

“Everyone is aware that Dolby Vision with dynamic HDR delivers the best quality images, but the problem is that AV over IP systems as well as uncompressed video distribution systems being installed today are not fullycompatible, possibly leading to many customer complaints down the line,” says David Shamir, director of product management, Atlona. “OmniStream, with full Dolby Vision dynamic HDR capability will be the only whole-house video distribution system that ensures the best possible AV experience for the most demanding customers.”


Aug. 24

BlueDog Group, formerly BlueDog Data Services and Audio Design, Inc., is a provider of comprehensive data management services supporting the tools, processes, and standards necessary for integrators to compete, grow and remain profitable. BlueDog is announcing the release of its comprehensive, standardized industry hierarchy for organizing products and labor for residential systems integrators: Resi-Cat. 

As a standards-based catalog hierarchy, Resi-Cat is currently used by dozens of BlueDog’s customers, representing decades of experience and best practices. Integrators implementing Resi-Cat have seen significant improvements across all departments in their business by allowing integrators to find products more easily for use in sales, proposal, engineering, properly accounting for all phases of their project lifecycle.

“Sharing Resi-Cat is our contribution to helping streamline business processes and increase efficiency and interoperability across our industry,” says Curt Hayes, a managing partner of BlueDog Group. “Standardization under a Creative Commons licensing model will ultimately help all of us do what we do better, faster, more easily and raise the level of capability and professionalism across the industry. We are publishing Resi-Cat for public access, enabling anyone to use and modify it, but we’re also requiring , per the Creative Commons licensing model, that they share their modifications with our industry so it truly reflects standardized practices.”


Aug. 22

CEDIA Expo has announced the featured exhibitor booths for the inaugural Design Connection Tour series September 6 and 7 during CEDIA Expo 2018 at the San Diego Convention Center. Tour participants -- designers, architects and remodelers -- will be escorted around the show floor to learn about the latest technology innovations for the intelligently connected built environment. 

These brands will be featured stops on the first-ever Design Connection Tours:

Day 1:

  • Control4
  • Lutron
  • Savant   
  • Josh AI   
  • Seura
  • JBL Synthesis
  • Cineak
  • Origin Acoustics 
  • Barco 
  • The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) 

Day 2:

  • Control4
  • Leon Speakers
  • Origin Acoustics 
  • Barco 
  • Screen Innovations 
  • Nexus 21 
  • Nuvo 
  • LUXUL
  • Vanco 
  • Noon Home 
  • The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)

“Architects, builders, and developers have the same goal as technology integrators: to finish each project with a satisfied client,” says Susan Cashen, senior vice president of marketing, Control4.

“Technology should support a home’s stylish design and atmosphere, rather than diminish it. We believe there is essential connection between the aesthetic of a home and the technology it encompasses; the two should blend seamlessly and effortlessly to elevate the overall design and create a more inviting and comfortable lifestyle for its homeowners. For us, being a part of CEDIA’s Design Connection Tours helps us support our goals to further align design and technology in this industry.” 


RTI, a control and automation manufacturer for residential and commercial settings, has announced that Integration Designer APEX 10.4 is now available for download. The backbone of RTI's control and automation solutions, the latest version of the Windows-based programming platform introduces a variety of powerful new time-saving features for integrators — including layers, viewports, and source bundles — in addition to support for the new RTiQ intelligent remote monitoring solution.

"When APEX was released last year, we promised our integrators that a number of advanced capabilities would be following in future software releases," says Mike Everett, vice president of global sales, RTI. "Version 10.4 really delivers on that promise. This is one of the biggest Integration Designer releases ever, providing integrators with sought-after features like layers and source bundles, while allowing them to take advantage of pivotal new RTI solutions such as RTiQ. We can't wait to see what they can do with this new functionality."


Aug. 21

Monitor Audio, a U.K.-based speaker company, along with its sister brand Roksan and Lenbrook International, the owner and developer of the BluOS high-resolution multiroom platform, have announced a global cooperation agreement that will bring the BluOS streaming platform to upcoming Monitor Audio and Roksan products.

The announcement marks Monitor Audio’s entrance into the growing multiroom streaming category and signals its intent to make the BluOS multiroom platform that foundation of its
Monitor Audio and Roksan branded whole-house audio products of the future.

“Our development team explored all of the available options for wireless multi-room audio solutions that premier loudspeaker companies must be reviewing in this marketplace,” states Andrew Flatt, chairman and CEO, Monitor Audio.

“After a full review, we’ve decided to adopt the BluOS platform. It’s purpose built for discerning audio enthusiasts and thereby fits with our own core values. Integrating the BluOS multi-room music management experience with our own audio performance and design values will only add to the desirability and satisfaction of our products for our existing and future customers.”


The PowerHouse Alliance has announced the growth of its A2V product line. Available exclusively through PowerHouse Alliance distributor members throughout the U.S., the line features speakers, racks,TV mounts, now certified premium high-speed HDMI cables. The new range of cables include 12 models certified by HDMI and 10 certified by DPL, and they are available across the country.

“Since the launch of the A2V line at CEDIA 2017, the response to our racks, mounts, and custom speaker products has been incredible,” says Dennis Holzer, executive director for the PowerHouse Alliance. “In addition to our current offerings, the PowerHouse Alliance distributor members received a number of requests for additional product categories from our dealers, including the need for good quality HDMI cables. We take customer feedback seriously and worked closely with our dealers to develop a new line of A2V HDMI cables built specifically for installers.” 

The A2V line of certified premium high-speed HDMI cables features both regular and ultra-slim versions. With lengths ranging from 1-foot to 30-feet, each cable enables the transmission of High Dynamic Range (HDR) video, full 18Gbps bandwidth, and includes UltraHD 4K at 60Hz- 4:4:4 chroma sampling. Each model is Certified Premium HDMI guaranteeing installations are ready for today’s 4K/UltraHD environment. The new HDMI cables from A2V also support up to 32 audio channels with ARC for a multi-dimensional, immersive audio experience, and can transmit the wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio, and HD Audio formats such as DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, and more.


Crestron, a global manufacturer of custom home automation and control technologies, has announced that through its partnership with Basalte will enable the company's Deseo line of room controllers to now serve as Crestron Connected devices.  Crestron says the partnership allows residential dealers to seamlessly integrate Basalte Deseo room controllers in their system designs to control lights, temperature, shades, and more in luxury homes, condos, and yachts. Discrete and minimalistic, the handmade Deseo line provides a simple and innovative OLED user interface. Highly sensitive touch sensors allow homeowners to quickly navigate through the most frequently used functions in a room. With its designer aesthetics and high-quality finishes, Deseo room controllers blend beautifully with any décor.

“We’re pleased to further expand our relationship with Basalte to give our residential dealers access to even more refined and innovative control options for their system designs,” said John Clancy, Vice president, residential at Crestron.


Aug. 16

RTI, a global control and automation manufacturer for residential and commercial settings, has announced that its RTiQ intelligent remote monitoring solution is now available for free to RTI dealers. A complete remote management solution for RTI systems, the cloud-based RTiQ makes it simple for dealers to monitor their clients' AV installations, get real-time notifications of failures, and quickly resolve issues with the touch of a button.

RTiQ can be configured to monitor RTI control ecosystem and components controlled by an RTI XP control processor. Dealers can monitor the status of these devices via a dashboard from anywhere in the world and receive email and text notifications that alert them if a failure occurs. Once alerted, the dashboard helps them identify the cause of the issue and allows custom actions to be triggered to restore the failed system or component. Customizable actions include anything the control system is capable of, whether it's rebooting devices, running macros, or sending commands.

"RTI dealers are activating systems at a fast pace. After being live for only a few weeks, we have more than 1,500 systems currently reporting into RTiQ," says Mike Everett, vice president of global sales, RTI. "RTiQ is enabling dealers to take customer service to the next level. The bottom line is lower costs and happy customers."


Aug. 14

Metra Home Theater Group MHTG) has announced it will sponsor an HDMI roundtable discussion featuring three top industry trainers from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday September 7 th at its Booth # 1715 at the 2018 CEDIA Expo being held at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.

Participants are Andrew Turner, technical sales manager with Sony Electronics
and Sony ES Home Premium, Philip Lamar Jones, director of training for the Americas at Sound
United and Brent McCall, trainer and product developer for Metra Home Theater Group. The open
forum discussion will include topics covering real life problems, issues and solutions for HDMI installations.

Registration to attend this event is not required, but seating is limited to first-come-first-served.
However, you don’t have to have a seat at the table to participate, and ‘standing room only’
attendance is welcomed space permitting.


Simply Reliable, a developer of cloud-based business process management, has announced three new, key features in its smartOFFICE software that are designed to transform online business process workflow. The new features include proposal sharing, automated zero setup, and data exporting. smartOFFICE, created specifically for the custom integration industry, offers simple proposal generation and approval with e-commerce for client payment collection, project management, logistic support and business intelligence to integrators.  

Through smartOFFICE, manufacturer tech support and system designers can utilize Simply Reliable’s proposal sharing features to create a proposal and instantly, with the press of a button, share the proposal to the custom installer’s database. Manufacturers can create a system and share it instantly with their approved dealer. Then, the dealer can access the completed proposal by the manufacturer and implement it into the sale, create purchase orders, work orders, and client invoices to complete the project. 

“We’re thrilled to release three robust, time-saving features to smartOFFICE ahead of CEDIA 2018,” says Tom Coffin, president and chief executive officer of Simply Reliable. “With proposal sharing, zeroSETUP, and data exporting, integrators can eliminate extraneous business processes and spend more time growing their business. We invite those attending CEDIA 2018 to visit our booth, check out a demo and take advantage of our at-show subscription savings.”


Capitol, a national distributor for residential and light commercial markets, will feature two new Russound products in its CEDIA Expo 2018 booth, #4715, September 4 – 8 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.

Originally previewed at the 2017 CEDIA Expo, the MBX-AMP and MBX-PRE are single-box solutions that are easy to install and configure as a streaming audio system for residential installations, while access to SiriusXM for Business makes it a smart and reliable solution in light commercial projects. Russound designed the MBX-AMP to be a decentralized, amplified streaming solution for installers who want to offer the most up-to-date streaming media options to their clients. The MBX-PRE is similar to the MBX-AMP, minus the amplifier section.

“Few companies are as in tune with custom specialists’ needs as Russound,” says Curt Hayes, president and CFO, Capitol. “Nearly every model in their arsenal is based on dealer feedback, which is especially true of the new MBX models. Their simplicity and flexibility make them the perfect add-on for any job that requires a simple, smart streaming solution.”


Aug. 10

D-Tools, Inc., a developer data-driven system integration software, has announced that it has completed an integration with Salesforce through the D-Tools Connector powered by Ennube Solutions. Now, commercial AV and IT professionals will be able to use the combined features of Salesforce and D-Tools System Integrator (SI) in a seamless workflow from initial lead tracking and opportunity management – via D-Tools’ SI Connector powered by Ennube – through project proposal, design, installation, and on-going service management.

Commercial AV and IT professionals face a multitude of challenges associated with properly managing leads and opportunities, quickly and accurately guiding them through budgeting and estimation, sales, system design, purchasing, and project management. Poor or ineffective communication, along with missing or incomplete information, can often mean the difference between success and failure. To avoid such risks, D-Tools and Ennube Solutions have partnered to develop a Salesforce integration to ensure that client, product, and project information is efficiently, seamlessly, and accurately managed from the initial lead capturing and client opportunity through purchase, design, installation, and on-going service.


Aug. 9

DISH added EPIX’s full catalog of 4K UHD movies to its on-demand programming lineup, becoming the first pay-TV provider to roll out this new offering.

DISH customers with a Hopper 3 or 4K Joey, 4K television, and subscription to EPIX can now access select movies in 4K, including ArrivalThe Magnificent SevenStar Trek Beyond and Transformers: The Last Knight.

“EPIX is committed to embracing new technologies to provide subscribers with the best viewing experience of our premium original programming and movies,” says Monty Sarhan, executive vice president and general manager of EPIX. “We are pleased to partner with DISH and Layer3 TV to deliver this advanced offering to a wider audience, and look forward to working with more distributors to include 4K Ultra HD as part of their entertainment packages.”


Aug. 8

A report from Bloomberg states that Comcast has prevailed in a U.S. Patent Office ruling over TiVo.

According to the report, on July 25 The office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled a TiVo Corp. patent on technology that lets viewers search television content invalid. 

Temporarily the decision is a win for Comcast, which has filed dozens of patent challenges over the past couple of years, but other rulings still loom related to a district court infringement lawsuit by TiVo over patents. 

The Bloomberg reports adds: "TiVo’s district court infringement lawsuit seeking damages from Comcast isn’t affected by the U.S. patent office’s decision invalidating U.S. Patent ‘696 [8,433,696] , Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matt Larson said."  


FIBARO, a global manufacturer of wireless intelligent home automation and control devices, is growing its installer base in the U.S. and has built out an aggressive training program to provided skilled professionals — including residential and commercial AV installers, electricians and practitioners within the construction industry — with the practical knowledge and expertise required to specify and install Fibaro systems in today’s dramatically developing smart home market.

The certified Fibaro system installer training can be completed in one day and has been designed to provide attendees with practical knowledge of the design, configuration and implementation of the Fibaro smart home system. The program begins with a 101 training and evolves into hands-on training provided directly from Fibaro or by a specialized Fibaro Distributor.

“Fibaro’s installer training provided the perfect mix of product training and a detailed introduction to the smart home, as well as the Z-Wave platform,” says Justin Lee, a recently certified Fibaro Installer from Ergo Structures Inc. located in Toronto, Canada. 


Aug. 7

Capitol, a distribution source for residential and light commercial systems, is partnering with TCL, one of America’s fastest-growing television brands, at the upcoming CEDIA Expo 2018, Sept. 4 – 8 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.

One of TCL’s most popular models will be featured in Capitol’s booth #4715, which will be the exclusive display of TCL televisions at the expo. The 65-inch 6-Series 4K UHD TCL Roku TV with Dolby Vision HDR is considered to be the custom professional’s best friend for its innovation and over-the-top value.

“Custom professionals turn to TCL every time they need a foolproof video solution for home theaters of nearly every size,” says Curt Hayes, president and CFO, Capitol. “It makes perfect sense, considering how a line like the 6-Series combines a wide mix of outstanding picture performance with Roku, and a brushed metal design that matches any décor.”


Onkyo USA, has announced it has acquired exclusive distribution rights to market and distribute TEAC’s home entertainment products in the U.S. and Latin America.  As a result of the agreement, TEAC now has access to one of the industry’s strongest marketing and distribution networks that spans the full retail spectrum, and joins Onkyo USA’s roster of acclaimed consumer electronics brands, including Onkyo, Pioneer, Pioneer ELITE, Integra and Esoteric.

“TEAC is a world-renowned brand with high-quality offerings across a variety of price points that give the line retail flexibility as well as access to a wide audience – from the professional recording studio right down to the casual listener,” says Jason Sausto, CEO of Onkyo USA.  “Onkyo USA has built its reputation on excellent customer service and channel expertise, and TEAC’s newly refreshed and diverse lineup should benefit from both.”


Movies Anywhere and Microsoft Movies & TV have joined forces to make it easier for film fans to access and grow their movie collections. Users simply sync their Microsoft account with Movies Anywhere to centralize their favorite digital movies purchased from Microsoft alongside their movies purchased from other Movies Anywhere retailers. Movies Anywhere allows consumers to access their digital movie collection at home or on the go in one simple cross-platform app that also features over 7,500 digital movies for purchase, including the new “The Deadpool 2 Super Duper $@%!#& Cut” with 15 minutes of brand-new action and jokes.

Using the Movies Anywhere app and website, Microsoft customers can access their eligible digital movies from Hollywood’s major film studios, including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), The Walt Disney Studios (encompassing Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), and Warner Bros. Upon connecting their Microsoft account with Movies Anywhere, users can watch their favorite redeemed and purchased digital movies from participating digital retailers on an array of platforms, including Xbox and Windows 10 devices; Amazon Fire devices; Android devices and Android TV; Chromecast; iPhone, iPad and iPod touch; Roku devices and popular browsers.

“We are thrilled that Microsoft now supports Movies Anywhere,” says Pedro Gutierrez, director, movies & TV, Microsoft. “With Movies Anywhere, all of your eligible movies from Microsoft can be enjoyed across your favorite screens at no extra cost. Microsoft Movies & TV allows you to watch the newest movies across your favorite devices — like Xbox — before streaming services or disc, and without subscription or membership fees.”
 


Klipsch, a global audio company, has announced its exclusive home audio partnership for the home entertainment release of the movie Deadpool 2 in Digital HD download (Aug. 7), and Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD (August 21). 

Deadpool 2 stars Ryan Reynold, who also co-wrote the script with Rhett Rees and Paul Wernick, and was directed by David Leitch. In the film, Deadpool forms the team X-Force to protect a young mutant from the time-traveling soldier Cable.

The movie was released in the United States on May 18, 2018. It has grossed $729 million worldwide, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of 2018, as well as the third highest-grossing R-rated movie. 

Klipsch audio/video retail and online partners benefit from the partnership by using Klipsch and Deadpool 2 branded in-store point of purchase materials, the movie trailer, as well as digital and social media assets. Additionally, the “Klipsch Deadpool 2 Sweepstakes” runs August 1-September 30, 2018 in the United States. Entrants can sign up at Klipsch.com for the chance to win a grand prize package consisting of a Klipsch Reference Dolby Atmos® 7.2.4 speaker system, a four-disc Deadpool 24K Ultra HD DVD package, and other Deadpool 2 merchandise (valued at U.S. MSRP of $4,085).


Aug. 6

IntelliVision Technologies Corp., a manufacturer of AI/deep learning video analytics software for smart cameras, and now part of Nortek Security & Control LLC(NSC), has announced that the latest version of its facial recognition technology now runs as a cloud-based service as well as on edge devices and on-premise servers.

“Face recognition is becoming a must-have security feature for smart homes and buildings, smart retail, transportation, access control and the gaming industry,” saysKrishna Khadloya, vice president of engineering and products, IntelliVision. “Our face recognition now gives system integrators the flexibility to implement facial detection and recognition in the cloud, on servers, or at the edge, providing real-time results, and reducing bandwidth usage.”

The latest version of IntelliVision’s facial recognition technology is optimized for in-camera processing and is capable of detecting at least ten faces in less than one second with only 25 percent CPU usage on an Ambarella S5L-based camera. As many as twenty faces can be recognized in a single frame. In the cloud-based Face Recognition as a Service (FRaaS), recognition time is sub-second and allows for additional analytics in the overall workflow where camera processing capacity is limited.


Aug. 1

Roon Labs has teamed up with T+A to expand the company's Roon Ready end points to include the MP 8 Multi Source Player. 

“Previously we had the T+A DAC 8 DSD as Roon Tested. We are excited to add the MP 8 as Roon Ready network player to expand the Roon ecosystem," says Enno Vandermeet, CEO of Roon.

The T+A MP 8 multi-source player houses a CD mechanism, a high-performance digital tuner offering FM, FM-HD and DAB+ reproduction, a Bluetooth streaming module, a streaming client with Internet radio and music services for connection to the home network via LAN and WLAN

“We are pleased that with the MP 8 we now have the first T+A product with Roon Ready certification in our portfolio. All other T+A streaming products that have been introduced since 2016 are currently undergoing the certification process and will follow in due time," adds Siegfried Amft, owner and managing director of T+A elektroakustik GmbH & Co. KG



VIZIO, Inc., has announced the rollout of WatchFree, an all-new streaming service designed with cord-cutters in mind. Now available on nearly all VIZIO SmartCast TVs, WatchFree, in partnership with Pluto TV, takes the entertainment experience one step further by providing free, direct streaming access to more than 100 live and linear channels. WatchFree has all of the attributes associated with traditional cable TV minus boxes, antennas, cords, and most importantly, the cost. 

"With the TV landscape continuously evolving, we're excited to offer consumers a comprehensive entertainment solution packed with free and unlimited content offerings." says Bill Baxter, chief technology officer, VIZIO. "Powered by Pluto TV, WatchFree is a next-generation streaming service with an easy-to-navigate, cable-like interface that delivers creative and thoughtful content selections."


July 31


Portrait Displays, Inc. has developed CalMAN auto calibration capability for Sony’s 2018 MASTER Series A9F and Z9F BRAVIA 4K HDR televisions being unveiled this week at a press event in New York City.

Calibration is the process of fine-tuning a display to ensure that it closely matches an industry standard. Manual calibration can require an hour’s work by a trained professional. The auto calibration provided by Portrait Displays’ CalMAN software accelerates the process for professional calibrators, along with enabling new users the ability to perform professional quality calibrations.

"You simply connect CalMAN on your computer to the Sony BRAVIA and let CalMAN’s AutoCal make your picture perfect," says Martin Fishman, co-CEO of Portrait Displays.
 


The CEDIA Expo has announced Control4 as the sponsor for the debut Design Connection tour series. The Design Connection tours will take place during CEDIA Expo, September 6 to 8, at the San Diego Convention Center. Control4 Senior Vice President of Marketing Susan Cashen expresses the company’s enthusiasm for connecting integrated technology experts with design and construction professionals at CEDIA Expo.

“Architects, builders, and developers have the same goal as technology integrators: to finish each project with a satisfied client,” says Cashen.

CEDIA Expo’s Design Connection tours will be led by David VanWert, principal of VanWert Technology Design and Joe Whitaker, president of Thoughtful Home Design and member of the CEDIA Board of Directors. The two industry leaders will guide 10 to 15 certified designers to selected exhibitor booths for product overviews and Q&A’s with brand representatives.


The Bird Home Automation Group, manufacturer of DoorBird IP video intercoms, and the PropTech company KIWI.KI GmbH announced a collaboration. The DoorBird D301, the IP Upgrade for analog door intercoms, is now compatible with the KIWI locking system. The companies have partnered to create an integration solution ideal for businesses requiring the ability to access clients’ residences to perform contracted services. Businesses providing home and elder care as well as cleaning and grounds keeping services can now flexibly manage and open authorized doors using the KIWI keyless access control platform.

The DoorBird D301 enables tenants in apartment buildings to convert their existing analog door intercoms into app-based, smart door intercoms. When a visitor rings at the entrance door, the user receives a push notification on their smart device. The user can then speak with the visitor and open the house or apartment door using the DoorBird App. This allows for secure keyless access to the entrance area of the apartment building and, optionally, to the apartment.

With KIWI doors can also be opened keylessly. The PropTech (Property Technology) company offers a digital locking system for doors of apartment buildings. The KIWI transponder, app, and portal allow users to open doors and manage access privileges digitally. This way, KIWI digitizes key management for the housing industry and, moreover, serves as a platform for services that require access to buildings and apartments, such as parcel services or garbage collection companies.


Atlona is bringing IP-based AV control to customers of Zoom Video Communications’ popular Zoom Rooms solution worldwide to enable scalability and ease of use through its Velocity platform. Atlona’s native, software-level integration of the Zoom Rooms API will simplify and accelerate deployments from single meeting spaces to enterprise-wide collaborative environments and empower end users to seamlessly control Zoom Rooms and third-party components over the network with a unified user interface.

“Velocity will allow Zoom Rooms customers to seamlessly transition AV control to the network, and quicklypopulate collaborative environments across campus- and enterprise-wide systems,” says Michael Crisci, business development manager, AV/IP and strategic alliance, Atlona. “Velocity’s ease of use ensures that all devices can be integrated with minimal configuration, and with a direct IP connection to any Zoom Room to simplify integration of Zoom Rooms components. This is a problem-solving approach to simplifying control and integration of third-party elements across a collaborative ecosystem of any scale.”

In a typical Zoom Rooms configuration, Velocity integrations will support unified control of third-party cameras, microphones, and audio systems; as well as environmental controls and other general room control over the network. Atlona also anticipates certification of its AT-HDVS-CAM PTZ camera for Zoom Room environments in the near future.


July 30

Wilson Electronics, home of WilsonPro, weBoost and zBoost and a manufacturer of wireless communications infrastructure, has announced the release of the Wilson Portal app for iOS and Android. The app’s features are designed to provide improved dealer communication, ensuring quality service and support for Wilson Electronics’ valued partners.

According to Wilson Electronics, the Wilson Portal app allows dealers to access everything they need for a cellular signal booster install, even when they’re on the go. Whether they need training and install tips, information on new products or direct access to customer support, the new app ensures they can easily access the essentials from their smartphone.

The app includes the option to turn on push notifications for content specialized to each dealer. Features of the app include:

  • Immediate access to the latest products and company news
  • Registration for upcoming webinars and events
  • Exclusive offers and promotions
  • Install resources such as install guides, building recommendation forms, tips and training videos
  • Product catalogs, spec sheets and registration
  • Detailed case studies
  • Contact information for sales and customer support teams

July 26

Intrinsic Group, an AV industry driver developer, has launched Intrinsic
Connected, 
which is a new, quality standard that will allow both manufacturers and installers to identify
quickly and easily where a certified Intrinsic solution is available.

“Anyone can write code,” says Will Hopkins, CEO, Intrinsic Group. “But, writing effective drivers for
smart home integration products and applications demands real installation knowledge, controls
know-how and practical experience. All Intrinsic engineers have spent a minimum of five years in the
field as product installers and system integrators. This experience is critical in how we create and
build Intrinsic Connected driver solutions. It’s why we’re acknowledged as the company behind the
most reliable, best functioning and optimised drivers for AV integration on the market.”

A growing number of certified Intrinsic Connected drivers are now available for fast and reliable
integration and control by Crestron, Control 4, Elan, RTI and other control platforms. These cover
integration for Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Philips Hue, Sky+ and SkyQ alongside products from leading
industry brands, such as, HDAnywhere, Heatmiser, Meridian, Naim, Sonos, Speakercraft and more.
Manufacturers will be able to display the Integrated by Intrinsic badge on products where an
Intrinsic driver exists, giving added confidence to installers that they can easily integrate the best-
performing technology from their favoured brands into any system.


Meridian’s Design and Specification Service has been created to give integrators increased customer possibilities when specifying Meridian products.  This complimentary service helps integrators working on a range of jobs that range from whole home and superyacht, to cinema room projects.

“We created the Design and Specification Service to support our integrators when designing cinemas
or distributed audio systems for their clients” comments Barry Sheldrick, director of sales, Meridian
Audio. “This service makes it quicker and easier for them to select and specify the best products for the job, freeing up valuable time to concentrate on other aspects of the installation. With over 40 years of audio experience, integrators can reply on Meridian and our design service to deliver high-resolution, high-performance systems around their client’s home.”

To begin the proposal process, integrators simply need to provide Meridian with a plan of the room,
house, or room dimensions, and email it to Meridian’s dedicated Design and Specification Service
team at design@meridian-america.com. Meridian’s experts will then provide CEDIA-approved
designs and drawings of the proposed system layout within 48 hours, which includes room
layout and loudspeaker positioning diagrams, detailed wiring diagrams, and comprehensive product
information. In most cases, proposals include three Meridian system options, providing a project
price spread tailored to the client’s budget.


The Texas-based manufacturer Screen Innovations (SI) has announced that it is shipping its Zero-G motorized screen product. 

Housed in a two-piece tube that is suspended from Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMwPE) cables, where it deploys at a preset location and unrolls itself to display the viewing surface with up to 15.8-feet of drop.

SI’s ambient light rejecting (ALR) screen materials such as Slate, which are also available on Zero-G provides a solution in which integrators can offer an image in hard-to-reach locations without sacrificing image quality. An added benefit, is that the area above the Zero-G viewing surface is acoustically transparent and does not negatively impact the viewing experience like a standard motorized screen with black masking material would. Because it’s completely open above, art-deco walls, large windows like what you will find in a house of worship, speakers, or even lighting systems all remain visible, not covered by a large black mask such as you would find in traditional motorized screen systems.

 In addition to the newly added long drop option, SI has also reengineered many of the internals of the Zero-G chassis, including mechanics such as a new end-cap design that is milled entirely from one block of aluminum, and improved consistencies for internal mounting points by using barrel mounts instead of a pulley system.

SI has produced a video that explains the product in greater detail.  


July 24

 AVAD LLC, a national provider of solutions to the residential and commercial custom installation markets, has announced a strategic partnership with Savant to showcase a range of smart home products based on Savant Studio and Savant Central Management. For this initiative, AVAD will provide sales, logistics, and award-winning support services to their network of dealers in the United States and Canada beginning on August 1st.

Savant has selected AVAD as an exclusive distribution partner for Savant Central Management and Savant Studio, a new cloud-based configuration and management software that will enable AVAD dealers to deliver smart home systems to a range of consumers. This  technology simplifies system configuration, which can be deployed remotely from an iPad, and proactively alerts integrators to service opportunities before a problem arises. The AVAD/Savant partnership will also provide existing Savant dealers with regional access to hardware as well as technical support and customer service thanks to AVAD’s physical presence in major markets. 

“Savant Central Management and Savant Studio are transformative innovations that greatly simplify the configuration and deployment process for control and automation systems,” explains JC Murphy, executive vice president at Savant.


July 23

 DTS, a global audio company, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation, has announced a partnership between DTS Play-Fi and SoundMachine’s subscription-based service. The partnership gives business owners the ability to play commercial background music in their stores, restaurants, hotels, spas, or other locations through DTS Play-Fi-enabled products. Commercial users will receive a free 30-day trial through the DTS Play-Fi app.

SoundMachine features more than 250 curated music stations and the ability to mix and schedule music for the perfect sound directly through the DTS Play-Fi app. Features include:

  • Curated Music Selection: Hundreds of stations regularly updated and comprehensive playlists of hand selected music, covering a wide variety of genres.
  • Custom Music Stations: Easily create an algorithmically generated artist based station by simply entering an artist name or song from a catalog of over 35 million tracks.
  • Day Parting: Schedule your music for the perfect atmosphere throughout the day, whether it's upbeat music for the busy hours or mellow tunes for more relaxed moments.
  • Multiple Locations: If you own more than one establishment, you can link them to your account and manage their music content from one interface.
  • All Licenses Included: Playing music in a business environment requires a set of licenses that SoundMachine covers. Using unlicensed music services can potentially lead to big fines.

July 20

Dish customers can now start a conversation with DISH the same way they would text message friends and family. DISH has joined Apple Business Chat, enabling customers to chat directly with live customer service representatives through Messages on their iPhone and iPad.

Dish is one of the first pay-TV providers to turn on Apple Business Chat, which launched earlier this year.

“TV should be simple, so we’ve made reaching our live customer service representatives as easy as sending a text,” says John Swieringa, chief operating officer, Dish. “Adding messaging with Apple Business Chat is a powerful way to connect with us, giving another choice so you can pick what fits with your life.”

Dish customers can use Apple Business Chat to contact a live agent to ask questions, make account changes, schedule an appointment and more. They can also us


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