Press Release

Product Briefs: BluOS Updates; Amarra adds MQA; Kwikset, Amazon Key

Keep checking back for CE Pro's brief product and company news in custom electronics.


Product Briefs: BluOS Updates; Amarra adds MQA; Kwikset, Amazon Key
CE Pro Editors · November 20, 2017

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.


 

November 20

Lenbrook, and its brands, which include Bluesound, have announced their new BluOS software and apps, version 2.14, for smartphone and tablets. 

“We want BluOS to continue to serve as a destination for music lovers, increasingly becoming
the center of their music experience in the home,” says Andrew Haines, product manager, BluOS.

“The possibilities for BluOS to bring the music experience to life and make it more engaging for users are quite literally only limited by imagination.”

Using the new BluOS app, the PULSE SOUNDBAR and SUB can be wirelessly connected with:

 

  • A pair of PULSE FLEXs to act as a dedicated rear wireless surround speakers for an
    immersive high-resolution listening experience.

Other features include:

  • Deezer HiFi subscribers can now listen to millions of songs in lossless
    CD-quality at 16-bit FLAC, and they can stream it to any BluOS-enabled wireless speaker, stereo
    component or home theater for a high-fidelity listening experience.
  • A new optimized music engine allows for a more responsive experience and easier browsing
    with quick on-demand access to local music collections, custom playlists, favorites, and music
    streaming services.
  • Additional updates include Related Artist Radio and Explicit Content Filter on TIDAL, Featured Playlists, Popular Playlists and Purchased Tracks on Juke, Optical Input Auto Sense for supporting Bluesound Players

Sonic Studio has announced the release of Amarra 4 Luxe v4.1, and according to the company its latest software integrates Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) high-resolution audio support.


MQA is engineered to deliver the sound of the original master recording. MQA files are fully authenticated and small enough to stream or download, while also being backward compatible, so
they can be played on any device.

“Sonic Studio is excited to release the first MQA integration and experience for the Amarra family of products," says Jonathan Reichbach, CEO of Sonic Studio.

"With directMQA decoding, consumers will now experience unrivalled music reproduction. With Windows MQA support coming soon our future plans include iOS integration for MQA streaming/offline playback, DSP processing and more.”

Amarra 4 Luxe supports local MQA file playback and additionally supports TIDAL MQA Streaming for HiFi subscribers. Amarra users without an MQA-enabled DAC can enjoy MQA decoding at 2x sample rates (88.2kHz or 96kHz), while users with an MQA-enabled DAC will hear full MQA with the original sample rate, platform-specific DAC compensation and sample rates up to 8x (352kHz or 384kHz).

Amarra 4 Luxe allows users to sort, search, navigate, and play back their entire music collection, and it provides multi-stage upsampling, as well as a fully customizable, professional-level EQ with pre-sets for different genres, speakers or headphones.

Amarra 4 Luxe supports Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or higher, as well as Windows 8 and 10 (MQA pending).


Kwikset, a popular residential door hardware brand and part of the Hardware and Home Improvement (HHI) division of Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. has teamed up with Amazon to offer renters and homeowners two smart lock solutions to choose from when purchasing an Amazon Key In-Home Kit.  Amazon Key is a new service from Amazon that allows Prime members in 37 cities and surrounding areas across the U.S. to receive in-home delivery and grant secure home access for guests using the Amazon Cloud Cam and a compatible smart lock.

Kwikset SmartCode 914, a touchpad smart lock, and Kwikset Convert, a smart lock conversion kit, are two options that customers can choose from when purchasing an Amazon Key In-Home Kit.


The independent label ECM Records ha announced that it is expanding its partnership with long-standing distribution partner, Universal Music Group (UMG), a leader in music based entertainment to bring the entire ECM catalog to major streaming platforms.

Known for contemporary, jazz and classical music, ECM's catalog is curated by its founder Manfred Eicher, and the company says it has maintained a high standard of artistry and production. The music and its accompanying artwork have been the subjects of books, films and exhibitions around the world.  Music from the likes of Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Paul Bley, Arvo Pärt, András Schiff, Kim Kashkashian, Anouar Brahem, Jack DeJohnette, Tomasz Stanko, Avishai Cohen, Nik Bärtsch, Vijay Iyer, Gidon Kremer, Meredith Monk a.o. will now be available on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, Qobuz and Tidal.

Deutsche Grammophon, UMG’s prestigious Yellow Label will be responsible for international digital distribution of the extensive ECM catalogue, the launch will be accompanied by a wide-ranging campaign in conjunction with the highly-engaged participating streaming partners.

ECM and UMG have also agreed a long-term extension of their partnership in physical distribution, expanding into Australia as an additional territory moving forward.

“I would like to thank Manfred Eicher for placing his trust in Universal Music Group and Deutsche Grammophon. Myself, my team and my colleagues around the world are delighted to work on bringing the precious ECM catalogue to digital platforms," says Clemens Trautmann, president of Deutsche Grammophon. 

"We want to place our distribution capabilities fully at the disposal of ECM and its great artists and in doing so, benefit from each other's experiences and generate synergies with the portfolio of Deutsche Grammophon." 


November 16

Sonos has announced that TIDAL subscribers can now directly control their ability to play TIDAL content through their Sonos systems directly from the TIDAL app. 

"You can control your Sonos home sound system directly from the TIDAL app," says Sonos in a marketing email.  

"So if you love starting off your Monday with The Weekly Brew or discovering up-and-coming artists on TIDAL Rising, stream the music straight to Sonos—without ever opening your Sonos app."


MuxLab is finalizing a new application that offers an intuitive way to control its AV over IP sources and displays. MuxLab's upcoming app comes with smart options like custom graphics of color-coded equipment for easy, instant identification, and it allows users manage the connectivity of any source to any display to create comprehensive video walls.

The app enables multiple sites and zones can be managed with the touch of a finger using graphical floor plans to simplify the location, identification and control of  complex AV installations. Systems can also be configured with presets to handle repetitive or scheduled tasks. Setting up the App requires a simple download to get started, available on both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
 
"MuxLab took great strides to develop a control system that is exceptionally easy to configure and operate yet powerful," says Joe Teixeira, director of product development,MuxLab. "This functionality is another example of MuxLab’s commitment to delivering innovative technologies that empower end users while simplifying their systems management."
 
The App also works with the MuxLab ProDigital Network Controller (model 500811) to manage the entire MuxLab AV over IP product family. The Controller's GUI gives integrators and end users the ability to access both small and large AV over IP systems with the same level of simplicity. Centrally managing many locations is easy using graphical floor plans. It can manage local and remote systems from any location, and offers password protected options for securing system accessibility. 


AudioControl, makers of high-performance audio solutions for the residential, commercial and automotive markets has added support for Dolby Vision HDR to its entire line of A/V receivers and preamp/processors, including the new Maestro M5, which was introduced at the 2017 CEDIA Expo.

Dolby Vision HDR (High Dynamic Range) is one of three HDR formats tasked with bringing out the very best from the most advanced TVs. It delivers improved video image quality, enhancing the subtleties of the picture while delivering more natural color tones. By adding support for Dolby Vision HDR, AudioControl users will be able to enjoy the most stunning video performance available today.

“Dolby Vision is currently the only HDR format with dynamic metadata”, comments Chris Kane, vice president of sales at AudioControl. “This means that the brightness levels of HDR content can vary between shots, giving filmmakers finer control over how the image looks. With sales of HDR-capable displays expected to grow 300% over the next 4 years, supporting a premium HDR technology like Dolby Vision was a natural for AudioControl.”

Dolby Vision HDR is now a standard feature on all of AudioControl’s home theater products, including the Concert AVR-7 and AVR-9 receivers, and the Maestro M5 and M9 preamp/processors.

Dealers can access new firmware for the company's products at the AudioControl website to update their clients' products.


November 15

CEDIA has announced a partnership with Houzz.co.uk, the online platform for homebuilding, renovation and design, to help CEDIA members use Houzz’s technology and marketing capabilities to connect with a large community of homeowners actively building, renovating, and investing in new technologies in their homes.

As part of the partnership, Houzz will create an authentication mechanism for active CEDIA members to verify their CEDIA membership on the Houzz platform. With verified badges, homeowners can identify CEDIA members who have specialized expertise in electronic design and installation.

“We have noticed that a number of our members are listed on the Houzz platform, so we sought to establish a partnership with them to enhance the offering to our members” comments Matt Nimmons, managing director of CEDIA EMEA. “As part of the collaboration, all CEDIA members with a Houzz profile will be verified and able to display the CEDIA badge on their page. Houzz provides our members and the wider home technology industry with a platform to showcase their work, collaborate with clients, and connect with prospective clients. We would encourage more members to sign up to this platform and display their CEDIA member credential proudly.”


November 14

The television and cable service provider Dish, has announced that its new voice-enabled remote control is now shipping with its Hopper set-top boxes (STBs).

The new voice remote was designed with customer input, and it features motion-activated backlighting and customizable buttons that can be easily programmed to create shortcuts to frequented menu destinations.

As part of the company's rollout of the remote, DISH has launched a new TV commercial starring St. Nicholas and his attempt to find his favorite holiday movies. Check out Santa using his new Dish remote here.


Bedrock Learning, an independent training provider in the smart home industry, states that it now offers a number of online courses from their online curriculum that have been approved for CEUs, (Continuing Education Units), by state licensing bodies in Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

CEUs are required to maintain certification and licensing, and Bedrock’s online courses offer an economical and timely manner to earn CEUs while enhancing knowledge and expanding skill sets.

In addition, the following online courses are also accredited by the Electronic Security Association, (ESA), National Training School, making these courses recognized for CEUs in Alabama, Florida, Louisville, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Texas.

  • The Connected Home                                                4 ESA credit hours   #16-4767
  • Home Networking for Technicians                             8 ESA credit hours   #16-4762
  • Multi-Room Audio Technology and Distribution         6 ESA credit hours   #16-4760
  • Home Theater Technologies Explained                     4 ESA credit hours   #16-4766
  • Residential Lighting Control                                       8 ESA credit hours   #16-4764
  • Project Management for Residential Installation        6 ESA credit hours   #16-4765
  • Fundamentals of Structured Wiring                            6 ESA credit hours   #16-4761
  • Home Theater Design and Installation                       8 ESA credit hours   #16-4763

“Our commitment to help everyone in the industry succeed drives everything we do. By 'Bedrock-izing' complex information we simplify technology, write at an 8th-grade level, and offer affordable, effective solutions for new careers ignited by the digital revolution. Users love learning with Bedrock. We are proud of the breadth and depth of our online, vendor-neutral training and appreciate long-time customers who keep coming back asking for more,” says Helen Heneveld, president of Bedrock Learning.


The PowerHouse Alliance has expanded its proprietary A2V product line. Adding to its existing line-up of racks and TV mounts, A2V now includes a line of custom installation speakers, available from PowerHouse Alliance warehouse locations across the country.

“We have seen tremendous success from the A2V line since its launch at CEDIA,” says Dennis Holzer, executive director for the PowerHouse Alliance. “And just like the first two categories, all PowerHouse Alliance distributor members and many of their dealers were involved in the design and also determining which category we should expand into next. The vote for a line of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers was unanimous.”

The A2V line of custom speakers consists of 11 SKUs that are distinguished by driver size, configuration and grille type. Four models feature a 6.5-inch woofer and 1/2-inch soft dome pivot tweeter, with micro-perf press fit grille or micro-perf magnetic grille, available in both in-wall or in-ceiling configurations. For deeper bass, there are four identical models available with a larger 8-inch woofer. For detailed highs, two models include a 6.5-inch woofer with a larger 3/4-inch soft dome pivot tweeter, available with micro-perf press grilles only. And, for the ultimate in performance and ease of installation, the A2V line also includes an in-ceiling speaker with 8-inch woofer, 3/4-inch soft dome pivot tweeter and micro-perf magnetic grille.


ProSource, a national audio, video, and integration buying group, has announced a partnership with Portal, the web-based proposal and purchasing platform for dealers through Expert Warehouse, the exclusive national distributor to ProSource members. The partnership leverages data integration with Expert Warehouse, making it easier than ever for ProSource members to propose and purchase ProSource vendor products from Expert Warehouse.

Portal collects and organizes industry product information — including pricing, availability, specifications, videos, and more — and then presents it in an intuitive, web catalog that is unique to every user. With this catalog, Portal offers a single place for dealers to research, propose, and order all of their products online. The integration to Expert Warehouse gives ProSource members access to up-to-date product data, pricing, and stock availability from the exclusive ProSource distributor.

In addition to the catalog and ordering, Portal's built-in proposal tool offers dealers an easier way to build fast, accurate proposals without having to manage the product data and pricing.

"The Expert Warehouse committee determined that a partnership with Portal was a unique opportunity to improve service to ProSource members by making it easy for members to purchase all the Expert Warehouse brands and earn additional rewards," says Dave Workman, CEO and President of ProSource. "This is a great benefit for our members and demonstrates the mutual commitment of Portal and ProSource to help both vendors and members do business with one another." 


Middle Atlantic Products, has announced that it has been awarded patent number 9,648,771 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its RSH Series 1 RU Custom Rackshelf. 

The 1 RU rackmount solution features the series' snap-together assembly that speeds up integration and a front-face design that addresses the need for quick and easy last-minute equipment installation and upgrades, and for performing ongoing system maintenance.

"At the core of Middle Atlantic's offering is the goal of optimizing the integration process with solutions that support today's evolving integrator workflow," says Keith Carney, vice president, engineering and compliance at Middle Atlantic. "The RSH 1 RU was designed with key engineering features that make this possible, and this patent identifies our commitment to ensuring that our customers have the highest quality infrastructure solutions to create the best installation experience."

Accommodating smaller devices that previously required a two-space shelf, the new single-space RSH Custom Rackshelf saves rack space, conforming to ever-changing AV needs. Its tool-less, knockdown assembly greatly simplifies installations, while its mounting capabilities ensure a clean and professional look. Because its faceplate attaches to the shelf after installation, integrators can mount the shelf with or without a component. This unique face-after design addresses the need for quick and easy last-minute equipment installation and upgrades, and for performing ongoing system maintenance.


November 13

Synaptics Incorporated, a developer of human interface solutions, has announced its AudioSmart CX21988-THX.

According to the San Jose, Calif.-based company, the product is the industry’s first USB-C audio codec solution to achieve THX Approval.

Synaptics states that by offering a THX Approved USB-C audio codec it can supply OEMs with an important building block that affords a significant head start in the development of THX Certified headphones and headsets, mobile gaming devices and other personal audio devices. 

“The key to developing a great sounding set of headphones, especially ones capable of accurately reproducing the engineered sound field of a mix, is utilizing a winning combination of professional-grade components,” says Peter Vasay, senior vice president, technology and operations, THX.

“The Synaptics AudioSmart CX21988-THX USB-C codec impressed us, as it supports high-resolution audio with best-in-class headphone performance, and boasts ultra-low distortion, and tuning options to greatly improve the performance of connected transducers. We believe it to be the ideal foundation for the development of THX Certified headphones.”


November 10

Key Digital, a manufacturer of digital video and control systems, has announced an alliance with wireless whole-house audio company Sonos

Key Digital adds Sonos Play:1, Play:3, Play:5, Playbar, Sub, Connect:AMP, and Connect to its growing list of integration products streamlined within its Compass Control Pro Partner Alliance program.   

Compass Control Pro offers modular programming or custom design with partner Alliances pre-configured control drivers, modules, and GUI templates that integrate seamlessly to save programming time.

Compass Control Pro’s bi-directional drivers with Sonos offer EQ Control, Audio Control, Playback Control, Now Playing Information (including Artist Info, Album Info, Title Info, Album Art), Music Browsing (Browse and play user music library), and Queue Control (Play/Add/Remove Queue items).


November 8

The network equipment manufacturer Luxul has announced that it is introducing its KRACK firmware updates. 

Luxul says it will starting releasing the updates in mid-November, and it will announce the updates as they become available through mechanisms that include social media. 

The updates are available here, and the updates will be issued for these products:

  • XWR-3100
  • XWR-1200
  • XAP-1510
  • XAP-1410
  • XAP-310
  • XAP-1240
  • XAP-1500
  • XAP-1210
  • XAP-1230

 


November 7

Media Solutions has announced that ANIXTER Canada, a global supplier of communications, network and security systems, will now offer its products.  


November 6

Wisdom Audio, a designer and manufacturer of loudspeaker systems, has announced the launch of its newly redesigned website. The company says its newly redesigned site provides visitors with a new way to experience the technology behind its audio systems and get the technical information they need for any installation.

"We've always gone the extra mile to arm our customers with the information they need to better understand audio and its relationship to the space they're installing our solutions in," says Luc Guillaume, managing director, Wisdom Audio. "The new website delivers those same great learning resources, but adds visually rich content that makes it even easier and faster to get the information and support they need to select the right audio solution for the job. This is just another step in reinforcing the exceptional quality and experience behind the engineering of Wisdom Audio's technology."


November 3


CoreBrands has notified integrators and homeowners that the issue that caused some BlueBOLT users to experience reboot errors with their BlueBOLT-enabled devices has been corrected. 

The company advises integrators that in order to reactivate auto-reboot they must be at the device level and click on the Device Admin tab.  On this page integrators can modify the auto-reboot settings in the Auto-Reboot Configuration field.


November 2

BlueDog Data Services, a provider of comprehensive data management services supporting the tools, processes, and standards necessary for integrators, has announced reduced pricing to new and existing customers.

Effective immediately, customers can take advantage of BlueDog’s Database Management and Administration for D-Tools at a fraction of the cost of hosting and managing their D-Tools catalog internally.  For companies that do not have full-time data management staff, the BlueDog Data Services Plus Program features a fully-managed product and labor catalog starting at $250 per month. For companies with full-time data management staff and a high-level of customization requirements, the Essentials Package offers a non-managed product and labor catalog starting at $200 per month.

Both programs include proposal and engineering ready data with Amazon Web Services server hosting, OS and D-Tools updates, database backup, and much more. The one-time setup fee for both plans has also been reduced to $1,299 and $999 respectively.

“Recently, D-Tools announced a sample of BlueDog’s Managed Product and Labor Catalog would be available in every free trial of D-Tools SI 2017,” states Curt Hayes, chief executive officer, BlueDog Data Services. “With this increased exposure and our increased efficiency, we have decided to make an aggressive move to lower our pricing to our loyal and valued customers and make our services easily accessible to any integrators using the D-Tools software platform.” 


The projection screen manufacturer Screen Innovations (SI) was founded in 2003, now in its 14th year of business the company has diversified its product portfolio with a complete selection of screen products and shaeds. 

Addressing the way dealers and consumers interact with the company, SI has revamped its website. SI explains that by creating an entirely new online presence with simplified browsing by category, an all-new Dealer Dashboard, and a custom quoting system for consumers utilizing SI’s Online Screen Builder Tool, potential orders are sent to the nearest dealer for a quote and direct response to the consumer.

“This represents a huge step forward in the quoting process for all of our dealers,” says Skyler Meek, director of marketing, SI. “Instead of sending thousands of customers into a black hole, we are gathering valuable data on what they are looking for, packaging it up, and then presenting that data to the nearest dealer as a pre-configured quote, which then can be submitted as an order in their Dealer Dashboard. What used to be a five-step process is now only two.”


November 1

Audio Authority states that as the audio market continues to evolve it has discontinued many of its custom integration products that longer fit current market trends. Keeping pace on the sales side of the audio business, the company has announced that as of Nov. 15, its audio and video products will be available by phone order only.

The Ky.-based company emphasizes that support and downloads will still be available on its website to aid integrators. 


CasaTunes, a whole-house audio equipment manufacturer has announced that CasaTunes music can now be controlled by Lutron lighting control devices, including RadioRA 2 and HomeWorks QS system keypads, Pico wireless controls, and timer events. According to CasaTunes, its newly announced Lutron integration makes it easier for homeowners to access and control their music.  CasaTunes integration is available on CasaTunes music servers.

Using the CasaTunes App, users configure a CasaTunes action to take place when a Lutron keypad button is pressed, or a timeclock event occurs.  Actions include powering rooms, changing the volume, rotating through sources, songs and playlists, and various transport controls, such as playing and pausing music.  To simplify setup, CasaTunes automatically discovers all Lutron keypads and timeclock events, and updates this information whenever the Lutron configuration changes.

“Our business focus at CasaTunes is providing integration and support for connected home technology our dealers are installing,” says David Krinker, president, CasaTunes. “Our integration with Lutron systems makes it really easy for homeowners to use one or more of their Lutron keypads as alternate or complementary control devices, and leverage the timeclock events to automate listening to their music.”


Draper has released an updated window shade price list for commercial and residential
AV dealers.

In addition to updated pricing, the price list includes information on the company's FlexShade
Recharge, which is Draper’s rechargeable battery-operated shade that debuted earlier this year.

The Recharge, which received a CI Best InfoComm award from Commercial Integrator Magazine, features simple installation, similar to a manual window shade.  With long-lasting charges, the FlexShade Recharge battery is hidden safely inside the roller tube and can be recharged from a 110-volt outlet or an optional solar panel. FlexShade Recharge is quiet and provides a reliable, versatile motorized shade without additional wiring.

The new price list is available for download here.

Draper has also announced it is joining forces with Herman Integration Services to provide project management, field measuring and verification for every shade, installation services, and programming and integration experience.

Dealers will still contact Draper for a quote and get basic sales training from the company. Once a dealer has the quote, the dealer can contact Herman for pricing on everything from field verification to installation and programming explains Draper.  


Just Add Power (J+P), a manufacturer of Ultra HD over IP solutions, is now offering integrators an inside look at all the solutions introduced at CEDIA 2017 in a custom web-based 3D booth experience. The versatile demonstration showcases J+P's Wall Plate Transmitter with the new Plug-Play-Present control firmware built in, 3G+4+ Tiling Transmitter, and the Switch Please web-based control application, as well as the video wall capabilities available within the Ultra HD over IP platform.

"Trade shows can be overwhelming for our customers. There's a lot of information and demonstrations that would be really useful after the show is over," says Taft Stricklin, sales team manager, Just Add Power. "With our new 3D booth tour, installers can access the same compelling content, including product videos and application information, that was available within our booth at CEDIA. It's just another innovative way we're supporting installers as they make critical infrastructure decisions for their projects."


October 27

Kwikset, a brand that is part of the Hardware and Home Improvement (HHI) division of Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., has teamed up with Amazon to offer renters and homeowners two smart lock solutions to choose from when purchasing an Amazon Key In-Home Kit. 

Amazon Key is a new service from Amazon that allows Prime members in 37 cities and surrounding areas across the U.S. to receive in-home delivery and grant secure home access for guests using the Amazon Cloud Cam and a compatible smart lock.

Kwikset Convert, a smart lock conversion kit, and Kwikset SmartCode 914, a touchpad smart lock, and are two options that customers can choose from when purchasing an Amazon Key In-Home Kit.


October 26

Kaleidescape has announced that movies from Paramount Pictures are now available on the Kaleidescape Movie Store in 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range (HDR) and lossless Dolby Atmos soundtracks, as well as Blu-ray quality.

Seventeen of Paramount’s titles are available now, including Arrival and Fences, Transformers: The Last Knight, the spy drama Allied, the family-friendly Monster Trucks and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and more.

Upcoming additions will include Paramount’s iconic franchises such as Indiana JonesStar Trek, and The Godfather, plus classics like Chinatown and Sunset Boulevard.


October 25

DISH has introduced its Hands-Free TV for the entire home by extending its support of Amazon Alexa voice control to all Joey clients. Now, DISH customers can ask Alexa to control all TVs in the Hopper whole-home ecosystem by pairing each set-top box with an Amazon Echo, Echo Show or Echo Dot. In April 2017, DISH became the first pay-TV provider to natively integrate Alexa voice control when it enabled compatibility on its Hopper DVR and Wally single-tuner HD receiver.

When connected to a Hopper, DISH’s Joey clients extend Hopper functionality to other rooms in the home. Hopper 3 supports up to six Joeys simultaneously, while previous Hopper generations support up to three Joeys.

“DISH is again championing TV voice control, this time by extending our Alexa compatibility to create a more fully-integrated experience throughout the home,” explains Niraj Desai, vice president of product management, DISH. “Our customers now have the freedom to ask Alexa for help finding shows and movies in every room where their families enjoy watching TV.”

With its latest announcement, DISH’s list of Alexa-compatible products includes Hopper (all generations) and its Joey, Wireless Joey, 4K Joey and Super Joey clients, as well as DISH’s Wally single-tuner HD receiver. To enable Alexa voice control, each DISH set-top box must be paired with its own Echo device.


Lyngdorf has released a software update for the Lyngdorf Audio MP-50 surround sound processor which will offer full support of the latest DTS:X formats, including DTS Neural:X post processing and DTS Dialog Control. This means the MP-50 processor will support all the major contenders in the immersive surround sound market such as Dolby Atmos  and AURO-3D.
 
"At Lyngdorf Audio, we are very excited to support DTS:X," says Thomas Birkelund, CEO, Steinway Lyngdorf.

In addition, the company says new software has been released for the TDAI-2170 that fixes some fixes, including updates to the HDMI protocols for passing HDR from Apple TV 4K.


Western Electric Select, a division of Western Electric, has announced that Western Electric Select is now the distributor for Gauder Akustik, which is a speaker company based in Renningen, Germany. The Western Electric website offers direct sales of four select Gauder Akustik speaker systems in various configurations and finishes; the Arcona 100, the Cassiano MK II, the Berlina RC 7 MK II and the magnificent Berlina RC 11.

Designed by Dr. Roland Gauder, the speakers are engineered through the latest computer design processes with the goal of providing low distortion and wide dynamics. 

All Gauder Akustik speakers are equipped with an adjustable room equalization systems.


DAS Companies Inc., a Mid-Atlantic distributor, has been selected to represent additional
territories by Sony Electronics. This strategic change provides additional territory and now makes DAS the “exclusive” authorized SONY car audio distributor for the Mid-Atlantic.

Effective immediately, DAS has added Northern New Jersey, the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County, New York to its existing Southern New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia territories.


October 24

DTS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation, has announced Amazon Music support via DTS Play-Fi with added music search functionality and further global expansion beyond the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan into France, Italy and Spain.

Amazon Music customers can now search by station, playlist, album and song on their DTS Play-Fi devices. Additionally, DTS Play-Fi users will be able to enjoy their “My Music” libraries via the Amazon Music app across DTS Play-Fi wireless multi-room music systems, regardless of brand. DTS Play-Fi support for “My Music” is effective on the same date as the rollout of Amazon Music via DTS Play-Fi. Availability in additional countries will continue throughout 2017 and 2018.


The Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) Association, an industry group dedicated to bringing high resolution, wireless, multi-channel audio products to the home theater market, has announced the video gaming brand Xbox as its newest member.

This summer, Xbox introduced its Xbox One X system, along with a diverse selection of games to support its latest gaming console.

WiSA Association says it welcomes Xbox as its first video gaming brand and making it part of the wireless multichannel audio movement.

The association states that by joining the group Xbox has put itself in a position of direct access to current member brands with the goal of delivering simple and powerful audio solutions.

WiSA adds that by creating an immersive audio experience that sets up in minutes through the integration of WiSA technology will place gamers in the center of the action easier than ever before and create an entirely new and elevated gaming experience.

“We are excited to welcome Xbox and have them work alongside our speaker brand members to increase the in-market system offerings that can be created through the interoperability of WiSA technology,” says Tony Ostrom, president of WiSA. “Xbox delivers a fantastic gaming experience with premier audio alongside a significant amount of content into the homes of consumers, including TV shows, movies and music. Together, we can create simple high-performance audio solutions through the integration of high definition wireless audio for all Xbox fans.”


DTS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation, has announced the availability of the Phorus PS10 ($249), the first DTS Play-Fi enabled wireless speaker with Amazon Alexa Voice Service. 

The Phorus PS10’s built-in far-field microphone array allows users to access information, play music, and control other home automation devices via the Amazon Alexa Voice Service.  With the inclusion of DTS Play-Fi technology, the PS10 can connect to more than 200 DTS Play-Fi-compatible products to form an Alexa-powered whole-home audio system, regardless of brand.


Dynaudio recently launched its Cinema Master 60 high-end home theater loudspeakers at the 2017 CEDIA Expo in San Diego, where the company partnered up with companies, including Datasat, JL Audio, Barco, Wireworld, and Russ Berger Design Group to showcase the Cinema Master 60s in a home theater system. Less than two months after the premiere at CEDIA, the first full Cinema Master demo system in the world has now been installed and is on active display at Boca Theater & Automation in Boca Raton, Fla.

The newly conceived demo system features a partnership with Datasat for the use of Datasat's RS20i processor and RA2400 and RA7300 amplifiers. Dynaudio points out that Boca Theater & Automation basically replicated the Cinema Master system Dynaudio showcased at CEDIA in its showroom, and will be unveiling the new Cinema Master system as part of their two-year anniversary event on Oct. 30, 2017.

The global audio manufacturer adds, that because many integrators in the Florida region were unable to attend CEDIA due to hurricane Irma, Boca Theater & Automation is also using its anniversary to make the Cinema Master demo system available to those who were unable to make it to San Diego this year.

The Dynaudio Cinema Master system is designed to serve as a professional-grade home cinema system for both films and music. Dealers interested in experiecing the Boca Theater & Automation demo system can click here for details


October 23

Phase Technology, an American loudspeaker manufacturer, has been awarded a new patent (#15265773) on its new Bass Extending Technology for architectural speakers.  Phase Tech’s two new in-wall models, the CI120 and CI130 incorporate the patented technology. 

The new technology extends bass lower than an acoustic suspension or bass reflex in-wall or in-ceiling speaker in the same size enclosure. Phase Technology explains that in-wall and in-ceiling speakers generally have rear enclosures that are too small to produce low bass. With this technology advancement, a speaker with the same size rear enclosure will have bass output that extends up to one octave lower than a comparable speaker.    

Phase Technology points out that its Bass Extending Technology provides two solutions: It incorporates a back box to reduce sound transmission to an adjacent room and lowers the resonance of the speaker. 

“This is a real-world problem solving advancement for achieving deeper bass while reducing sound transmission through the rear wall of the room.” says Ken Hecht, vice president of research and development, MSE Audio. “The patent bass extending hybrid enclosure design produces much deeper bass compared
 


October 19

PowerHouse Alliance has announced a list of new vendors: Samsung, eero, Luma and MSE Audio, including its six audio brands (Induction Dynamics, Phase Tech, Rockustics, Solid Drive, Soundsphere, and Soundtube). 

“Homeowners are starting to focus on entertainment, which requires better video, stronger wireless capabilities and audio quality. Adding these new lines responds to market needs so dealers are equipped to provide solutions suiting any home,” says Dennis Holzer, executive director, PowerHouse Alliance. “Luma, eero, MSE Audio, and Samsung’s lines vastly expand the breadth of offerings from PowerHouse, making our members even more so a one-stop shop for all AV and networking needs.”


The networking company Luxul has announced several product firmware updates:

Luxul ABR-4500 router version 6.0 firmware offers improvements for these items:

  • Internet monitoring and recovery of WAN interface
  • Removed the “Hidden Beta Page” and added an “Advanced” menu to the administration submenu
  • Added the import setting to the backup/recovery option
  • Improved the VLAN setup, editing and deleting options on the VLAN Page

Luxul is also offering a firmware update for its XMS-1010P PoE switch (v1.0.0.3), and its XFS-1816P PoE switch (v1.0.0.5).

To check out all of Luxul's firmware updates click here.


Skywalker AV Supply has completely revamped its website. The new site delivers a contemporary look and feel with enhanced shopping and navigation features.

Skywalker AV explains the overhaul of its online store is designed to offer users clean aesthetics and a comprehensive browsing layout that organizes Skywalker’s more than 6,000 SKUs.

The expanded, easy-to-tap category and product display interface is increasingly compatible for the on-the-go custom integrator’s mobile needs.

According to Skywalker AV Supply’s leadership team, the objective of the revamp is to create a more streamlined user experience.

“After winning three consecutive Quest for Quality awards for our website, I couldn't be more proud of our team. They've put in countless hours to develop what we believe is the best website in the industry,” says Randy Criebaum, president of Skywalker AV Supply. 


October 17

Key Digital, a manufacturer of digital video and control systems, has added four Lutron systems to its list of integration products within Compass Control Partner Alliance program. Lutron’s Caséta, HomeWorks, HomeWorks QS, and RadioRa2 are now available as bi-directional drivers and modules with the ease of plug-n-play that Key Digital integrators and programmers expect and appreciate.

Key Digital manufactures a wide range of digital video processing and video signal distribution solutions, as well as the first fully integrated control system built from the ground up to use iOS and Android, Compass Control.  Compass Control offers modular programming or custom design with a blank slate that is limited only by imagination, and now control drivers and pre-configured GUI templates instantly integrate to cut down on programming time thanks to the Partner Alliance program.

All four of the Lutron systems included with Key Digital’s Compass Control bi-directional modules are desirable in any application where lighting, shade, and thermostats need to be controlled from a smart device. 


Middle Atlantic Products has announced a new website design. The new site adds functionality and navigation options that make it more responsive to allow customers to quickly find information on to aid their buying decisions. 

"While our previous website design certainly served as a great foundation for delivering our most popular tools and resources, we knew we could make it even better," says Rebeca Villareale, marketing manager at Middle Atlantic. "Working with customers, our marketing and digital operations teams created a more user-friendly, intuitive interface. With these new enhancements, the site aligns with our vision of delivering a positive customer experience."

This redesign makes the site fully responsive, providing users with convenient access to all the features and capabilities, whether they are working from a PC or mobile device.


Vivint Smart Home, a North American smart home services provider, has announced that its smart home system now works with Philips Hue

Integrators or their customers can manage Philips Hue products from Vivint Smart Home's SkyControl panel or Vivint Smart Home mobile app. The app enables users to create custom lighting schedules for rooms, floors or entire homes, including having the Philips Hue lights on to imitate home occupancy while away.

Customers can control their Philips Hue lighting with their voice by commanding their Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices, as well.

“At Vivint Smart Home, we’re committed to making it easy for our customers to create the smart home they want,” says Jeremy Warren, chief technology officer at Vivint Smart Home. “We’re excited to add the Philips Hue connected lighting system to the Vivint experience, and provide our customers with more ways to make their homes safer and easier to manage.”


KEF has announced the addition of Spotify Connect to the LS50W as part of a firmware and app update release.

The global audio company says that now over 30 million Spotify songs can be streamed straight to the LS50W through the firmware and app release (Firmware 1.1.4 and App 1.4), and Spotify Premium account members can directly stream Spotify’s entire library without interruption.

KEF also points out that listeners can watch videos, play games, answer phone calls and more without having to pause or interrupt their music. KEF emphasizes that music will continue to play once the updates are implemented even if the listener leaves the room or goes out of range.


Once the Spotify Connect is running on the LS50W via the user’s Spotify Premium account, the Spotify app on the user’s smart device becomes a dedicated Spotify remote control.

Also included in this update release is the ability to swap the Master speaker from the right channel to the left facilitating user setups where cabling and other issues demand the Master speaker be placed on the left of the pair.


RTI, a global control and automation manufacturer for residential and commercial settings, has announced a two-way driver for the complete line of DoorBird IP Video Door Stations. Developed by RTI, the new driver allows integrators to easily program DoorBird IP Video Door Stations into RTI automation and control systems, adding convenient and safe door access at home and from anywhere.

"Having intercom capabilities at all of the entry points of a home provides a truly enhanced level of convenience and safety for the homeowner," says Mike Everett, vice president of sales and marketing, Americas, RTI. "With the new DoorBird IP Video Door Station driver, RTI dealers can integrate up to 12 stations into an RTI system, allowing users to answer the door and control the device conveniently alongside the rest of their smart home systems."

The two-way DoorBird IP Video Door Station driver provides programming of events for connected, disconnected, doorbell, door open, and motion. This allows the RTI control system to execute commands based on these events. For example, using an RTI user interface, users can turn on lights, unlock doors, and adjust microphone and speaker levels. It also provides system status of each station by name. Intercom capabilities between DoorBird and RTI devices can be enabled using the SIP protocol. In addition, RTI's MJPEG Video driver is set to handle video intercom capabilities.


October 16

According to the service provider Dish, more than 20 million people tuned into the NBA finals this past June as the Golden State Warriors took on the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

As a new generation of basketball takes over the league the Colo.-based company says that more fans are tuning in to games to catch all the action, and to help foster interest in the NBA it is offering free previews of NBA TV and NBA League Pass from Oct. 17-24.

NBA TV (Channel 156)

In addition to airing regular season games, NBA TV features team and game analysis, NBA documentaries, regular season WNBA coverage and NBA playoff broadcasts. 

NBA League Pass (Channel 5000-5061, Hopper Channel 470)

NBA League Pass features up to 40 live games from around the league each week. This means Celtic fans in California can follow the newly reconstructed team that's led by Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward challenge Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, or Los Angeles Laker fans in New York watch their favorite team from the East Coast. 


October 13

ControlWorks has released a module allowing Crestron control systems to control DoorBird IP Door Stations. Available for download now on controlworks.com, Crestron technology partners and Crestron services providers can now fully integrate the complete line of DoorBird IP door stations with Crestron solutions, according to ControlWorks.

The module enables two-way SIP voice communication, camera viewing, control of the door release relay, and much more. In addition, status reporting for doorbell button presses and motion allow for extensive custom programming capabilities.

Available as a free download for temporary testing, permanent activation of the module requires only a low activation fee per DoorBird. As with all ControlWorks products complete support is available to any licensed Integrator, and the DoorBird module comes complete with documentation to ensure successful deployment of the module as well as an example program.

“We are excited about the new integration possibilities that ControlWorks provides with their DoorBird module for Crestron dealers” says Sandra Finn, Head of Sales And Marketing, Bird Home Automation Group. 

 


October 12

Catalyst AV Distribution Network with 11 distributors in 27 locations, has announced a partnership with, AVProConnect a brand of A/V connectivity products and Murideo, a brand of HDMI testing and troubleshooting products.


AVProConnect offers a wide range of HDMI extenders with HDBaseT technology. Murideo features such products as the Fresco Six-G HDMI testing and calibration tool.

We launched the relationship during CEDIA 2017 in San Diego and have been working
with all the Catalyst AV distributors to get them up and running. We specialize in HDMI and HDBaseT video signal distribution, home theater/custom residential AV installations and testing and troubleshooting HDMI signals and our entire team is thrilled with our new Catalyst AV relationship,” says Tom Devine, marketing AVProConnect, 
  


October 11

DISH has added The Weather Channel’s Local Now app to its Hopper, Wally and Joey set-top boxes (STBs) to provide customers with 24/7 access to local news, traffic and weather reports from their respective communities.


October 10

Skywalker AV Supply, a national distributor serving the custom integration industry, has
announced an agreement with Pioneer to distribute its products.

Pioneer was founded in 1938 and has since grown to international stature as a manufacturer of audio and video products for use at home, in the car and in business environments. Skywalker AV Supply will be focusing on Pioneer’s AV distribution products for residential applications, adding even more variety to its selection of home theater products.

“Pioneer is a brand that's earned the trust of both installers and consumers alike,” says Randy Criebaum, president of Skywalker AV Supply. “They continue to innovate and create products we all love. We're very excited for the opportunity to provide Pioneer and Pioneer Elite products to our dealers.”


October 6

Onkyo Music, a hi-res music download service and a large source of MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) Hi-Res audio, has announced several exclusive Hi-Res distribution agreements with several Japanese music labels, including FixRecords, MAGES (5bp) and Falcom. 

In addition, Onkyo Music has agreed non-exclusive European distribution rights for music from Lantis.  Availability of this content in the United States will be announced at a later date.

With MQA gathering traction daily, Onkyo Music is now one of the largest sources of music using the new digital audio technology.  Users can currently select from a library comprising in excess of 16,000 MQA tracks, with more constantly being added.

Along with the exclusive agreements, Onkyo Music as also made improvements to the site to dramatically facilitate content discovery and curation.  Changes include:

  • A cleaner, faster and easier interface for more intuitive navigation
  • New visual SAYT (Suggest As You Type) functionality
  • Highlighting when MQA content is an available option
  • Better filtering and sorting across sections;
  • Improved layout logic to cater for those seeking Hi-Res content
  • Clear identification of albums and singles on artist pages
  • Breadcrumbs’ integration for improved site navigation

Nativ has announced a major software update for its Nativ Vita High-Resolution Music Player and Touchscreen control center.

“The latest update takes full advantage of the state-of-the-art hardware platform and the 11.6” Touchscreen of the Nativ Vita.” says Rice Chu, vice president, engineering and co-founder of Nativ. “Many of the new features are especially great for audiophiles with extensive digital music libraries and high-resolution content.”

Nativ's updates includes:

Metadata Editing: The Nativ Vita complies with all major metadata standards, and now allows users to conveniently edit their music information with the 11.6-inch touchscreen.

Advanced Search: Users can now search their library with a variety of parameters — for example all rock music in high-resolution quality, added in the last month and rated as a favorite. 

DSD256 and DXD Support: The Nativ Vita now supports DSD up to 11.2896/12.288 MHz (Quad-DSD), DXD and PCM up 32-bit/384kHz.

Full-Screen Album Cover View: A new cover view mode takes advantage of the full screen real estate. A simple tap on an album artwork displays track list and other useful information for each album.


October 5

Kaleidescape has announced that 4K HDR movies from Twentieth Century Fox are now available on the Kaleidescape Movie Store. Kaleidescape delivers these movies in the finest video quality available for home cinema, and with lossless multichannel soundtracks. They can be played on any Kaleidescape Strato or Strato C movie player.

Twentieth Century Fox brings a growing lineup of 4K HDR titles to the store, including The Martian and The Revenant, Deadpool, Logan, X-Men and Maze Runner franchises.

By the end of the year Kaleidescape expects to add 15 more 4K HDR titles from Twentieth Century Fox library. 


Klipsch, a global audio company and wholly owned subsidiary of VOXX International Corporation, has announced its exclusive home theater speaker, soundbar, and headphone partnership for the home entertainment release of the movie War for the Planet of the Apes on Digital (Oct. 10) and Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Atmos (Oct. 24). The partnership includes a “Klipsch x War for the Planet of the Apes Sweepstakes” promotion.  

The Sweepstakes in the United States from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30, 2017 on Klipsch.com and its social media channels. Entrants can sign up at Klipsch.com/Apes for the chance to win a grand prize package consisting of a Klipsch Reference Premiere HD Wireless 5.1 system, as well as the War for the Planet of the Apes Blu-ray prize pack that features a hat, travel bag, and t-shirt.

The partnership between Klipsch and War for the Planet of the Apes follows in the footsteps of Klipsch’s successful promotions with three Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment properties: LoganX-Men: Apocalypse, and Deadpool.


Dirac Research, a developer of optimized audio technologies, has announced a partnership with Symphonova, which is an orchestra that blends 12 classical soloists with a digital audio system comprised of custom-configured Symphonova Instrumental Loudspeakers, a gestural-based Symphonova Wand, and Dirac Live room correction technology.

Symphonova’s human-machine integration produces a concert hall-caliber symphonic sound and experience with only a fraction of the ensemble – 12 soloists – and in any space, regardless of its acoustical imperfections, such as the cavernous ballroom of a 15th-ce


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