Press Release

Product Briefs: Atlona, Josh.ai; Luxul Self Healing; Naim adds AirPlay 2; PS Audio OS; SnapAV

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


Product Briefs: Atlona, Josh.ai; Luxul Self Healing; Naim adds AirPlay 2; PS Audio OS; SnapAV
CE Pro Editors · November 13, 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


Nov. 13

Atlona is extending the reach of its whole-home AV systems into the residential and light commercial markets through a new partnership with Josh.ai, an industry leader in artificial intelligence for the home. The complete solution integrates Josh voice control platforms with Atlona HDR-H2H and PRO3 Series HDMI-to-HDBaseT matrix switchers. The simple configuration-based setup processes allow installersto offer intelligent, high-quality distributed AV for connected homes and small businesses.

According to Josh.ai CEO Alex Capecelatro, the partnership brings Josh full circle as a control and automation solution for luxury homes, restaurants and other facilities aiming to channel video and audio content from room to room. Prior to the Atlona partnership, many Josh installations were deployed to serve standalone AV systems in specific rooms, and/or programmed with macros from other control systems to channel media throughout various zones.

The Josh platform will self-discover the Atlona switcher on the network upon connection, accelerating the deployment process for custom installers and systems integrators. From this point, HDMI inputs and outputs are mapped and configured, with all connections clearly arranged by number on the Josh interface. Once live, users can move from room to room and request to watch or listen to content, with Josh’s room-aware microphone “hearing” the request, which is then processed within the platform. The Atlona matrix switcher then executes the appropriate signal flow.


To reduce service calls and deliver additional benefits for clients, Luxul, a manufacturer of IP networking solutions, has announced self-healing capabilities for select managed network switches. Available via a free upgrade to firmware version 4.1.1 or greater, the new functionality empowers integrators with two advanced features: Auto-Recovery and Power Scheduling.

Luxul's self-healing capability is currently available on the company's 12-port/8 PoE+ AMS-1208P, 26-port/24 PoE+ stackable L2/L3 AMS-4424P, 26-port/24 PoE+ AMS-2624P, 26-port/24 PoE+ XMS-2624P, 52-port PoE+ L2/L3 XMS-5248P, and 52-port stackable L2/L3 XMS-7048. With Auto-Recovery, devices connected to these switches by PoE no longer need to be manually rebooted when they fall offline or become unresponsive; the configuration in the switch triggers PoE-connected devices to reboot automatically. And with Power Scheduling, integrators can now trigger the switches to power PoE-connected devices on or off based on any schedule they create within the switch.

"With Self-Healing, we're amping up the performance of Luxul switches to an entirely new level," says Mike Grubb, vice president of marketing at Luxul. "Imagine never getting another call about security cameras or other PoE-connected devices freezing up; your clients' switches will take care of them automatically. Furthermore, it's effortless to schedule devices to power down overnight, over the weekend, or whenever your clients request it. All it takes to realize these benefits is a free firmware update."


Nov. 12

Naim Audio, a British hi-fi manufacturer, is adding support for Apple AirPlay 2 to its wireless multi-room speaker Mu-so range. Apple AirPlay 2 enables advanced multi-room functionality and Siri voice control, with the Mu-so, Mu-so Special Edition and Mu-so Qb receiving the over-the-air update. Naim Audio’s Uniti range, including the Uniti Atom, Uniti Star and Uniti Nova will receive an Apple AirPlay 2 update in late November 2018.

Drawing on 45 years of expertise in audio engineering, industrial design and streaming technology, the Mu-so, Mu-so Special Edition and Mu-so Qb combine the company's latest designs with high-quality audio. 

Support for Apple’s wireless proprietary technology allows the streaming of music – including Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, YouTube, internet radio and podcasts – from an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac computer and Apple TV to a compatible Naim device. Once the update becomes available, the Naim app will prompt customers to perform an over-the-air update.


PS Audio has announced the availability of Snowmass, the sixth OS upgrade for its DirectStream DAC.

Ted Smith, PS Audio collaborator and lead designer of the DirectStream and DSJ DACs, has periodically written new OS, which reconfigures the basic structure of the DACs. The FPGA-based architecture of those models allows integrators to download new operating systems to update their clients' DACs in the field.

“For Snowmass, I rewrote the FPGA code that upsampled lower rates of PCM to 352.8k [or 394k, depending]. I wanted to get better control of the times at which things happened, in order to have more control of noise generated, and of the jitter generated by the FPGA. I could also get a better balance of FPGA resources needed to do the filtering. In the old upsampler, I got about 144dB S/N in the upsampling, in the new code I have about 156dB S/N," says Smith. 

"Lowering noise and jitter makes everything better---352.8k PCM and DSD will also have a quieter background and essentially everything else mentioned, but perhaps not with the magnitude of improvement heard with CD."


Nov. 9

Two of the biggest names in custom electronics have partnered: SnapAV and Nest Pro

SnapAV now offers professional integrators a choice of Nest thermostats, video doorbells and cameras, security products and voice control solutions from Google. 

In addition, Nest products work with devices from top companies such as Lutron, Philips, Vivint, LifX and Yale to help integrators deliver complete smart-home systems. 

To learn more about becoming a Nest Pro dealer click here


Nov. 5

Denon and Marantz have announced new firmware updates that add new features that include:

eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel): A feature introduced for HDMI 2.1, eARC will allow for additional formats to be transported including the below. Moreover, eARC includes a mandatory information channel telling the TV which sound formats are supported by the AVR so that the TV outputs best possible format automatically.

  • Dolby Digital Plus (up to 7.1 channel)
  • Dolby TrueHD (up to 7.1 channel)
  • Dolby Atmos
  • DTS-HD High Resolution Audio (up to 7.1 channel)
  • DTS-HD Master Audio (up to 7.1 channel)
  • DTS:X

IMAX Enhanced: The Denon AVR-X8500 and Marantz AV8805 will be the first receivers equipped with IMAX Enhanced technology. As IMAX Enhanced content becomes available, owners of these products will have access to advanced audio and visual formats. The IMAX platform provides adjustments modeled on how the IMAX theatrical sound system operates, including an IMAX audio mix that is translated for home theater environments, and exclusively delivered using a special variant of the DTS:X codec.

Smart Remote Management (SRM) and Web UI: Audio, video, speaker and input functionalities will support via web UI for the Denon AVR-X8500H, Marantz AV8805, and Marantz SR8012.

Denon and Marantz add, this Web UI and remote monitoring and management are made available by the ihiji invision and Domotz pro monitoring platforms. 


Oct. 31

The new Kaleidescape app allows users to browse for movies and purchase content. 

According to the entertainment service provider, the app is designed for easy navigation through featurs such as gesture control, and its interface is synched with the onscreen information that homeowners see when they use their Kaleidescape systems. 

Kaleidescape says the app is available on the iOS platform for use with iPhones and iPads. 


Oct. 30

VIZIO, Inc., has announced the rollout of all-new features to its smart TV experience: SmartCast Home. The expanded functionalities allow users to access more entertainment through new apps like CBS All Access and personalize their SmartCast Home experience via the all-new App Sorting feature.  Users can sort and reposition their favorite apps to enable quicker access to those most commonly used. The latest iteration of SmartCast Home debuts today and is rolling out via free cloud-based updates to VIZIO SmartCast 4K Ultra HD TVs and displays, as well as select HD and Full HD models.

“VIZIO continues to fulfill consumer demands by way of free, rolling cloud-based updates that enable new, intuitive smart TV features via VIZIO SmartCast,” says Bill Baxter, chief technology officer, VIZIO. “With versatility, simplicity and value in mind, VIZIO SmartCast is an ever-evolving entertainment solution. Everyday users, cord-cutters and smart home enthusiasts alike are able to continuously receive new features, the latest apps, and other beneficial enhancements that help ensure they are getting the most out of their viewing experience.”


Capitol, a national consumer electronics distribution source for residential systems and light commercial contractors, has announced it is kicking off the holiday selling season with distribution of its November flyer that features products representing the smart home, audio, video, and networking categories. 

The flyer is a Capitol tradition. Among the top-shelf brands included this year are Nest, Ring, LeakSmart, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, and LG.

“This holiday season Smart Home leads the pack, thanks in part to the abundance of well-designed, easy-to-use products introduced over the past year,” says Curt Hayes, president and CFO, Capitol. “Companies like LeakSmart are paving the way for innovators who are tying non-traditional categories such as home plumbing into the home network, with designs that are reliable and easy to master."


Oct. 26

D-Tools, Inc., a global developer of data-driven system integration software, has announced a new update to its on-premises System Integrator 2018 (SI 2018) software release: SI 2018 R1.

Available immediately worldwide, SI 2018 R1 adds new productivity features and enhancements that enable system integrators and technology managers to streamline their business processes and increase profitability, while simultaneously reducing overhead and improving project accuracy. SI 2018 R1 offers efficiency improvements in virtually every functional area of the software, including catalog management, projects and reporting, as well as enhancements to the D-Tools Customer Portal, multiple currency support, and third-party integration for automatic tax lookup.

A closer look at the some of the features available with the update include:

  • Avalara Tax Integration
  • Multiple Currency Support
  • Customer Portal Enhancements
  • DPI Detection
  • Client and Customer Updates
  • Product Pricing Enhancement
  • Eport Custom Layout

Oct. 25

Brilliant, a company bringing decentralized home control and automation to consumers, including options for voice and touch control, has announced that it has expanded its suite of controls to include August Smart Lock, a provider of smart and secure front door solutions.

Integrating with August Home brings Brilliant users more convenience and remote control over their homes. Users can lock and unlock their door directly from specific rooms on their Brilliant Control or on the go with their Mobile App. They can also set up August as part of their home automation scenes.


Building on the successful introduction of its Palladiom Shading System, lighting and shade control leader Lutron Electronics is introducing two new bracket finishes. The addition of satin brass and dark bronze rounds out the current Palladiom bracket offering of satin nickel, black anodized, clear anodized and pure white finishes.

The Palladiom Shading System is an exposed bracket system designed for luxury residences. Introduced in 2017 at CEDIA Expo the system is offered through select Lutron dealers specializing in shading solutions for luxury clientele. 

“With its highly crafted exposed hardware and whisper-quiet motors, the elegant Palladiom
Shading System is the pinnacle of Lutron’s industry-leading window treatments,” says Ed Blair,
executive vice president, Lutron. “These new additions reinforce Palladiom’s reputation as the
go-to choice for designer shading solutions.”


Oct. 23

Centralite Systems, Inc., a manufacturer of reliable, wirelessly connected devices based on the Zigbee home automation platform, has announced that its 3-Series Micro Motion Sensor and Micro Door Sensor have been certified to work with Echo Plus, Amazon’s popular voice assistant. 

Amazon recently added support for motion and door sensors to Echo Plus; with this announcement, Centralite becomes one of only two hardware partners whose sensors have been designated as “Works with Alexa” devices in connection with Echo Plus.  

Because Centralite’s sensors are Zigbee-based, and Echo Plus has built-in ZigBee capability, no third-party hub is required; both sensors can be easily integrated directly into Echo Plus.


Oct. 18

Simpfony LLC has announces the addition of wireless zones to the Simpfony whole-home audio solution. All Simpfony S2 models can now utilize Apple AirPlay-compatible devices as wireless zones, complementing the existing selection of high-resolution wired zone options. This enhancement is immediately available via a simple software update at no additional cost. The option can be used for hard-to-reach areas where pulling wire is difficult or impossible, and once updated, all wireless devices are full-fledged zones, providing all the functionality of wired zones with the convenience of wireless. 


Legrand, North & Central America and Lumileds have announced a partnership agreement that will bring to market a simple an easy-to-install plug-and-play solution that delivers tunable-white light. Under this agreement, Lumileds will provide intelligent light sources (LUXEON-based solutions) through its award-winning Matrix Platform that are uniquely characterized and programmed to work with Legrand’s Wattstopper blanco  tunable white logic modules within the Wattstopper Digital Lighting Management (DLM) lighting controls solution. Lumileds joins existing Legrand partnerships in tunable-white light engine as the exclusive LED array provider. 

“The lighting industry is beginning the transition from providing only static white light to enabling dynamic end user selectable color temperature solutions as a subset of what is becoming possible with intelligent and human centric lighting fixtures and controls,” says Steve Barlow, SVP/GM of Lumileds Illumination Business. 


Oct. 17

Funai Corporation, Inc., has announced the availability of the first Magnavox TV series under the Roku TV licensing program. The new Magnavox Roku TVs will feature the Roku OS offering an intuitive home screen, easy to use remote and access to 500,000-plus movies and TV episodes alongside other inputs like cable boxes, HD antennas and game consoles. Debuting this month in the U.S., will be the 32-inch 720p LED LCD Magnavox Roku TV. Additionally, a 50-inch 1080p Full HD Magnavox Roku TV model is also set to be available soon.

“Smart is no longer expensive,” says Youssef Ibrahim, senior product marketing manager. “With the Magnavox Roku TV, every room in the home can easily and affordably be a portal to great content and entertainment experiences.”


Luxul has issued firmware update 6.3.1 for its XWR-3100 & XWR-1200 wireless routers. 

The update addresses these issues:

  • QoS fixes
  • Security fixes for L2TP/IPsec
  • Improvements to help text
  • VLAN fixes
  • Resolves Western Digital MyConnect NAS remote access

The company has issued firmware update 6.2.1 for its  XAP-1510; XAP-1440; XAP-1410 & XAP-810 wireless access points. 


Enhancements (All):

  • Minor UI improvements

Enhancements (XAP-810 Only):

  • Upgrades the XAP-810 from standard-power to high-power

The last firmware update that Luxul issued is for its ABR-5000; ABR-4500 & XBR-4500 wired routers.


Firmware Release Version: 5.2.4 (Epic 5)
Firmware Release Version: 6.2.5 (Epic 4)

Issues Resolved:

Fixes the issue on the Epic 4 (ABR-4500 & XBR-4500) and Epic 5 where Domotz stops running


Oct. 16

Screen Innovations (SI) has announced that its ambient-light-rejecting Short Throw (ST) screen material is now available on Solo Pro. The Solo family of screens are highly customizable motorized screens that can be carried and installed in 5-minutes by a single person.

Short Throw, which uses a microscopic lenticular optical technology (think window blinds), is best suited for ultra-short throw projection applications where the projector is located directly below the screen at throw ratios as close as 0.1 times the image width. This technology can successfully reproduce 8K resolution while rejecting up to 90% of the ambient-light in the room.

“The extraordinary Short Throw screen material is very difficult to work with due to its optical qualities. It took almost two years to perfect a method to manipulate it to function in a motorized system.  Thankfully, SI has the manufacturing capability to not only develop this methodology, but we also have the capacity to create repeatable results to scale for production.” Says Tom Nugent, chief of material technology, Screen Innovations. 


Funai Corporation today announced the availability of the first Sanyo Roku TVs in the U.S. The new 32-inch LED LCD Sanyo Roku TV, featuring the Roku OS, Dolby Audio, and Brilliant Motion Rate 120, will be exclusively available at Walmart stores with an everyday low price of $128.

"By delivering this level of performance and quality at such a compelling price, we’re enabling smart households to enjoy the amazing entertainment that the Roku platform provides access to,” said Youssef Ibrahim, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Funai Corp. "This unit recently debuted at Walmart Canada and was very well received, we're excited to now make it available in the US."


Oct.12

Certain Pioneer branded home audio products will receive a free firmware update enabling playback of MQA

With support for both streaming audio, local file, and whole home audio, the N-70AE and N-50AE family of network audio players can be used as the hub for all high quality audio pursuits. 

The NC-50 and NC-50 DAB are network audio players with a built-in CD player and stereo amplifier. Enjoy your music by simply connecting speakers. 

MQA music for Pioneer devices is available from various music streaming services such as TIDAL and music download sites, such as Onkyo Music in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and e-onkyo music in Japan. MQA with Onkyo and Pioneer are working closely for playback support on more home audio products, and will announce their availability in the coming months.


Oct. 11

WiSA LLC, an Association of consumer electronics brands and founded by Summit Wireless Technologies, has announced the certification of the “Link” WiSA USB Transmitter from Association member Axiim. The Axiim Link plugs into any WiSA Ready audio source including TVs, gaming systems and PCs and allows them to easily connect to any speakers certified by the WiSA Association. The Axiim Link transmitter is also the first and only wireless, high-resolution device designed for Xbox One and Windows PCs that is also WiSA Certified.

“The Axiim team is super excited to support the growing number of smart TV display manufacturers bringing WiSA-Ready products with immersive sound capabilities to market in 2019 and enabling the Xbox gamer, the PC gamer, and Esports enthusiasts to get in on the action with a full room of directional sound” says James Hammer CEO of Axiim.


Lutron Electronics is giving its dealers a totally revamped set of online web-based tools to manage all their key interactions and activities. From sales and marketing information, to programs and promotions; from project design and order; to servicing deployed projects – the myLutron platform makes it easier than ever for dealers and Lutron to do business together.

myLutron is currently built on four key pillars: myBusiness, myProjects, myOrders, and myService. It provides dealers with more timely and integrated information – bringing efficiency and effectiveness to every business and project process.

“Lutron has created a suite of e-tools that helps dealers manage their Lutron business from end-
to-end; from business strategy planning to providing post-occupancy service for their deployed
projects,” says Rich Black, director of residential business development at Lutron.

“From one unified environment, the dealer can, for example, check near real-time sales numbers, work on a new project quote, check the status of an order, or make a timeclock adjustment to a deployed project. Bottom line, myLutron makes it easier and more profitable than ever for dealers to do business with Lutron.”

The all new “myBusiness” pillar will provide a variety of sales and marketing support to dealers through range of tools and mechanisms.


Roku has announced that its Roku Streaming Stick+ is now priced at $59.99. The company says this new, lower price is permanent, and it provides users with 4K video capabilities along with voice control functionality. 


Oct. 9

Google announced users can now ask a Google Assistant built-in device such as Google Home or a Google Assistant app to control music across Denon, Marantz and HEOS products to enjoy the convenience of Google Assistant with quality sound.

The program is called, “Works with Google Assistant,” and makes Denon and Marantz products with HEOS built-in the first in the industry to support all three major voice engines, including Google, Siri and Alexa.

As an added bonus, these products also support Josh.AI—a voice-controlled home automation system designed for integrators:

  Denon AVR-X4300H, Denon AVR-X6300H, Denon AVR-X8500H, Denon AVR-X6400H, Denon AVR-X4400H, Denon AVR-X3400H, Denon AVR-X2400H, Denon AVR-X1400H, Denon AVR-X1500H, Denon AVR-X2500H, Denon AVR-X3500H, Denon AVR-X4500H, Denon AVR-X6500H, Denon AVR-S730H, Denon AVR-S930H, Denon AVR-S640H, Denon AVR-S740H, Denon AVR-S940H

Marantz NR1508, Marantz NR1608, Marantz SR5012, Marantz SR6012, Marantz SR7011, Marantz SR7012, Marantz AV8805, Marantz AV7704, Marantz AV7703, Marantz SR8012, Marantz NR1509, Marantz NR1609, Marantz SR5013, Marantz SR6013, Marantz SR7013, Marantz AV7705

Denon & Marantz Hi-Fi Components:

  • Denon DNP-800NE, Denon CEOL N10
  • Marantz ND8006, Marantz NA6006

HEOS:

  • HEOS 1/3/5/7 HS2, HEOS Home Cinema HS2, HEOS Bar, HEOS Amp/Link HS2, HEOS Drive HS2, HEOS Superlink, HEOS AVR
  • (HS1 first generation models are not supported)

VIZIO, Inc., has announced the introduction of expanded Google Assistant actions for VIZIO SmartCast TVs, granting consumers access to a wider range of voice control features. VIZIO SmartCast TV users with a Google Home or Google Assistant-enabled device, like the Google Home Hub, will have the ability to use simple voice commands for input selection as well as pausing, resuming, stopping, fast-forwarding and rewinding content.  The new VIZIO SmartCast features for Google Assistant will be available to VIZIO SmartCast TV customers in the coming weeks.

“VIZIO is a voice control leader in the smart TV industry, and with the demand for hands-free functionalities continuing to rise, VIZIO remains dedicated to delivering added value by integrating voice features for an enhanced overall user experience,” says Bill Baxter, chief technology officer, VIZIO. “With the introduction of expanded Google Assistant actions, we’re excited to give VIZIO customers the ability to further integrate their SmartCast TVs into their connected smart home ecosystems.”


Oct. 8

Next Level Acoustics has announced its new line of Sonos compatible products geared for the custom integrator.

The company says its Elite Enclosures for the Sonos Beam offering two models: full size and an Elite Light Version. According to Next Level Acoustics, the Elite Series full size entire enclosure is built to the exact size of the display with two-step seamless tapered ends. The Elite Series Light, which is available in two sizes (48.25 inches and 56.9 inches) with 45-degree tapered ends.  The grille will be extended to match the length of the display

Other products from Next Level Acoustics include the Sonos Beam adapter for the UM1 bracket (UM1-B).

This product is said to allow the Sonos Beam, when paired with theSonos Beam on-wall bracket, to line up flush with the front edge of the display. Next Level points out the product is fully articulate and pivots with the beam and display when using an articulating mount.

Rounding out its announcements are the Fusion Sonos Amp, which is described as an enhanced line of Fusion and Fusion Reference stereo soundbars created exclusively for use with the new Sonos Amp

Features include:

  • Full integration of the Sonos® Amp into the physical soundbar’s MDF and Baltic birch construction
  • The soundbar’s acoustic performance is expertly tuned to maximize every ounce of the Sonos Amp’s performance
  • Fusion series 4.5-inch carbon drivers, DX tweeters, and high-performance crossovers
  • Fusion Reference series 5.5-inch carbon wool drivers, Dyna tweeters, high-performance crossovers, and proprietary internal sound deadening epoxy
  • Elite series seamless tapered ends
  • Full IR drop down badge grille notches available
  • Supports UM1 bracket mounting
  • Stock 48.25 inch (55-inch displays), 56.9 inch (65-inch displays) and custom widths

Oct. 3

Just weeks after the CEDIA Expo 2018 show in San Diego, Screen Innovations (SI) has announced a new sales and distribution partnership with Control4.

SI is a manufacturer of high-performance projection screens and motorized window shades for the custom electronics industry, and it will be offering its line of quick-ship projection screens through Control4's product catalog. Focused on making order ability as simple and seamless as possible, SI will make standard sized screens available in Control4’s online store. Dealers can now place a single purchase order and receive the same innovative screens with one point of contact.

 Control4 dealers will find SI’s line of quick-ship projection screens in their online dealer portal.


MoFi Distribution has announced the addition of two new brands to its product lineup: Manger and finite element, two manufacturers each with a long history and both based in Germany.

Manger is a highly regarded speaker manufacturer best known for their distinguished "Bending Wave" sound transducer. 

Finite elemente is a technical German manufacturing company managed by sound specialist Luis
Fernandes. Known globally for its Pagode Master Reference equipment supports - that featured tuningfork–like resonators embedded in each shelf support – as well as equipment feet systems such as
Cerabase, Cerapuc and Ceraball.


Oct. 2

Johnson Controls, has announced it has acquired the assets of Lux Products Corporation (LUX), a leader in residential thermostats and smart home products. LUX markets several successful residential and commercial lines ranging from timers to smart home thermostats including Kono and Geo.

"The acquisition of LUX strengthens our portfolio in the consumer retail channel and offerings in thermostats," says Chris Eichmann, vice president, general manager of Johnson Controls. "We are excited to work together with LUX to bring great products to even more customers, leveraging Johnson Controls' resources to drive continued innovation."

This announcement comes shortly after the launch of Johnson Controls' new GLAS, the new smart thermostat that features a translucent OLED touchscreen display, among other high-tech features. For Johnson Controls, the LUX acquisition enhances its commitment to thermostats, a natural progression from the company that invented the first room thermostat more than 135 years ago. The move also enables faster product development cycles, improves customer service capabilities and supports greater product innovation.


The SDVoE Alliance has announced its new SDVoE Academy learning platform, offering free self-paced online courses for AV professionals to help them develop the skills they need to take advantage of the latest technologies for AV signal management. Although the focus is on SDVoE technology, the only interoperable AV-over-IP standard capable of replacing the performance of a matrix switch, the lessons are broadly applicable to the world of AV-over-IP, supporting AV network deployments in demanding education, healthcare, enterprise, entertainment, hospitality, retail, house of worship, government, military, industrial and security environments.

Created in cooperation with AV/IT training experts Clavia Ltd., the SDVoE Academy is designed to become a trusted resource to fill knowledge gaps as the industry transitions to the simplified AV architectures made possible by the SDVoE standard.

“There is no question that the future of AV is network centric and that the pressure on individuals and organizations to adapt to the change has never been greater. To make the most of technological advances, the skills that made us successful in the past must be augmented by the skills we need for today and tomorrow,” says Matt Dodd, CEO of Clavia Group. “We’re thrilled to capitalize on our track record in cognitive learning and training development and our AV integration experience in this collaboration with the SDVoE Alliance.”


Oct. 1

The Azione Unlimited buying group reached a milestone of 200+ dealer members, with many of the recent additions representing new geographic regions. In the first nine months of 2018, Azione added 24 new members as part of its growth plan. Last year brought the addition of 17 total new dealers. Founded 6+ years ago, Azione Unlimited remains the only integrator buying group where both dealers and vendors are equal members.  

“Azione now comprises 201 of the industry’s best integrators, creating an incredible core of knowledge,” says Azione president Richard Glikes. “Many of our newest members have been watching the group for years, and decided now is the time to embrace the many benefits of being an Azione Member. At the fall conference in two weeks, our newest dealers will experience the camaraderie, idea-sharing, and partnerships that are all unique to joining the Azione family.”

The vendor side of Azione membership has also experienced significant and strategic growth this year. The first half of the year included the addition of AudioQuest, Barco, Google Home, James Loudspeaker, Sonos, and Lyngdorf Audio. Azione also made its formal entry into the lighting market with the addition of vendors Lumastream and Wolfers Lighting, giving dealers a lucrative opportunity backed by training and support.


Sept. 27

Kaleidescape, a luxury home cinema company, announced a new service designed for luxury yachts and superyachts.
 
Kaleidescape has served the yacht sector for over a decade. Today, more than 1,000 yachts are fitted with Kaleidescape systems, and now Kaleidescape's new marine movie service enables yacht owners to custom configure their onboard movie system with the content of their choice in the highest-fidelity available. 

Many vessels rely on DVD and Blu-ray discs for their video entertainment. This happens because data connections at sea are much less reliable and more expensive than on land. Moreover, it usually isn't practical to download movies from the cloud when a yacht is at dock. However, DVD and Blu-ray discs can be hard to obtain when traveling by sea states Kaleidescape.
 
Kaleidescape has solved these problems by licensing approximately 10,000 titles from the major Hollywood motion picture studios, specifically for marine use, and by offering an easy way to purchase this content from Kaleidescape for delivery either on a new Kaleidescape system or on an encrypted USB hard drive for updating an existing Kaleidescape system. Kaleidescape marine customers now can select from and purchase movie titles on the same dates the titles are made available to local customers in key territories throughout the world, including the United States and the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Australia, and New Zealand.


Sept. 26

The streaming site Fandango Now is reporting the top titles available for consumption on its site are as follows:

Top Movies on FandangoNOW:

  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom* (Chris Pratt)
  • Sicario: Day Of The Soldado (Benicio Del Toro)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story* (Ensemble Cast)
  • Ocean’s 8 (Ensemble Cast)
  • The First Purge (Y’lan Noel)
  • Tag (Ensemble Cast)
  • Deadpool 2* (Ryan Reynolds)
  • Avengers: Infinity War* (Ensemble Cast)
  • Gotti (John Travolta)
  • Uncle Drew* (Kyrie Irving)

New Movies to Buy or Rent on FandangoNOW This Week:

  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (Adam Sandler) - New to buy
  • Skyscraper (Dwayne Johnson) - New to buy
  • Eighth Grade (Elsie Fisher) - New to buy
  • Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving) - New to rent
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (Ensemble Cast) - New to rent

AirTV has introduced its first dual-tuner capability to AirTV Player. This new feature allows users to watch and record two over-the-air (OTA) broadcast channels simultaneously. With the new dual-tuner adapter, AirTV Player users can watch one OTA channel while recording another, or record two OTA channels simultaneously through AirTV Player's Local Channels DVR. Available now, customers can purchase the new dual-tuner adapter for $29 or bundle the dual-tuner adapter with the AirTV Player for $119.

“We are committed to making it as easy as possible to view free local channels alongside other popular streaming content through our AirTV products,” says Mitch Weinraub, director of product development for AirTV. “Now, with the dual-tuner adapter, customers are able to watch their hometown team on a local channel while recording an episode of a popular show on a separate local channel, meaning they won't miss any of their favorite programming.”

AirTV Player, the 4K Android TV-based streaming media device that launched in January 2017, integrates Sling TV, Netflix, YouTube and thousands of apps from the Google Play Store with free local OTA channels on one platform. OTA channel integration requires an AirTV Adapter and an OTA antenna, each sold separately. Local channel availability depends on geographic location and antenna quality and placement. In February 2018, AirTV Player debuted its Local Channels DVR, allows users to record shows on free over-the-air broadcast channels (external USB hard drive or thumb drive required).


Sept. 25

Underscoring its commitment to increase its market reach, Onkyo USA, the exclusive North American distributor of Onkyo announced the appointment of Stampede to serve as a United States distributor for its ONKYO and ELITE lines, according to Stampede president & CEO Kevin Kelly.

“For years, Onkyo has been delivering exceptional audio experiences, from A/V receivers to home theater systems and more,” says Kelly. “Whatever the application, Onkyo offers audio solutions that feature the latest technology and the highest quality standards for design and performance. We look forward to adding Onkyo’s ONKYO and ELITE lines to our growing audio roster, and increasing their market reach across the United States.”


Sept. 20

WiSA, the Wireless Speaker and Audio Association, has unveiled its “WiSA Ready” certification. This new certification coincides with the launch of a WiSA-Ready USB transmitter from founding member Summit Wireless Technologies, Inc., which will be compatible with forthcoming WiSA-Ready sources.

The new WiSA Ready certification will clearly identify entertainment sources, including TVs, gaming systems and computers that are equipped to deliver up to eight channels of high-definition audio to WiSA Certified speakers when connected with a WiSA USB transmitter. This new program simplifies consumer set up and reduces costs by replacing AV receivers or wireless hubs with a low-cost USB accessory.

According to the association, using WiSA-Ready products makes it convenient for consumers to enjoy wireless multichannel sound, eliminating the clutter, wires and complicated installs previously required to create immersive audio experiences.

“The WiSA Ready certification is pivotal to amplifying our mission of delivering immersive, wireless sound to those who desire exceptional audio,” says Tony Ostrom, president of WiSA. “Consumer electronics brands that leverage WiSA Certified technology will accelerate consumer adoption and the availability of immersive wireless audio while pushing the consumer entertainment experience to new heights.”


Klipsch, a global manufacturer of speakers and headphones, has announced the appointment of Stampede, a national distributor, to serve as its United States distribution partner, according to Stampede President & CEO Kevin Kelly and Klipsch national sales manager Matt Schuler.

“Klipsch has established itself as the brand of choice for audiophiles and home theater aficionados for the better part of a century,”  says Kelly. “From incredibly clear soundbars to powerful portable wireless speakers; whatever the application, Klipsch offers audio solutions that feature the very latest technology and meet the highest quality standards for performance. We’re honored to have Klipsch as part of our brand roster.”


BrandSource says its co-op dollars are going farther than ever before as the company champions a new industry-changing $500 initiative to drive business to their members’ stores.

The BrandSource team launched a co-op dollar match program at the 2018 Convention in late August, worth up to $1,500 per member each month. BrandSource will match co-op dollar for dollar, up to $500 per month, for each member on AVB aligned digital marketing and advertising services. This initiative will increase member return in a competitive industry, while providing free money that will bring more business for our members’ stores. On average, 30 to 40 percent of member co-op advertising dollars go unused throughout the year. Industry experts and vendors said co-op dollars are best utilized through digital marketing spend. BrandSource and their vendor partners decided to put that money to good use, by giving it to the members to allocate for digital marketing and advertising.


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, pro


7 Clever Ways to Hide Home Technology - CE Pro Download

Most technology products are not that visually appealing. Black boxes and tangled wires do not add to the character of a high-end smart home project. Luckily, our integrator readers have a number of clever solutions so these components don’t have to be visible in your next project.





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