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Product Briefs: Dish Apple Business Chat; Savant, Google Home; RTI Jandy Drivers; Luxul PDU Drivers

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


Product Briefs: Dish Apple Business Chat; Savant, Google Home; RTI Jandy Drivers; Luxul PDU Drivers
CE Pro Editors · July 20, 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

July 20

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

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

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

Dish customers can use Apple Business Chat to contact a live agent to ask questions, make account changes, schedule an appointment and more. They can also use their credit card on file to order a pay-per-view movie or sporting event and watch it within minutes of confirming the purchase. Apple Business Chat does not display customer contact information to an agent, so customers are in complete control of whether they want to share any contact information and can authenticate their account to make changes or purchases.


July 19

Savant, a manufacturer smart home technology, has announced seamless compatibility between Savant’s smart home ecosystem and the Google Home Assistant speech-recognition engine. Savant has been a leader in the use of voice control as part of the connected home by introducing the Savant Pro Remote, enabling homeowners to activate a Savant Scene, choose a favorite channel or select a source within their entertainment system. Now with the unveiling of Google Home integration, this new functionality represents the next step in voice command and gives users enhanced interaction with their Savant home.

The new Savant/Google compatibility will give consumers the ultimate smart home experience. Users can activate Savant Scenes to control any and all of their smart home features quickly and easily, adjusting entertainment, lighting, climate controls, TVs, shading and much more with a single voice command. Setup is intuitive—users can create a Savant Scene, enable the Savant Action with the Google Assistant or Google Home App and link their account. Google will discover Savant as an Action that can be easily accessed via voice command. Interfacing with Savant’s groundbreaking scene engine that captures personalized automation events, consumers can initiate, schedule, edit or delete a Savant Scene while retaining seamless Google voice functionality.  Savant’s Google interface is based upon cloud-to-cloud communication between the two services, leveraging the power of Savant’s robust, secure, redundant cloud infrastructure.

“Our objective is to deliver the best smart home experience along with leading edge innovations that bring added value for our network of integrators and their clients,” states Robert Madonna, CEO, Savant. “Working with Google and bringing their voice technology to Savant homes accomplishes both without question.”  

 


July 18

RTI, a global control and automation manufacturer for residential and commercial settings, has announced the availability of a new two-way driver for AquaLink RS swimming pool and spa automation systems from Jandy. With the new driver, developed by RTI, integrators can easily incorporate iAquaLink-connected pool equipment into RTI control and automation systems without any additional equipment or serial adapters. This allows customers to manage their backyard experience from their RTI control interfaces.

"The Jandy two-way driver makes an exciting addition to our library, allowing our dealers to integrate AquaLink pool automation into the RTI ecosystem and further unify the control experience across the home — inside and out," says Mike Everett, vice president of global sales, RTI. "For AquaLink owners, complete control over all aspects of their pools and spas is just a touch away on an RTI interface, whether they're poolside at home or halfway around the world."


July 12

Luxul, a provider of IP networking solutions for AV integrators, has announced that drivers for all major control and automation systems are now available for the company's PDU-2, PDU-8, and PDU-16 intelligent network power distribution units (PDU). The new drivers enable seamless integration of the PDUs into Control4, Crestron, RTI, Savant, and URC systems, allowing any programmable capability to include power control over connected devices.

Developed by RTI, Savant, and Luxul in partnership with Middle Atlantic Products, the drivers allow devices plugged into the PDU-2, PDU-8, and PDU-16 to be powered up or down as part of scheduled and triggered events. In addition, they provide users with convenient outlet control to power-cycle locked-up components locally using hand-held remotes, touch panels, and other controllers or remotely via control-system apps on mobile devices.

"There is a high demand for control over all home and office electronics through one unified system, and with these new drivers, integrators can easily meet this demand by seamlessly integrating our PDU-2, PDU-8, and PDU-16 into the control system of their choice," says Mike Grubb, vice president of marketing with Luxul. "Now, any programmable capability can include power-cycle control over connected components, whether it's automatically resetting an Apple TV or scheduling the satellite/cable box to power-cycle on a regular basis."


OneVision Resources, a provider of a home technology industry service platform, has launched a new program that allows manufacturers’ reps to generate recurring monthly revenue (RMR) by providing OneVision’s service platform to their dealers.

According to the company, like integrators, manufacturers’ reps struggle with decreasing margins on hardware and the challenge of building long-term, sustainable value for their customers. The company explains that since its launch, OneVision Resources has given home technology professionals the opportunity to generate RMR in a turnkey manner through the sale of premium service memberships, a process which is fully set up and managed by OneVision’s team of service experts. Now, OneVision’s new program brings the same turnkey RMR opportunity to reps. OneVision’s rep program provides a new compensation model that helps reps empower their dealers to solve the service problem, while also creating an entirely new revenue stream independent of profit margins on equipment.

Participating reps offer OneVision managed services the same way they offer products to their dealers, but continue to earn commissions each month for the service package. In addition to their current model of selling equipment, the program gives reps the opportunity to elevate the ownership experience for consumers in their local market, driving increased demand through repeat business and referrals. The program also empowers reps to help their dealers run more profitable and sustainable businesses while generating RMR for their own firms.


July 11

AirPlay 2 is now available on Sonos. The popular audio manufacturer says the addition of AirPlay 2 means the sounds from any app on iOS devices can now be streamed directly to Sonos, and this content includes music, podcasts, radio, video, audiobooks, and more. 

Explaining in greater detail, Sonos states with AirPlay 2, homeowners can play music and podcasts from iOS devices directly to Sonos speakers such as the Sonos Beam, Sonos One, Playbase, and the second generation Play:5. And, with a single supported speaker, AirPlay content can be streamed to other Sonos speakers in the system.

In Addition, those using AirPlay 2 on Sonos will also gain a new voice experience with the addition of Siri. Homeowners can ask Siri to play any track, album, or playlist on Apple Music by using an iOS device to start playing on Sonos.


Nativ has launched remote control apps for its Nativ Vita High-Resolution Music Server. The new apps give customers convenient control and playback functionality from their iOS or Android Smartphone or Tablet.

 “The Nativ Vita features an innovative User Interface, which can be accessed through its beautiful 11.6” Touchscreen or any TV with HDMI interface.” says Michael Li, CEO and co-founder of Nativ. “With the launch of our Smartphone apps you can now also browse your music from the comfort of your couch.”

The Nativ Vita Music Server can be controlled in various ways:

  • Nativ apps: Available through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The apps replicate the User Interface experience from the Nativ Vita Music Player.
  • UPnP/DLNAapps: Designed as an open system the Nativ Vita provides access to its Digital Media Renderer (DMR) and Digital Media Server (DMS). Customers can use UPnP/DLNA applications such as BubbleUPnP (Android) and 8Player (iOS) to browse and play their digital music libraries.
  • ROON Remote apps: A popular music interface among audiophiles the Vita can also be controlled through ROON’s Remote apps for Android or iOS.
  • Music streaming apps: Many popular music streaming apps such as Spotify, Tidal, Pandora or TuneIn allow direct streaming from inside their apps to Spotify Connect or Google Cast enabled devices such as the Nativ Vita Music Player.

July 10

Capitol, a national consumer electronics distribution source for residential and light commercial systems, has announced lower prices on three of Peerless-AV’s top-performing outdoor televisions.

The three models: the UV652 (65 inch), the UV552 (55 inch) and the UV492 (49 inch) are part of Peerless-AV’s UltraView UHD Outdoor TV series of all-season outdoor entertainment solutions.

“Every year, our customers install higher numbers of outdoor entertainment systems,” says Curt Hayes, president and CFO, Capitol. “A big, bright display is the heart of any high-performance outdoor theater, and none have a better reputation for performance and reliability than UltraView UHD models from Peerless-AV.”

Peerless-AV’s UltraView series is comprised of products that are specifically designed for dependability in all types of weather, and temperatures ranging from -22 degrees  to 122 degrees. Capitol says the products are engineered to provide exceptional color and video quality from any viewing angle, as well as direct sunlight readability, and DC power ports for safe storage and power for small video equipment, including consumer-grade Blu-ray players and streaming devices.


Thorens GmbH, a manufacturer of automatic and manual turntables, phono preamplifiers, tone arms and accessories, has appointed American Audio & Video (a division of JAM Industries USA, LLC) as its exclusive U.S. distributor effective July 1, 2018.

Founded in Sainte-Croix Switzerland in 1883, Thorens is said to be the world’s oldest producer of stereo electronics still in production today. After acquiring Thorens, the new company owner, Gunter Kürten is moving consumer electronics company back to the Cologne/Bonn region of Germany.

Currently Thorens' product line includes the entry level automatic TD 158, as well as the vintage-like fully automatic TD 240, and the flagship TD 550 and TD 900 Series products.

“We are very excited to partner with one of the world’s great turntable brands”, says Enzo Morelli, vice president, American Audio & Video. “We look forward to providing these wonderful products to music lovers across the country."


July 9

DISH has just launched new integration with the Google Assistant. According to the Colo.-based company, DISH is the first pay-TV provider to offer direct compatibility with the Assistant.

DISH customers with a Hopper, Hopper Duo, Joey and Wally set-top box (STB) can control their TVs hands free via any Google Assistant-enabled device. Here are some examples of what homeowners can ask the Assistant: 

  • “Turn on my Hopper”
  • “Change the channel to ESPN”
  • “Tune to channel 140"
  • “Record Game of Thrones on Hopper”
  • “Rewind 30 seconds”

The whole-house audio company Roon Labs has announced the ability to stream to all Chromecast products with its new release.

Through the latest Roon Labs release music can now be streamed to Chromecast Audio, Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max. Audio with cover art and artist photos can be streamed to Chromecast Gen 1, Gen 2, and Ultra.

With Roon users can now stream high-resolution gapless music (up to 96kHz/24-bit) and apply Roon’s DSP options, including EQ, room correction, headphone cross feed, and more.

Roon supports grouped playback on Chromecast devices via the Google Home app. Using the Google Home app, users can set up groups of Chromecast devices, which then appear as “zones” in Roon alongside other supported hardware products.

“We are excited to expand the ecosystem of audio devices that work with Roon to include all
Chromecast devices. Streaming high-resolution music to devices throughout your home has never been easier or more cost-effective," says  Enno Vandermeer, CEO of Roon Labs.

Chromecast sits alongside current Roon offerings like Sonos, Airplay, Roon Ready, and Roon Tested
products. Chromecast will be applied through a Roon update to version 1.5 build 333.


June 28

The networking manufacturer Luxul has introduced firmware update 6.2.4 for its ABR-4500 and XBR-4500 routers.

Luxul states the new firmware provides Domotz VLAN support, along with a few other improvements. 

Moreover, the company explains Domotz is a third-party control feature that enables dealers to remotely monitor and manage devices connected to their clients' networks. With Domotz integrators have the power to turn connected devices on/off, reboot, and receive alerts when devices fall offline. Save on truck rolls with the ability to manage lighting systems, control systems, IP cameras, routers, and anything else that supports web access from anywhere.


Radial Engineering has updated its website. The newly redesigned site now features several improvements to the user experience, and it provides important information content that users have come to expect and rely upon on when researching the company's products.
 
'Personas' on the Home page include: Acoustic, Electric, Bass, Keyboard, Pro Audio and Recording. Once a persona is selected, all of the applicable products are revealed. A 'quick view' of each product allows users to glean product features before choosing to dive deeper into the associated information. This will be particularly helpful for Radial dealers and media who are seeking part numbers, high-resolution images and other resources. A convenient search feature with an auto complete makes it easy to immediately find products.
 
An improved artist section features individual artist profile pages, which includes quotes, videos, photos and a list of owned Radial gear.
 


RTI, a control and automation manufacturer for residential and commercial settings, has announced a two-way driver for Luxul's PDU-8 and PDU-16 intelligent network power distribution units (PDU). Developed by RTI, the new driver allows integrators to integrate the units seamlessly into RTI automation and control systems, providing their customers with convenient outlet control, scheduling, reporting, and customization capabilities.

"Luxul is well-known for network products tailored to A/V integrators' needs, and its recently introduced intelligent PDUs are another great addition to their lineup," says Mike Everett, vice president of global sales for RTI. "This driver makes it easy to incorporate these devices as an extension of the RTI control system and provides convenient outlet control to power cycle devices on demand or even on a schedule."


June 26

One Firefly, LLC has added DirectTV to its UI University video library collection. The DirectTV library features 14 videos of custom-branded content that seamlessly guides users through the various aspects and functionality of operating the latest DirectTV interface.

”The DirectTV video library was far and away the most requested video library from our customers,” says Ron Callis, Jr., CEO of One Firefly, “This content is going to prove invaluable for all DirectTV dealers who would like to enhance their customer service and user experience post-sale."

UI University enables integrators to educate both prospects and clients using HD videos that depict how to operate their iPad or similar controlled home technology systems. Each video features the integrator’s logo prominently featured in the opening and closing sequences, while a watermark of that same logo is displayed throughout the duration of the video, creating a consistent branding opportunity.

The videos may be embedded on the integrator’s website, shared in their email marketing or posted to their social media.

“We want to make it easier for our clients to provide a better customer experience to the end-users of the technology in their homes,” remarks Callis.

The addition of DirectTV marks the eighth manufacturer to be featured in the training video series, joining Nest, Savant, Sonos, Control4, Lutron, Alarm.com and Lutron Connect.


June 25

OneVision Resources, a provider of service and support solutions for home technology professionals (HTPs), now supports OvrC remote systems management (RSM) solution. 

In today's market RSM solutions are of the most important trends in the home technology channel. The remote troubleshooting and management features provided by these solutions allow HTPs to lower support costs and an improve their client experience.

“We know that RSM is a vital part of any effective service strategy and a key component of this industry’s future so we have watched with excitement as SnapAV has continued to invest significantly in OvrC,” says Joseph Kolchinsky, CEO, OneVision.

“We are thrilled to incorporate it into our full suite of solutions and know it will play an important role in helping us transform our partners into the Technology Managers of the future.”


DTS, a developer of high-definition audio solutions, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation, has announced its DTS Play-Fi Headphones app

The new app is available on iOS and it is coming to Android in early July as a companion app to select DTS Play-Fi audio products. The free app enables users to stream content over Wi-Fi that is playing on any DTS Play-Fi-supported product to any pair of headphones connected to a phone or tablet* for a private listening experience. With DTS Play-Fi’s A/V synchronization technology, audio stays in line with the video content being played on the TV. Users enjoy the benefits of full Wi-Fi range within their home, eliminating the in-room limitations of Bluetooth solutions.

The DTS Play-Fi Headphones app will stream audio from any of the compatible inputs (HDMI, optical, etc.) on the compatible products listed below. Up to four listeners can join the audio streaming session for a private listening party without disturbing others around them. When used in conjunction with DTS Play-Fi’s new whole-home TV audio streaming feature, the app allows a user to join an ongoing TV audio multiroom session and enjoy it at a different volume for themselves, while still being part of the group.

“We are excited to announce the new DTS Play-Fi Headphones app, bringing a private listening experience to the whole-home audio ecosystem,” said Dannie Lau, general manager, DTS Play-Fi, at Xperi. “Whether it’s enjoying shared content at a higher volume, or multiple users enjoying the same content through individual headphones so they won’t disturb others, the DTS Play-Fi Headphones app delivers high quality audio and performance over Wi-Fi.”


NSCA, a not-for-profit association representing the commercial low-voltage electronic systems industry, has released updated Labor Installation Standard guidelines for 2018, providing information that systems integrators can use to accurately estimate labor units – the biggest factor impacting project profitability.

As the result of a thorough, months-long peer review by a team of experts from around the country, the new guidelines detail the amount of time it takes to complete project-related tasks, factoring in time spent on material handling, examining drawings/layouts, and equipment installation. The guidelines include labor units required for installation of specific systems, which are divided into categories like:

  • Access control
  • Cabling
  • Digital signage
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Healthcare communications
  • Security/life safety systems

For each technology system, labor units are provided in three different levels – normal, difficult, and challenging – so they can be adjusted based on project difficulty (higher ceiling heights, for example), installer experience, and/or site conditions.

The 2018 report also includes installation data on new technology platforms and systems prevalent in the market since the last report update, and adjusts labor hours for existing technology systems based on current installation methods and efficiencies. 

“Interestingly, the time it takes to install low-voltage technology systems has not necessarily improved over the years,” says Chuck Wilson, executive director, NSCA. “Even with the many labor-saving devices we use today, installation hours are the same – or, in some cases, longer. It’s important that integrators know and understand this, and use the Labor Installation Standard guidelines accordingly. Project labor estimates are vital to get right to ensure profitability.”


June 20

The CEDIA Expo has announced Design Connection, which is a program designed unite technology integrators with design and construction professionals. The new platform will feature multiple programs and networking opportunities throughout CEDIA Expo 2018, which will take place September 6-8 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Design and technology collaboration opportunities include viewing products in the Design Connection Pavilion, participation in the Design Connection Tour Series and the Bourbon and Brownies networking event.

Endorsed by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), the Design Connection Pavilion is an is an area on the show floor designed to showcase kitchen and bath brands using connected technology in their products. The 30 foot x 30 foot space is a gallery concept located in Hall C and will feature technology products specifically suited to compliment design and construction integration.

“Having an area on the show floor dedicated to technology and design integration will spark needed conversations between the two professional groups,” says Suzie Williford, NKBA’s executive vice president of industry relations & CSO. “Kitchen and bath designers are hungry for products that will move the needle on technology integration in intelligently built environments.”


Klipsch, has announced Klipsch Fest, a day-long celebration of its premium sound at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 11 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST. Punk rock legends Social Distortion will headline the Rock Hall Live! event, which includes live performances, DJ sets, demos and giveaways on the PNC Rock Hall Live! stage. Social Distortion will take the stage at 9 p.m. ET.

Klipsch Fest is free with the purchase of a general admission ticket to the Rock Hall and is on sale now at ticketing.rockhall.com.

A VIP ticket, priced at $75, includes access to an exclusive Mike Ness “Under The Influences” event on Saturday, August 11 at 3 PM. Social Distortion front man Mike Ness will discuss his career as a songwriter and musician, share stories behind some of the biggest Social Distortion songs ever written and chat about the influential vinyl releases that influenced him as an artist. VIP tickets also include Museum admission and access to premium viewing and a private cash bar during the concert.

Klipsch partners with the Rock Hall to preserve and celebrate the live music experience. Klipsch is the presenting sponsor of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The Museum in Cleveland features the world’s largest installation of Klipsch professional and commercial loudspeakers and headphones. New exhibits such as the Power of Rock Experience, a redesigned outdoor plaza, and an interactive outdoor sound experience boast Klipsch speakers. The Klipsch Audio Stage, inside the Rock Hall, continues to host some of the most buzzed about bands in the world in addition to hundreds of performances each year.


June 19

Philips TV and the British audio engineering company Bowers & Wilkins have agreed a new multi-year exclusive partnership to create products that "set new reference visual and audio performance standards in the TV market."  

The new partnership will combine the technologies and expertise of the two companies and will uniquely share the internal engineering resources that have allowed each to design and develop a long series of respective products.

Our new partnership with Philips TV presents a fantastic opportunity to help redefine the parameters of sound quality & performance on a TV," says Richard Campbell, chief revenue officer, Bowers & Wilkins. "The superb new Philips TVs will introduce our well-known audio performance to a new consumer audience who will be able to enjoy first-hand, the incredible experience only we can provide, ‘Sound by Bowers and Wilkins." 


Elite Distributor Alliance (EDA), a leading U.S. 12-V distributor has signed an agreement to market Dynaudio’s high-end aftermarket car audio speakers to a wider audience in the U.S. Dynaudio offers three 12-V model ranges: Esotan, Esotec, and the flagship Esotar. Product highlights include specially coated soft-dome tweeters with powerful neodymium magnet systems for smooth, clear high-frequency reproduction and proprietary MSP (magnesium silicate polymer) woofers with large-diameter aluminum voice coils for greater power handling and lower distortion, according to the company.

“Demand for exceptional car audio quality is on the rise, and Dynaudio builds some of the best-sounding speakers available,” says Jim Warren, executive director at EDA. “Our team is very excited about this brand and its addition to our lineup, and we can’t wait to bring these expertly crafted speakers to more U.S. consumers.”

Dynaudio's full range of high-end car audio drivers, crossovers, and component systems is manufactured in-house "to the industry’s highest standards, targeting audiophiles who want to enjoy music the way the recording artist intended," the company claims.

“With 7,000 customers, EDA is the perfect partner to help us expand our 12-Volt presence in the U.S.,” says Dynaudio CEO Andrew Werdean. “Given the company’s commitment to quality distribution, training, service and profitability, we couldn’t be teamed up with a more ideal distribution partner.” 


June 14

Dish will telecast the World Cup in 4K HDR on channel 540 starting Thursday June 14.

During the tournament customers will also have access to these features during the games:

  • DISH Soccer Zone app: DISH’s exclusive Soccer Zone app gives customers the ability to find, watch and record all 64 World Cup matches.
  • FOX Sports app: With the FOX Sports app, users can watch every World Cup game live while on-the-go. 

June 12

DISH has introduced new Amazon Alexa voice capabilities that give customers the ability to set recordings, launch apps and navigate menus on Hopper family set-top boxes. This update enhances the Hands-Free TVTM experience by building on DISH’s existing Alexa voice functions, including the ability to play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and search content.

“We are working to create the best Hands-Free TV options for our customers, and these new voice capabilities are an important step in that direction,” says Niraj Desai, vice president of product management, Dish. “DISH customers already love the convenience that our Alexa compatibility brings to their home, so we’re continuously identifying popular voice commands to enhance that experience.”


June 11

Barco Residential has joined Azione Unlimited, a residential buying group, as its newest “Perfect Partner.”
 

Barco says Azione is a natural fit for its products and solutions since many of the company’s partners are already Azione members. 

“Building on our successful industry partnerships, including CEDIA, the next logical step for Barco Residential is to align with Azione,” says Tim Sinnaeve, managing director for Barco Residential. “The partnership gives us an opportunity to share knowledge and exchange best practices with Azione’s members so that we can work collaboratively to move the industry forward.”


The European audio software developer Sonarworks announced that its software platform True-Fi now supports more than 150 popular headphones, including popular models from AKG, Beyerdynamic, Focal, Sennheiser and others. Additionally, the company has just launched a worldwide ‘Studio Reference’ standard, enabling music producers and consumers to experience a single, common audio reference — whether they intend to create or listen to music. Further, Sonarworks is planning an imminent launch of its groundbreaking mobile application of its True-Fi software that will support both iOS and Android devices.  

The 27 new headphone profiles brings the number of True-Fi’s supported headphone models to 157, including two new noise cancelling additions: the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II and Sony WH-1000XM2. Each headphone has been meticulously measured and incorporated as a complimentary software upgrade for existing True-Fi users, which is available now.

Sonarworks says the new models supported include:

  • AKG K553 Pro
  • AKG K72
  • Audio Technica ATH-MSR7
  • B&O Play Beoplay H4
  • Beats Powerbeats3
  • Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 32 Ohm 
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 M 80 Ohm
  • Beyerdynamic DT 880 Edition 250 Ohm
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II
  • Focal Clear Professional
  • Focal Listen Professional
  • HyperX Cloud II
  • JBL E25BT
  • Master & Dynamic MH40
  • Philps Fidelio X2HR
  • Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
  • Sennheiser HD 206
  • Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
  • Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
  • Sennheiser HD 518
  • Sennheiser HDR 120 II 
  • Shure SE535
  • Sony MDR-XB50AP
  • Sony WH-1000XM2
  • Ultrasone Pro 780i
  • Ultrasone Signature studio

June 7

Onkyo USA announced the availability of its “Works with Sonos” firmware update for the three brands in its network: Onkyo, Pioneer & Onkyo Corp., and IntegraVia a Sonos Connect, the new update will allow the below A/V receivers to seamless fit into the Sonos ecosystem and controlled thru the familiar Sonos app.

The Onkyo models are: 

  • TX-NR585
  • TX-NR686
  • TX-RZ630
  • TX-RZ730
  • TX-NR787
  • TX-RZ830
  • TX-RZ920
  • TX-8270
  • TX-RZ1100
  • TX-RZ3100
  • PR-RZ5100
  • TX-8260

The Pioneer models are: 

  • ELITE SC-LX901
  • ELITE SC-LX801
  • ELITE SC-LX701
  • ELITE VSX-LX503
  • ELITE VSX-LX303
  • ELITE VSX-LX103
  • Pioneer VSX-933

The Integra models are: 

  • DRX-3.2
  • DRX-4.2
  • DRX-5.2
  • DRX-7.1
  • DRX-R1.1
  • DRC-R1.1
  • DTM-7
  • DTM-6
  • DRX-7
  • DRX-R1
  • DRC-R1

June 4

Savant, a manufacturer of smart home technology, has announced the addition of new products and features included in the 8.8 software update. This release is highlighted by enhanced functionality for users, creating a more intuitive smart home environment, and a valuable opportunity for Savant integrators the company says. 

As part of the new software and product announcement Savant has introduced Savant Music 2.0. This new software music suite includes improved reliability, speed, easier navigation, preset recall, song queues and more. Savant Music 2.0 also features redesigned app control screens, making it easier than ever for users to navigate. Also brand new, a convenient equalizer screen makes it a snap to fine tune the sound on supported devices. Users will also find support for their favorite streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, Tidal, Deezer and more, as well as Airplay and PLEX support for locally stored music. Savant Music 2.0 is available now and is built into Savant’s IP Audio device family.

The Savant Pro 8 App for iOS now features a fresher, lighter design for entertainment services. Control screens in the App for cable, satellite, streaming video service and more now include easy access to commonly used controls such as volume and mute. New configurable button trays allow end users to quickly and easily modify button layouts in order to highlight their favorite command, and more brand icons for smart TVs and entertainment devices are available as well. The 8.8 update also features a new compact home selector view for those users with multiple Savant homes, making control of multiple properties more intuitive than ever.

Savant's TrueImage interface now includes white temperature settings for specific and popular color temperatures from 2700K to 6000k. Additional new functionality encompasses favorite colors presets and color combinations for easier recall, as well as an improved color selection tool for Savant Smart Bulb and Strips. Additionally, an intuitive slider interface allows users to select exact RGB values to achieve the perfect color for their environment.


May 31

CEDIA Expo 2018 will feature the large offering of in-person CEDIA training that includes 124 sessions. The trade group says that 34 of these training sessions are new, and have been specifically designed to address the industry’s ever-changing landscape.

“Looking at this year’s training offerings we have a pretty healthy split between business and technical courses, we will have 66 sessions covering technical topics and 58 focused on business. And all of the courses have been created with the integrator business in mind,” says Tom Darling, senior vice president of education and certification, CEDIA.

CEDIA training will begin on Tuesday, September 4 with some of CEDIA’s most popular courses and workshops including the Rack Building and Wiring Fundamentals Workshop, the COI Train the Trainer Course, and the Home Cinema Design Workshop. One change to this year’s schedule is there will not be training courses on Saturday, only certification exams. 

CEDIA Expo will be held Sept. 4-8 at the San Diego Convention Center. The show floor will be open September 6-8. Attendees can register for the show, browse course offerings and build their training schedule at the CEDIA website


Luxul has announced that it has issued firmware update 6.1.8 for its Epic 3 wireless router. 

The networking manufacturer states the update corrects the Domotz bug found in Firmware Version 6.1.7 where the "connect" button in the Domotz portal didn't work. Moreover, the company points out that after the Domotz agent has been reconnected, Domotz account information will now persist in future updates.

Luxul recommends to integrators to follow these steps during the update process:

  • If you are on Firmware Version 6.1.6 or earlier, this update could take up to five minutes. If five minutes pass since you initiated the update and your router does not appear to be rebooting to call Luxul tech support at 801.822.5450 option 3.
  • While the router is updating, do not unplug the power source from the router.
  • During a period of this particular update the router’s system and Wi-Fi LEDs will be disabled and turned off. This is normal during this particular update.
  • It is always recommended updates be performed onsite; however, they can be applied remotely using Domotz or a VPN.
  • If an integrator performs this update via Domotz, using the standalone Domotz Pro Device, it could take up to 10 minutes for the router to show as ‘online’ in the Domotz application. If an integrator is preforming this update via Domotz, using the included agent on the Epic 3, it could take up to 15 minutes for the router to show as ‘online’ in the Domotz application.
  • When the update is complete if Domotz is enabled the router will be under high utilization while the Domotz agent is initialized, updated (if necessary) and configured. This can take an additional five minutes beyond the above firmware install. Luxul advises integrators to be patient, and it emphasizes not to make any changes to the router until the entire update process is finished.
  • After update is complete integrators will need to setup to the Domotz agent on the device again. According to Luxul, this will only pertain to this update, and will not need to be done on future updates.

Luxul product updates can be found here.


May 30

RTI, a global control and automation manufacturer for residential and commercial settings, has announced the availability of a two-way driver for Aprilaire's line of WiFi enabled thermostats. The interface allows integrators to add the thermostats into the RTI control and automation ecosystem and provide clients with the comfort and convenience of Aprilaire's air purity and freshness features along with temperature and humidity controls.

"Aprilaire is one of the leading HVAC systems for high-end residential installations and a long-time integration partner of ours," says Mike Everett, vice president of sales, Americas for RTI. "With this partnership, we're able to deliver a powerful driver that takes full advantage of their climate control capabilities and give our dealers the ability to offer their clients an extra level of comfort in their homes."


May 29

Luxul has announced a firmware update version 6.1.3 for its XAP-1510, XAP-1500, XAP-1440, XAP-1410, XAP-1240, XAP-1230, XAP-1210, XAP-810 and XAP-310 wireless access points (WAPs).

The update includes OS and driver revisions, interface improvements and bug fixes. 


May 22


CEDIA has announced that the 2018 CEDIA Size and Scope of the Residential Electronic Systems Market survey is open
 
“We encourage all integration firms to participate.The data that we collect in this survey is incredibly important,” says Dave Pedigo, vice president of emerging technologies, CEDIA. "Home tech professionals who take the time to fill out this survey are helping us better understand the ever-shifting landscape of this industry so we can all better serve its needs."

The annual survey reports on vital market trends and is designed to:

  • Estimate the number of companies currently installing industry products
  • Determine the size of the industry workforce
  • Evaluate the total economic value of installation in the industry
  • Identify each channel’s level of significance in the industry
  • Report on general market conditions and forecasting
  • Provide trend analyses to indicate the industry’s direction

 
Not only will participants receive a copy of the report, a $1,000 value, but all participants will be entered into a drawing; one winner will receive a 65” QLED Samsung TV, and three winners will be selected to receive a CEDIA Training Pass and $350 towards airfare for CEDIA 2018 in San Diego. Home technology professionals do not have to be a CEDIA member to participate, however this survey is intended for professionals in the U.S. and Canada. 


May 21

Two of Leviton’s newest lighting control solutions—the Intellect Intelligent Fixture Control System and Lumina RF Standalone Room Controls—have been added to the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) Qualified Products List (QPL), in the category of Networked Lighting Control (NLC) systems. Projects across the United States and Canada that include the Intellect system or Lumina RF Standalone Room Controls are now eligible for valuable rebates through local utilities and energy efficiency programs, which reference compliant solutions on the DLC QPL.

The DLC has created a vetting process designed to include only the most future-proof, energy-saving and intelligently designed advanced lighting controls. 

“The addition of these innovative wireless lighting control solutions on the DLC QPL validates Leviton‘s continuing leadership in energy codes and standards compliance with both our product lines and our ongoing training initiatives,” says Richie Westfall, vice president and general manager of the Leviton Energy Management, Controls and Automation business division. “This qualification provides our customers with another resource for garnering rebates, saving energy, and designing advanced lighting control systems that are easy to use and install today, and are also ready for the rigorous demands of the future.”


May 16

AVAD LLC, a national distributor serving the residential and commercial custom installation market, has announced its new Interactive Catalog – 2018 Accessories Edition. The guide features a variety of custom installation-focused solutions for residential and commercial installations.

The company explains its Interactive Catalog – Accessories Edition includes components that are traditionally behind the scenes and designed to complete custom installation projects large and small. With the recent release of the Interactive Catalog – Video, Audio and Home Automation Editions, the debut of the Accessories Catalog provides a comprehensive assortment of brands and solutions for the residential and commercial installations. The Interactive Catalog – Accessories Edition features mounts, cables, tools, power units, furniture and more from AVAD’s vendor partners, including Chief, Celerity Technologies, Dirt Devil, DYMO, Global Cache, Midlite, Panamax, Peerless-AV, ProConnect, ProFlex, RowOne, Sanus, Peerless AV and many more.

“We are excited to be able to provide our dealers with new Interactive Catalogs, including the Video, Audio, Home Automation and, lastly, the Accessories Edition, to help them in the office and on the job” says Seth Evenson, director of customer experience management, AVAD. “While installation accessories are often hidden in every project, they’re a critical component in any installation, whether it’s residential or commercial, and we’re very excited to be able to provide our dealers with product information at the touch of a button with our interactive catalogs.”


May 15

Luxul has announced a new firmware update for its ABR-5000 router. The new update includes Domotz Remote Management software, and minor UI fixes and updates.

Domotz is a third-party control feature that enables dealers to remotely monitor and manage devices connected to their clients' networks. With Domotz, you have the power to turn connected devices on/off, reboot, and receive alerts when devices fall offline.

Luxul explains that its 5.2.3 addresses issues where a VPN client on an Epic 5-based LAN is unable to connect to a PPTP server on the internet. The company points out that PPTP is an obsolete VPN protocol with many known security issues, and that it recommends the newer L2TP or IPSec protocols.

Moreover, it advises if a client on an Epic 5-based network must connect to a PPTP VPN server, use this workaround:

In the Epic 5 user interface, select Administration > Advanced page from the navigation menu. Next, set WAN PPTP Passthrough to Enabled and select Apply. In the WAN Server Address field, enter a ‘dummy’ IP address. If there is a PPTP server running on the LAN, then use the actual IP address of the PPTP server.


Onkyo Corp and Onkyo USA have announced that its network receiver brands are now certified and compatible with the Sonos platform, which earns the products a "Works with Sonos" badge.  This compatibility enables users to seamlessly stream music from their Sonos app to their receiver allowing them to enjoy music anywhere, including their home theater.  Products featuring the new Works with Sonos capability will include select network AV and stereo receivers and processors from Onkyo, Integra, Pioneer and Pioneer Elite. Onkyo will announce specific models when the firmware update is available on June 6.

The Works with Sonos certification program certifies that the integration meets the Sonos high bar for experience, and that products will seamlessly connect with the Sonos Home Sound System. The certified “Works with Sonos” receivers will be supported by Sonos.

“For more than 70 years, Onkyo has been at the forefront of delivering premium sound and adding Sonos compatibility enables custom installers and home theater fans access to Sonos’ renowned whole-home audio,” says Don Milks, director of product localization for Onkyo USA.  “Now the Sonos app that you are familiar with can stream your favorite content to your network receiver adding tremendous value and convenience to any system.”


TiVo announced that its integration with Amazon Alexa will officially roll out this week. This option allows TiVo BOLT, Roamio and Premiere customers to control their TiVo DVRs from Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Spot or Echo Plus devices using only their voice.

With this integration, Amazon Alexa can do many of the things that customers already do with the TiVo remote. Users can ask Alexa to change the channel, “Alexa, watch CBS,” or launch a streaming app, “Alexa, open Netflix.” You can even skip commercials for SkipMode enabled shows, by saying, “Alexa, skip commercials.” Amazon Alexa can also manage simple media controls like play, pause, fast-forward or go back, which jumps back eight seconds in programming.



Luxul has released a critical firmware update for its Epic 3 router. This update improves system stability and should be performed as soon as possible.

For continued function of these routers this update must be performed on all Epic 3s in the field.

The company advises to follow these procedures during the update: 

  • While the router is updating, do not unplug the power source from the router
  • For a period during this particular update the router’s system and Wi-Fi LEDs will be disabled and turned off. This is normal during this update
  • This update could take up to five minutes. If five minutes pass and your router does not appear to be rebooting, please call Luxul tech support at 801.822.5450 option 3
  • It is always recommended updates be performed onsite; however, they can be applied remotely using Domotz or a VPN
  • If the update is performed via Domotz using the standalone Domotz Pro Device, it could take up to 10 minutes for the router to show as ‘online’ in the Domotz application. Integrators that execute the update via Domotz using the included agent on the Epic 3 are advised the update could take up to 15 minutes for the router to show as ‘online’ in the Domotz application.
  • To learn more about the update and other product firmware visit Luxul's firmware update page.

In addition, Luxul has issued more information related to the update. The company says that when performing this update, if Domotz is enabled, integrators will need to "connect" the Domtoz client running on the Epic 3 to the Domotz Cloud account.
Until this is completed, the site, including the Epic 3 will lose monitoring capabilities and will appear 'down' when viewing from your account on domotz.com or the Domotz app.

To connect Domotz follow these steps:

1.On the Epic 3 UI, go to the "Third Party Software" tab, then "Domotz."
2. Once there, click "Connect."

3. You will then be prompted to enter an email address and password - you must use the same account information that was used to create the Epic 3 account originally.
4. After logging in, you will see a "Resume Configuration" page - you should
see the Domotz Agent Name, and pre-populated location information on
where the agent is running.
5. Click on "RESUME YOUR AGENT."
6. Domotz will then begin to scan for devices on the network and when
completed, will show a "DONE" button - click "DONE" to finish. 

7. You can now log back in to your Domotz account on either domotz.com or the Domtoz app, and the Epic 3 will now show "Active." 

 


Paradigm Electronics Inc., a Canadian-based audio company, is celebrating the success of its flagship Persona line of products with the introduction of a Design Studio featuring 18 new premium automotive finishes, one additional standard color, new grilles, and custom metal work. From soft neutrals, to daring bold colors, the finish options promise something for everyone.

Originally announced in late 2017 as 12 new finishes, the final mix of colors available at the launch of the custom Persona Design Studio was expanded to include 18 premium colors and one new standard color—in addition to the four standard color options already offered—three grille color options, and two choices for the metal work (driver cones, PPA lens, and base).

The company says that customers are invited to build their own Persona speakers using its Persona Design Studio. At this web page consumers will be able to mix and match colors, metal and grilles to create their customized speakers. The Persona Design Studio will launch in May of 2018 to coincide with the High End 2018 show in Munich, Germany.

Standard Finishes now include:

  • Aria Blue
  • New: Carbon Black
  • Harmony White
  • Sonic Silver
  • Vanta Black

New: Premium colors are now available in:

  • Amethyst Gloss
  • Anthracite Metallic
  • Blush Metallic
  • British Racing Green Metallic
  • Burnt Orange Metallic
  • Candy Apple Red Metallic
  • Dakota Brown Metallic
  • Desert Gold Metallic
  • Diamond White Metallic
  • Laguna Blue Gloss
  • Merlot Metallic
  • Parchment Gloss
  • Saffron Yellow Metallic
  • Seafoam Green Metallic
  • Taupe Metallic
  • Toffee Metallic
  • Vermillion Gloss
  • Viridian Gloss

New: Metal is now available in:

  • Black
  • Silver

New: Grilles are now available in:

  • Black
  • Silver

May 8

Access Networks, a provider of enterprise-grade network solutions for residential integration, has announced its new online store, called My Access is now live. This full-featured online experience for A/V integrators replaces the legacy Access Networks online store with significantly enhanced features and functionality.

As part of the value proposition with My Access, integrators can purchase all of the latest systems, including the Core² and Core³ custom systems, which are now available. Ruckus ICX switches are also available on My Access with a basic preconfiguration, as well as the much anticipated Access Networks Wireless products powered by Ruckus, which are also now shipping. Initially, only company principals and purchasers will be able to login to My Access, however a tiered login structure will be added.

Access Networks Wireless is a family of best-in-class wireless networking products featuring patented technology designed and manufactured for Access Networks by Ruckus Wireless. The lineup includes a wireless controller, three indoor access points and an outdoor access point all optimized for premium residential applications. Access Networks Wireless components come with four years of support provided by the award-winning engineers at Access Networks, eliminating the need to purchase support separately. Each wireless controller includes eight access point licenses, with additional licenses available one at a time as needed. Access Networks Wireless technology is available now on My Access.

Core² and Core³ are the newest generation of Access Networks’ industry-first enterprise-grade network solutions specifically tailored for the automated residence. Access Networks design services are included with the purchase of all Core2 and Core3 network solutions, differentiating Access Networks from any other residential solutions provider. Each system, powered by Cisco, Ruckus and Access Networks Wireless, consists of four essential products; a router/firewall, a wireless controller, a primary switch and an Access Networks proprietary monitoring device called a Helix to facilitate proactive service and support of the entire network system. Integrators will appreciate the scalability and flexibility of Core2 and Core3 systems as well as the streamlined design, purchase and fulfillment processes all part of the best-in-class products and services from Access Networks. Core² and Core³ systems are available now on My Access.


With a global partnership first announced during the 2017 Munich HIGH END Show, DALI’s initial launch of its CALLISTO Wireless Active Speaker System at the 2018 show formalizes the addition to the BluOS family of products, now numbering nearly 20 different solutions across three audio brands.

These DALI products join an ecosystem of BluOS-enabled and BluOS-ready components and speakers from Bluesound and NAD Electronics.

All three brands are also exhibiting BluOS products at the 2018 Munich HIGH End Show, giving European audio enthusiasts the opportunity to experience the BluOS platform.

“We are delighted to welcome DALI to the BluOS family,” said Andrew Haines, product manager, BluOS. “We know DALI’s fans are passionate about music and we look forward  to providing them the means for Hi-Res music discovery and multi room enjoyment through the BluOS implementation option.”

The DALI CALLISTO solution utilizes Lenbrook’s proprietary BluOS technology in the form of a modular upgrade option called the BluOS NPM-1. Adding this module allows the system to be connected wirelessly or hard wired to a home network with access to internet radio stations, popular music streaming services, and lossless music libraries stored on a computer or mobile device. BluOS’s brand-agnostic platform means that any BluOS Enabled device, regardless of manufacturer, can wirelessly connect with up to 64 enabled home theaters, stereo systems, components or compact all-in- one speakers within the BluOS ecosystem, for synced or asynchronous music playback in one or multiple rooms.


Savant, a manufacturer of smart home technology, has announced a partnership with USAI Lighting, a manufacturer of architectural light fixtures for nearly any application. USAI Lighting’s innovative LED solutions focus on achieving the perfect balance between color technology, optical design and superior performance.

In both joint product design and market initiatives, Savant and USAI Lighting will provide integrators with seamless end-to-end lighting solutions that both solve the compatibility issues integrators face with disparate solutions and deliver an unmatched control experience via Savant’s astonishing TrueImage user interface. 

“Our partnership with USAI Lighting represents another vital piece of Savant’s forward-thinking strategy that includes lighting, climate, energy management, entertainment and a broad range of smart home functionality,” states Savant CEO Robert Madonna. “Savant enables these advanced technologies to work effortlessly together, providing enhanced lifestyle, environmental responsibility and wellness for the luxury home.” 


May 7

Roon has announced its 1.5 platform. The whole-house audio company says with nearly 100 of the most respected audio brands in the world, as well as over 100 Roon Ready network players on the market and hundreds more Roon Tested DACs, integrated amplifiers, and networked speakers, the company says that integrators can tailor high performing whole-house systems based on each client's needs.

The company also supports MQA high-resolution audio, and it explains that some Roon Ready devices decode and/or render MQA and some don't. Acco


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