Press Release

Product Briefs: Fibaro, SmartThingsRutherford Audio, Goldnote; ProSource adds Dish

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


Product Briefs: Fibaro, SmartThingsRutherford Audio, Goldnote; ProSource adds Dish
CE Pro Editors · March 22, 2019

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 comp itatible, how public companies are faring, and other briefs in custom electronics.


SEE MORE PRODUCT BRIEFS, PAST & PRESENT 


March 22

FIBARO, a global manufacturer of wireless intelligent home automation and control devices, has announced integration with the SmartThings platform for Fibaro devices. Through this integration, many of Fibaro’s Z-Wave smart home sensors and devices are now fully compatible with the widely adopted and deployed SmartThings platform. 

SmartThings open ecosystem makes it easy to automate and manage the smart home with the SmartThings hub and the SmartThings app. Compatible with hundreds of third-party devices, now including the full line of smart home sensors from Fibaro, SmartThings enables user to expand their smart home with lights, door locks, cameras, voice assistants, thermostats and more.


March 19

The importer Rutherford Audio is now handling the Italian high-performance audio brand Goldnote. The Italian manufacturer develops a range of consumer audio products that includes everything from turntables to digital components. 


ProSource, a national audio, video and integration buying group, has announced the addition of DISH Network as a new vendor. Members now have access to DISH's best-in-class residential and commercial video offerings, including the company's flagship satellite television, live streaming and over-the-air solutions, Sling TV and AirTV.

This partnership allows ProSource members to participate in the DISH Custom Integration Program. The program gives integrators the ability to easily create accounts for clients, provides access to skilled technicians for site surveys and complex installs, and includes a dedicated support hotline managed by an award-winning VIP concierge team. DISH also recently introduced a new revenue sharing program, providing integrators with a recurring monthly revenue (RMR) incentive per qualifying purchased DISH account.

"ProSource recognizes the value of DISH as a content management partner," says Dave Workman, CEO and President of ProSource. "RMR for dealers that sell the satellite platform is an attractive option for our members."


March 15

D-Tools, Inc., a worldwide developer data-driven system integration software, has announced that Sonos has joined the D-Tools i3 (Industry Information & Insight) Program. One of the world’s leading sound experience brands, Sonos’ affiliation with D-Tools provides D-Tools Cloud users access to the company’s complete, detailed product specifications and access to dealer specific pricing, and related information for use in the sales, system design, documentation, and procurement of Sonos products for their client engagements.

“Our relationships with industry-leading companies such as Sonos are critical to facilitate the best experience for our growing D-Tools Cloud user base,” says Barrie McCorkle, director of supplier programs, D-Tools.  “Having access to the Sonos catalog – along with their specific pricing, will make it easier for D-Tools Cloud users to specify Sonos products at the critical design stage of the project, and better facilitate ordering after the project is won.”


March 14

Luxul is now offering a firmware update for its XWC-1000 controller. Firmware version 7.0.3 is now available for downloads and updates. 

On Wednesday March 20 at 9 a.m. MST, the network manufacturer adds that it is offering a webinar that includes a Q&A focused on its new Easy Setup App. 


March 13

WiSA LLC, the Wireless Speaker and Audio Association, which is comprised of leading consumer electronics brands founded by Summit Wireless Technologies, has announced the certification of Klipsch Reference Wireless speakers from Klipsch Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of VOXX International Corporation.

Available in June 2019, this new line of Klipsch loudspeakers work with any WiSA Certified and WiSA Ready* products, including the new 2019 WiSA Ready LG OLED and Nano Cell (Super UHD) TVs.

The Klipsch Reference Wireless line includes the RW-34C center channel speaker ($499 U.S. MSRP), the RW-51M front and rear monitors ($699/pair U.S. MSRP), and the RW-100SW wireless subwoofer ($499 U.S. MSRP). These speakers can be mixed and matched to create powerful audio systems in any configuration from stereo (2.0) to a bigger 7.1 home theater configuration. The Reference Wireless speakers also work with any WiSA Certified or WiSA Ready source connected to a WiSA Certified USB Transmitter, including the Axiim Link.

“After a positive reception at this year’s CES, the Klipsch team is very excited to launch our new Reference Wireless line in 2019,” says Vlad Grodzinskiy, product manager for Klipsch. “Our Reference Wireless speakers are designed for people that want the simplicity of a sound bar and high-performance multi-channel capable audio. They will be an ideal complement to the growing number of WiSA Ready platforms, which includes LG TVs, Xboxes, and computers.”


McIntosh, a global manufacturer of consumer audio products for 70 years, has announce that 11 of its products have received Roon Tested designation. 

Roon is an engaging way to browse, organize, and listen to music. Artist photos, credits, bios, reviews, lyrics, tour dates, and composers are located automatically, then interconnected by links to build a surfable digital magazine. Roon is also a multiroom, multi-user networked audio platform, it offers features such as bit-perfect playback, DSD and PCM upsampling, multichannel support, and Signal Path display. 

The McIntosh products receiving Roon Tested designation are as follow: the C47, the C52, the C2600 and the D1100 Preamplifiers. The MA5300, MA7200, MA8900 and MA9000 integrated amplifiers; MAC7200 receiver; MHA150 Headphone Amplifier; and the MXA80 integrated audio system also received the designation. All of these models utilize a powerful eight-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) used in Quad Balanced mode. Their coax and optical inputs will decode music up to 24-bit/192kHz, while their USB inputs accept PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz, and they support DSD up to DSD256 and DXD 384kHz. 

“Many McIntosh customers have requested support for Roon, and today we are happy to announce that all of our current model preamplifiers and integrated amplifiers with digital audio are now Roon Tested,” says Charlie Randall, president, McIntosh. “All of these products were already full-featured units, and now with adding Roon Tested capabilities they will bring even more value and enjoyment to their owners.


Roku says that viewers can watch this year's college basketball games through Roku’s Featured Free offering that will allow users to watch three hours of the tournament for free before having to authenticate with TruTV, TNT, TBS or CBS.  Roku explains that basketball fans just need to grab a Roku player and navigate to the Featured Free tile on the Roku home screen. 

Supporting all of this basketball content, Roku will also be launching its own bracket on Twitter that will allow fans to weigh in on their all-time favorite TV theme songs.


March 12

Throughout the upcoming college basketball tournament DISH is offering an alternative bracket that pits hit TV shows against each other. Called the DISH TV All-Star Bracket Challenge, this competition gives TV lovers the chance to guess which shows are the most popular of all time for a chance to win up to $10K!

The popular television service provides some details on its new content:

  • Participants can place their picks at dishbracketchallenge.com now through through March 21.
  • Anyone can participate, whether you’re a DISH customer or not.
  • Results will be released with each college basketball round, ending with the championship game April 8.
  • Top scoring brackets will receive $10,000 as a first place prize; $5,000 for second place, and $2,500 for a third place finish.

 


IntelliVision Technologies Corp., (IntelliVision), a manufacturer of artificial intelligence and deep learning video and audio analytics software for smart cameras and a subsidiary of Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC), has announced it has been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office titled “System and Method for Scalable Could Services,” number US 10,142,381 B2.

This technology of scalable cloud-based services is a key component of the IntelliVision video analytics service, which can also be deployed on the device or at the local server level.

The patent was granted for the highly connected and scalable cloud-based system that allows a video camera to recognize an event, upload the event data from the camera to the cloud server, and then allow retrieval of the event data by end-user devices such as smartphones, with the ability for on-demand live streaming/viewing and further analytics computation in the cloud. The key advantages of the patented system over other systems are its scalability, security, and consistent, reliable service for video cameras numbering in the millions.

“As more and more IoT devices such as video doorbells and security cameras are integrated into the smart home and the enterprise environments, the need to manage millions of these devices becomes more urgent,” says Vaidhi Nathan, SVP Cameras and Analytics for NSC. “This patent demonstrates that IntelliVision continues to be at the forefront of new technology for large-scale deployments of smart camera video analytics.”


March 11

TIDAL, in partnership with MQA, has announced that Master quality tracks are now available via iPhone devices. The update to TIDAL’s iOS app follows the recent Android news announced at CES in January. 

With TIDAL Masters playback now accessible on iPhones and Android smartphones, as well as desktop and connected devices, you can experience studio quality sound wherever you choose to listen. Using a process called ‘music origami’, MQA’s technology folds master files into smaller files that can be streamed on the go. The MQA decoder in the app recovers all the direct music-related information and also authenticates the source of the original master recording. 

“From our ongoing work with engineers and artists, we know the importance creators place on delivering the original sound they created all the way to the music fan," says Mike Jbara, CEO MQA.

"Through our global partnership with TIDAL, this becomes a reality wherever you’re enjoying your music.”


March 8


On Saturay March 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Value Electronics will present a reference theater demo in its Scarsdale, N.Y. theater room.  The theater will show off a special collaboration of new flagship products: JVC’s NX9 HDR 8K e-shift projector and Panasonic’s UB9000 HDR 4K Player.  


JVC and Panasonic engineers collaborated to build two modes that are exclusively designed to match all of Panasonic’s HDR Optimizer tone mapping.  These new custom modes exploit all of the dynamic tonal range and color gamut to reproduce images that closely match what the post production houses see when they are color grading and setting the HDR range.  
 


March 7

Qobuz, a certified Hi-Res streaming service, is now available on Sonos, which is a popular multiroom wireless smart home product line.  

In the U.S. with a subscription to the Hi-Fi level of Qobuz, Sonos users will be able to stream 16-bit CD to their sound systems.

According to Qobuz, many Sonos users listen to their music through MP3 streaming quality levels, but with its service, listeners can access their music at nearly five times that resolution (1411 kbps vs. 320kbps) to give them full, CD-quality performance. Qobuz's $19.99/month Hi-Fi subscription plan is now available in the Sonos App to stream CD quality on Sonos speakers throughout the home.
 


March 5

DTS, a global developer of high-definition audio solutions, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation, has announced that consumers worldwide can now utilize DTS Play-Fi powered devices as their Preferred Speaker for an Alexa Smart Home Group (SHG).

The new Preferred Speaker feature gives users the convenience of selecting a specific DTS Play-Fi powered device in their home to become the default music playback speaker for their Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Echo Show or other Amazon Alexa device. Once a Preferred Speaker has been designated in the Amazon Alexa App, the user no longer needs to refer to the device’s name in order for music to play on the preferred device. Voice commands as simple as “Alexa, play top-40” to a linked Echo device will initiate playback on the associated DTS Play-Fi speaker. This functionality is available today on all certified “Works with Alexa” DTS Play-Fi products.

“We are excited to share this feature through the wide breadth of DTS Play-Fi powered devices,” says Dannie Lau, general manager, DTS Play-Fi. “With this new ability, customers worldwide now have a simpler way of playing their music on their preferred speakers throughout their Alexa smart home.”


Luxul, a manufacturer of IP networking solutions for AV integrators, has announced that the company's new Easy Setup App is now available as a free download for Apple and Android devices. For integrators, the app speeds up the installation process and ensures that key installation points are covered.

"This app has been put through its paces by Luxul dealers to ensure a reliable tool primed to speed up installations and lower costs," says Mike Grubb, vice president of marketing at Luxul. "We couldn't be more excited to say that initial testing is now complete, and the app is available to all integrators on the Apple and Google Play stores."

Luxul's Easy Setup App allows integrators to install a Luxul wireless router and up to two wireless access points (APs) — at the same time — from the convenience of an iOS or Android phone. The beauty of installing the additional APs with the app, according to Luxul's VP and general manager, Jeff Curtis, is that the router's wireless controller takes care of the configuration; the installer simply plugs them in. The simple-to-use mobile application not only speeds up installations but ensures the product is installed with the appropriate security settings and the latest firmware.


SnapAV has teamed up with Clare, a provider of security and smart-home automation products. The alliance makes SnapAV the exclusive source for Clare products. 

“Partnering with SnapAV adds immense value for our dealers,” says Brett Price, CEO and founder of Clare. “We now offer even more flexibility and convenience on top of the scalable smart-home solutions our installers have come to expect.”

Benefits for dealers will multiply through the alliance between SnapAV and Clare. The synergistic effects of the partnership include increased service and support for dealer’s connected devices, fast shipping to anywhere in the country thanks to SnapAV’s network of distribution centers, and remote management integration with OvrC on popular Clare products. 

“Installers love the ability to add third-party IoT devices on Clare products post-install,” adds Clint Choate, security market director, SnapAV. “Integration with OvrC Pro and other security partners like Honeywell, DSC, Elk, and Alula is a major advantage for our dealers.”


According to a story from 9 to 5 Mac, Apple has acquired a patent portfolio of the failed security company Lighthouse AI. 

The story reports Apple has acquired six patents, and the patents relate to technologies used for computer vision security, visual authentication, two-way communications and event notifications. 

Lighthouse AI shutdown in 2018, and 9 to 5 Mac speculates that Apple may use the newly acquired technologies for future versions of Face ID, and possibly updats to HomeKit. 


Roku, Inc., has announced that Roku devices are now compatible with Amazon Alexa-enabled devices through the new Roku skill for Alexa. Roku streaming player and Roku TV owners in the U.S. can now control their Roku devices using Alexa. The new voice control compatibility further expands the flexibility and choice for how consumers control their Roku devices and get to their entertainment quickly.

“Consumers often have multiple voice ecosystems in their homes. By allowing our customers to choose Alexa, in addition to Roku voice search and controls, and other popular voice assistants; we are strengthening the value Roku offers as a neutral platform in home entertainment,” says Ilya Asnis, senior vice president of Roku OS at Roku. “Roku customers can get to the entertainment they love faster so they can enjoy more of it.”

Roku users with Alexa-enabled devices – including Amazon Echo, Echo Show, Echo Dot, Echo Spot and Echo Plus – can pause a show, launch a streaming channel and search for entertainment by simply saying things like, “Alexa, find comedies on Roku”, “Alexa, pause Roku” or “Alexa, open Hulu on Roku.”  Additionally, Roku TV users can turn on the TV, change the volume, mute the TV, switch inputs and change channels if there is an OTA antenna connected by saying, “Alexa, turn on Roku” or “Alexa, turn up the volume on Roku.”


March 4

SnapAV has relaunched Holy Snap, a program exclusive to Partner Rewards members that gives installers the chance to earn major rewards for purchasing SnapAV products, including cars, vacations, and SnapAV product credit. 

“We’re always looking for impactful ways to thank our dealers for their loyalty,” says Janyl Yousefpour, vice president of customer marketing, SnapAV. 

SnapAV dealers who are in the Partner Rewards program and register for Holy Snap earn one point for every dollar spent in their eligible categories. The program runs from March 4 to December 20th, 2019. After the program is complete, dealers can redeem the points they’ve earned for rewards. 

Rewards range from kegerators, drones, grills, and MacBook Pros to luxury vacations like Caribbean cruises and private helicopter tours of Italian wine country. In total, there are nine different point thresholds and 49 different rewards, with additional rewards being revealed monthly. Participating dealers can redeem their points on a major reward or several smaller rewards, either for themselves or their team members.


Feb. 26

Domotz says that its Domotz Premium Plan option is now live. The company says it listened to many requests for premium features included that serves MSP or IT professionals who manage multiple franchises, hospitality, retail, or corporate networks. Commercial Integrators can also leverage the functionalities available within this new plan on large installations. Upgrade your agents today in the Domotz Portal. 


One Firefly and OneVision have announced a new partnership designed to help integrators boost their customer experience and brand positioning in their local markets.

Website visitors utilizing One Firefly’s manned live-chat solution called Lead Concierge will now have support and service requests re-routed directly to OneVision’s white label 24/7 support team. Additionally, One Firefly and OneVision have combined forces to create a new support experience web page highlighting the service solutions provided by OneVision partners. 

“We believe deeply in the value of partnering with providers of best-in-class solutions to help us grow and improve our business,” says Jimmy Nay, general manager at Control Freaks in Hawaii. “Working with One Firefly on our marketing and with OneVision on service allows us to benefit from outside expertise and helps keep our team focused on what we do best. We are excited to see these two providers partner up, providing us with even more tools to make our brand really shine.”

“OneVision continues to focus on creating an outsized and unfair advantage for our partner integrators,” says Joseph Kolchinsky, CEO and founder of OneVision. “We want them to be the best, by a long shot, so that they thrive in this new world of consumer expectations around service. Given One Firefly’s standing as the industry’s foremost provider of marketing solutions, we see our partnership with them as an exciting step forward for our shared customers.”

“One Firefly’s mission is to provide the most innovative and effective marketing solutions for integrators so that we can help them grow,” says Ron Callis, CEO and founder of One Firefly. “Our partnership with OneVision enables us to improve our mutual customer’s consumer messaging and support experience to help them stand out from their competition.”

Feb. 25

Cary Audio has added the Qobuz streaming audio service to its streaming audio options. The company says that with Qobuz its DMS-550 and DMS-600 offer two ways to stream high resolution music. Qobuz offers up to 24 bit/192kHz FLAC while TIDAL offers up to 24 bit/384kHz via MQA. Both the DMS-550 and DMS-600 include full MQA Certification with the latest generation decoders, Roon Ready, AptX™ HD Bluetooth, Airplay, Qobuz, TIDAL, Spotify, vTuner, and so much more. More choices mean more enjoyment!

The new firmware also includes enhancements for those that use a server, such as JRIVER, to playback your music files from a network computer or NAS. Server function is faster and now includes artwork on the DMS Streamer App.   



Feb. 21

The PowerHouse Alliance, has announced the addition of five new vendor lines that are now available nationwide through its 12 distributor members, including Intellinet Network Solutions, LeakSmart, MantelMount, RTI, and TechLogix.

All product lines from each new vendor will join the 250-plus lines currently carried by PowerHouse Alliance distributors, available with will-call and online ordering from 43 warehouse locations across the country. Intellinet Network Solutions, MantleMount, and RTI extend options for networking, mounts, brackets, extenders, and home control devices, respectively, and TechLogix and LeakSmart expand PowerHouse into fiber and water detection categories.

“As home technology evolves, PowerHouse continues to add relevant products to give dealers choices as well as to expand our repertoire into the new categories they need,” says PowerHouse Alliance executive director Dennis Holzer. “With more networking choices and products like leak detectors and fiber, we’re making it simpler for dealers to source what they need for every unique project and as their clients request new features.”


Savant, a manufacturer of smart home technologies, has announced several updates to Studio, the company’s iPad-based quick configuration tool for integrators. The accessibility and portability of a tablet-based solution such as Savant Studio increases productivity by enabling junior techs to manage S2 host-based system configuration, freeing senior technicians to address more complex assignments in the field.

For the Savant S2 host platform, Studio now features a Smart Behaviors Editor, enabling integrators to create customized workflows that improve configuration efficiency. Examples include the capability to automatically raise/lower a motorized lift when a TV is powered on/off, or creating an audible and/or visual alert when the doorbell has been pressed. Working in conjunction with Savant’s cloud-based central management portal (SCM), user preferences such as Savant Scenes, customized Savant Pro App photos and other Studio configuration parameters can all be stored in the cloud for fast, easy access.

Savant Studio also supports an exciting new feature enabling the S2 host to create a secure, wireless connection to the Savant Pro Remote and other wireless devices without requiring access to the client’s Wi-Fi network—a feature often requested by Savant integrators.


Feb. 20

Remote support company Parasol has launched its monthly Peace Of Mind report card to its dealers and their subscribers this week.

“We’re excited to help our dealers show the value of the Parasol service to their customers in a meaningful monthly report,” says Ted Bremekamp, Parasol’s co-founder and director of operations. “Many of the questions we heard from our dealers and their subscribers relate back to demonstrating to the homeowner how the service is saving them time and money. Our new report card does exactly that.”

“I love the peace of mind I get from knowing what’s going on with my system,” says Michael Falcone, a Parasol subscriber in Richmond, Va. “It’s great knowing you guys are working behind the scenes 24/7. When I’m talking to support it’s as if they’re at my home troubleshooting on-site.”

Dealers will be given the opportunity to opt-in to the new program, which then enables Parasol to send out monthly co-branded reports to subscribers showing them how many issues have been resolved, how much time & money they’ve saved and global statistics across the entire country.

Parasol has offices in Las Vegas, Nevada and Richmond, Virginia.


Atlona has updated and expanded the relevance, and value of the accredited online courses offered through the Atlona Education Portal.

Specifically, Atlona has streamlined and revised its 100 and 200 level online certification courses. These changes provide the most up-to-date instruction and information for rolling out, configuring, and using Atlona’s complete suite of AV over IP products and solutions. Atlona has also added new accredited courses for its Velocity IP-based control AV control platform.

“This update aligns with the evolution of Atlona as a company, as we help our customers transition from foundational HDMI and HDBaseT technologies to IP networks,” says Ken Eagle, director of field training and technical sales, Atlona. “AV professionals will now gain comprehensive knowledge, tools, and industry best practices on the entire end-to-end process. This spans the design, rollout, and integration of AV over IP systems, as well as set-up, management and control of the underlying AV network."


Feb. 19

Building on its success in providing builders with a complete portfolio of connected home solutions, Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC), has announced the expansion of its newly rebranded Nortek Security & Control New Home Program, which now includes thecompany’s complete line-up of solutions.

“Nortek Security & Control is uniquely able to provide new home builders with a complete range of smart home control, automation, security, access control, and entertainment solutions that cover every aspect of the home,” says Bret Jacob, director of builder services, NSC. “Since launching in 2015, our builder program has helped builders sell more homes with smart, connected and personalized technology. We are now amplifying the opportunity with additional support, new categories, and more products within the Nortek Security & Control family.”

In addition to the solutions from NSC’s ELAN, SpeakerCraft, Panamax, and other custom installation brands originally included in the ELAN New Home Program, the Nortek Security & Control New Home Program adds 2GIG security, Linear access control, Numera health and wellness, and GoControl connectivity solutions.


sonnen, a manufacturer of intelligent residential energy management, has announced a new partnership with Azione Unlimited, a national buying group comprised of equal membership of customer integrators, home technology professionals, and manufacturers. As a new vendor, sonnen will offer buying group members a robust program centered around energy automation with ecoLinx - a revolutionary new smart home energy management system that made its debut at CEDIA in September 2018. 

"As an innovative manufacturer with a worldwide reputation for quality, excellence and market leadership in intelligent energy management, sonnen’s alliance with best-in-class industry partners is a key pillar of our go-to-market strategy,” says Jessica Weiss, energy automation & AI business development manager at sonnen, Inc. “By joining Azione Unlimited, we are partnering with many of the best companies in the custom integration industry, helping them grow their business with a unique and high-performing energy automation solution for their customers.”


ProSource, a national audio, video, and integration buying group, has announced today the addition of Future Ready Solutions as a new fiber vendor. Founded by industry veteran Eric Bodley, Future Ready Solutions is a supplier of connectivity products focused on preparing for the future of advanced data and HDMI over fiber.

"Future Ready Solutions has been at the forefront of reliable, high-performance fiber solutions for many years," says Dave Workman, CEO and president of ProSource. "They are an established expert on real 4K HDMI connectivity, signal distribution, and networking over fiber." 

Future Ready Solutions supplies a variety of featured ProSource product brands, including Belden, Celerity Technologies, Cleerline SSF, CTC Union, Inneos, TechLogix Networx, and more. ProSource members gain access to the design and training programs offered by Future Ready Solutions and its online ordering portal with a vast array of documentation, product information, and installation videos. The company also employs a national network of local rep firms to provide local tech support and service.


Feb. 14

Josh.ai has launched an integration with the Savant smart home platform. The integration, co-generated through a partnership with both companies, facilitates seamless interactivity between Savant’s user focused scene-creation into the Josh.ai platform.

The Josh.ai/Savant integration was designed to make the setup process intuitive for integrators. An authentication code is all that is needed to pair the systems, to be entered into the Josh.ai software. Once authenticated, Josh.ai automatically reads in the Savant scenes, enabling users to effortlessly access these features using customizable voice commands. In addition to custom voice triggers, the integrator can also assign custom responses. For example, a “Good Morning” scene could respond with, “Good Morning Sarah, have a great day!”

By adding Savant compatibility, Josh.ai continues to invest in the custom integration channel and its ecosystem partners. With a focus on privacy and security, the Josh.ai/Savant integration utilizes industry leading practices to ensure client data is protected. Josh.ai delivers the most advanced smart home artificial intelligence services without ever exposing client data for sale or marketing purposes. Josh.ai also allows users to opt out of data collection with the ability to delete any or all chat logs at any time, further demonstrating their commitment to privacy for end-users.

“At Josh.ai we obsessively focus on the user experience, from the design of our hardware and software to the integrations we support,” says Alex Capecelatro, CEO of Josh.ai. “Savant’s commitment to that experience makes them a natural partner for us, and collectively we are excited to deliver groundbreaking lifestyle and convenience enhancements to our mutual clients.”

Feb. 13

DOW Electronics, a Southern distributor, has announced an enhancement to its Smart Services program. The membership program now includes courier service around the six DOW Electronics locations. 

The Smart Services program is a monthly membership that covers DOW’s Smart Ship and Smart Courier services. Retailers pay a monthly fee of $50, and all 12-volt and custom integration orders are eligible for free shipping. The Smart Courier services was added to the program this week and is included at no additional cost. Courier services are available for same day deliveries up to 25 miles from a DOW Electronics location. 

“DOW is continually reviewing ways to enhance our services to keep independent retailers competitive. Our Smart Services program is a great way to simplify your shipping costs and save you money," says John Yodzis, president and CEO, Dow Electronics. "We believe the addition of Smart Courier is a great win for the dealer that needs a part that day and doesn’t want to lose time and money running out to pick it up.” 


Feb. 11

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Elite Screens Inc. was founded in 2004 by professionals from the video projector industry at a time when projector competition was enhancing quality at an increasingly lower cost. This has created a huge demographic with high expectations for a better price without compromising quality.

The company points out that it has grown through policies such as its three-year Warranty, and through its expansion into the commercial market that includes:

 

  • Elite ProAV for commercial integrators 
  • EPV Screens for dedicated residential custom installers

In addition, the company has successfully launched a blog that is designed to answer questions related to the the consumer video market. 


Feb. 8

Crestron, a global manufacturer of smart home technologies, will demonstrate enhanced entry door security and convenience, made possible by partnerships with 2N, a large global provider of IP intercoms, and ekey biometric systems GmbH, a provider of fingerprint access solutions. The latest firmware update to 2N IP-based video intercom door stations makes them Crestron RavaSIP intercom and phone technology compliant. As a result, they integrate intuitively with Crestron TSW-x60 Series touch screens to provide a video intercom solution that also seamlessly integrates with third-party electronic door locks. The wall-mounted ekey finger scanners integrate seamlessly with Crestron 3-Series control systems to provide convenient one-touch door entry and enhanced security.

“People want to feel safe and secure in their homes, while also enjoying more convenient entry. Crestron’s partnerships with 2N and ekey make that a reality. Even better, integration is incredibly simple,” says Michael Short, global residential marketing manager for Crestron.

 


Feb. 7

Verizon Fios says it is helping customers stay warm in the cold winter months through a free year of Netflix premium.

Through a new promotion, new Fios customers who purchase Verizon Fios Gigabit Connection Internet or Fios Gigabit Connection Triple Play with a two-year agreement will receive one year free of Netflix premium, which it says represents over $190 in value. Netflix premium lets users stream TV shows and movies from Netflix on four devices at the same time and in high definition (HD) and ultra-high definition (UHD) when available. The plan also lets you download titles on up to four phones or tablets.

Existing Fios customers qualify for the offer by renewing their term agreement.

Already have Netflix—no problem according to Verizon, Fios covers the cost of premium for existing Netflix accounts for one year.


Feb. 6

Zigen is among the first companies to produce video matrix products certified with Dolby Vision. With the Zigen HXL series matrices installed into AV systems, integrators will be able to take advantage of the latest HDR technology with Dolby Vision leading the way to produce greater nuance and realistic detail in the home theater experience.

The connectivity company explains that regular displays lose color saturation as the picture approach peak brightness, while Dolby Vision certified displays retain the colors. Technically speaking, Dolby Vision is capable of reproducing a range of 0.0001 to 10,000 nits of brightness. However, modern day HDR displays peak at around 4,000 nits, which are still 40 times brighter than conventional displays.


Back during CEDIA Expo 2018 Denon and Marantz announced their IMAX Enhanced audio products (Denon AVR-X8500H and Marantz AV8805) in conjunction with the IMAX Enhanced format launch. Both brands are expanding the IMAX Enhanced functionality to the following products via firmware update:

  • Denon AVR-X6500H
  • Denon AVR-X4500H
  • Marantz SR8012
  • Marantz SR7013
  • Marantz SR6013
  • Marantz AV7705

These products provide IMAX digitally remastered 4K HDR content and DTS audio technology to consumers, and Sound United, the owner of the Denon and Marantz brans is working with IMAX and its global studio and content partners to make a steady stream of IMAX Enhanced versions of blockbuster movies and additional programming available to watchers.

“IMAX Enhanced has been building impressive momentum since its introduction in late 2018,” says Brendon Stead, senior vice president of product development and engineering at Sound United.


Nortek Security & Control (NSC) has announced the introduction of the ELAN 8.3 software update, which features expanded support for the growing line of ELAN Surveillance Cameras, plus advanced IntelliVision video analytics. 

“ELAN 8.3 is our latest software that makes the smart home or business more intuitive and intelligent, and provides dealers and end-user customers with more customization options,” says Tom McKeon director of software product management, NSC. “With every update, we make it easier to access, control, and automate more subsystems within the installation and, in doing so, we continue to equip our dealers with the most seamless control platform to sell to their customers.”


Feb. 5

This past fall CE Pro reported on a collaboration between Sonos and Sonance to develop a Sonos branded line of architectural audio products. 

Sonos has now announced the products, which include a set of in-wall, in-ceiling and outdoor loudspeakers are available for preorder. 

The in-ceiling and in-wall products will deliver by Feb. 26, and it says the outdoor speaker will be available "soon."

The open-back architectural prdoucts are said to be designed for, "focused listening," and Sonos adds there is a Sanus wall-mount that will enable integrators to mount its Amp product. The mount ships on March 1, and its retail price is $50. 


Kanto Living Inc., a manufacturer of powered audio and mounting solutions, has announced that it has appointed manufacturer's rep firm Opus Marketing Group to provide sales and marketing services for the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Opus Marketing Group represents Canadian company Kanto Living's complete lineup of high-performance powered speaker systems, TV mounts, speaker stands and accessories, to support Kanto's sales growth and increased demand in consumer and B2B markets. Based in Fallston, Md., with an office in Middletown, N.J., Opus offers a wide range of home, professional, commercial, portable and mobile audio/video products and installation solutions.

"Opus is proud to partner with Kanto to represent their portfolio of products in the Mid-Atlantic Region," says Dan Mangan, principal of Opus Marketing Group. "Kanto is a superior-quality line with unique products that provide dealers with profitability and new sales opportunities in the powered speaker and mounting solutions categories."


Key Digital, a manufacturer of digital video and control systems, has announced that it has joined the Manufacturer Vantage Point (MVP) program with D-Tools Inc., a worldwide developer of business software for system integrators.  

Founded in 1998, the company pioneered the category of data-driven design and documentation with its award-winning System Integrator product, used by audio/video integration professionals in the residential and commercial custom electronics industry.

“We are happy to now have an even further streamlined process for designing audio and video systems with Key Digital’s award winning products. Joining the MVP program with D-Tools promises to save our dealers and customers time and energy with quoting, designing, and executing projects,” says Masha Lakhter, vice president of marketing, Key Digital. “Every move that Key Digital makes is based on what is best for our integrators, and I believe that joining this D-Tools program really illustrates that consideration.”


The CEDIA trade group has announced the launch of the CEDIA Member of Excellence Program. The program aims to celebrate excellence, and there are two designations CEDIA members can achieve to demonstrate their company's commitment to delivering exceptional experiences to their clients, investing in professional development and technical excellence, and serving their community.

"We thought long and hard about how we wanted to approach this program," says Giles Sutton, senior vice president of industry engagement, CEDIA. "It was important for the program to have a holistic approach and represent the core values that many CEDIA companies already share and the aspirational values that would challenge a company to reach the next level of professionalism."

The program is built upon a foundation of continuing education, customer service, and community, and the trade group says that members who demonstrate achievement in these three areas will be granted the designation of CEDIA Advanced Member.

CEDIA member companies looking to achieve the highest level of designation—the CEDIA Member of Excellence —will need to fulfill the three primary requirements, as well as a record of award-winning craftsmanship, and a dedication to advanced industry certifications.

"The program has been crafted in a way that meets the needs of our global membership. Companies of all sizes, regardless of the market they serve, are eligible to participate," adds Tabatha O'Connor, global president, and chief executive officer, CEDIA. "We are so excited to be able to provide this heightened platform to recognize and affirm those member companies who are consistently dedicated to excellence."


Feb. 1

The satellite entertainment provide DISH is letting customers know that using the DISH voice remote, customers can say “Super Bowl” or “Super Bowl 53” to watch, record or find info about the game.

In addition, the popular TV broadcast provider points out that it's building Google Assistant into its Hopper family of receivers. In the coming months, customers will be able to use the DISH voice remote to ask the Assistant to control smart home devices, provide weather and news updates, display photos and more. This new integration builds on the DISH voice remote's existing ability to control the TV experience, including navigation, search and content selection. 

Hopper with the Google Assistant built-in will join DISH's voice control technology suite, which includes its July 2018 integration with the Google Assistant that requires users to pair Hopper with a Google Assistant device, like speakers, phones and more, to control their TV.

"Our customers love the convenience of voice control, so we're expanding functionality to make it even more powerful," says Niraj Desai, vice president of product management, DISH. "As a DISH subscriber, you will soon get the Google Assistant and all its incredible features – like adjusting your thermostat, managing your calendar or simply asking for the latest news – for free, right on your TV." 

With the Google Assistant built-in on Hopper, customers will be able to use the DISH voice remote to ask the Assistant questions and see answers on the screen like the weather forecast or games scores. Users will also be able to control smart home devices, such as dimming the lights or adjusting the thermostat, and relive favorite memories by pulling up Google Photos on the TV screen via voice commands.


Jan. 31

Elite Home Theater Seating (Elite HTS) has launched new website, and and announced its new Diamond Elite Certification for home theater furniture design. 

“The new Elite HTS experience is one that we believe is a major step forward for home theater and cinema fans,” says Bobby Bala, CEO and founder of Elite. “We have taken great care to build a site that our industry partners can use on a daily basis to help their own businesses grow, as well as offering consumers a higher level of value than ever before.”

The Diamond Elite Standard ensures that Elite’s discerning customers can be confident in the design and workmanship that goes into every custom home theater chair order. The standard defines ten key design and construction specifications that every chair must meet in order to be certified and receive the Diamond Elite seal.


Luxul has issued firmware updates for its XWR-3150, XWR-3100 and XWR-1200 routers. The new firmware , version 6.4.2 provides these options:

  • It offers the ability to Auto Add an AP onto a network
  • A banner was added to the UI alerting integrators the Auto Add function was successful
  • Integrators can backup router configurations with or without Domotz information. 

IntelliVision Technologies Corp., a manufacturer of artificial intelligence and deep learning video analytics software for smart cameras, and a subsidiary of Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC), has announced the addition of anti-spoofing to its face recognition technology. IntelliVision anti-spoofing technology ensures that photos, screen-based images or even videos of a known face will not be recognized.
 

“With the growing popularity of facial recognition for access control, security and personalization, it is inevitable that bad actors will try to fool the system,” says Krishna Khadloya, vice president of development for IntelliVision. “Special 3D cameras are too expensive for most applications, so we have implemented a ‘liveness’ test which can be used with regular 2D cameras, embedded or server-based.”


Auralex Acoustics, Inc., a manufacturer of acoustical treatments, has announced that its RLX: Room Layout eXpress acoustical treatment app is available as a standalone app available on the Apple App Store and Android App Store starting in January 2019. The RLX app is an intuitive, automated treatment app that is specifically designed to give instantaneous recommendations for various small room types and gives users the ability quickly get acoustical treatment suggestions on their mobile devices. As a result, the app takes a lot of the guesswork out of determining what is the best and most effective acoustical treatment solutions for a specific space.   


The app is both easy to use and returns immediate results. To begin, simply select your “Room Type.” If your room fits more than one, select the one that best fits your situation. You can also use the “Edit Room” function to view multiple results for the same dimensions previously entered. The kit recommendations provided are based on both the type of room selected, and the suggested amount of necessary acoustic treatment required based on your specific square footage with our comprehensive line of Absorption, Bass Trapping, and Diffusion products. You are also able to input various types of equipment and gear used in your room. The app will use this information to provide suggestions on applicable ISO Series™ Products that can further help your room acoustics.   

When you are ready to make a purchase, a number of our largest Authorized Auralex Dealers are listed, or you may enter your zip code to receive the contact information of the nearest Authorized Auralex Dealer.
 


Jan. 30

YouTube Music is now available on Sonos. According to the audio manufacturer, starting on Jan. 30, 2019, YouTube Music Premium andYouTube Premium subscribers around the world can listen to YouTube’s catalog of original audio content, remixes, live performances, and covers through the Sonos app.

YouTube Music joins Sonos’ lineup of 100-plus streaming partners, giving homeowners access to music tailored to their tastes and playlists to help fans discover new music, and to help them keep up with what’s trending.


Somfy Systems, Inc., a global manufacturer of motors for interior window coverings and exterior solar protections, has announced the Somfy myLink is now an IFTTT service. This integration with IFTTT allows the myLink to communicate with other smart home solutions easily. Users can get started immediately with Applets by Somfy, or create unique Applets tailored to their automation needs. 

“Imagine your motorized shades closing automatically if your connected thermostat hits 90 degrees,” says Eric Montgomery, controls product manager of Somfy North America. “With myLink and IFTTT it’s easy to maximize the benefits of window covering automation.”

IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a free, web-based service allowing users to create connections between digital devices and services with conditional statements called Applets. When an action happens with one service, IFTTT automatically triggers a separate action in another service.
 


Key Digital, a manufacturer of digital video and control systems, has introduced the free Key Digital App for integrators and their end-users to access and control app-ready products using iOS devices. The Key Digital App scans the network to detect Key Digital devices and give users a pre-built GUI for complete control. The Key Digital App features IP control, Enterprise AV over IP access and control, switcher control, multiview and video wall control, and custom presets.

All app-ready Key Digital IP enable products are automatically detected on the local area network and are ready for control. The Key Digital App accesses and controls Key Digital Enterprise AV over IP network switching and control solutions. With switcher control users are able to choose desired video sources and assign them on selected displays, and with multiview and video wall controls users can assign sources, modify displays, and control bezels and screen modes in Key Digital digital signage products. Integrators and users can create custom presets helping to reduce time spent configuring the A/V system.


Jan. 29

ProSource, a national audio, video, and integration buying group has announced the addition of three new lighting category vendors selected by the Lighting and Shading Committee to fuel further growth for the organization. The three new vendors are American Lighting, Inc., DMF Lighting, and WAC Lighting.

"American Lighting is looking forward to providing ProSource members with great service, reliable products, extensive education, and the marketing materials that are needed to promote the products we sell," says Jennifer Kirkpatrick, national sales manager, American Lighting. "We look forward to partnering with the group and building strong relationships with everyone at ProSource."


Vanco has announced that it has issued new EVO-IP Drivers Available for Download. 

The company says the updates include integration drivers for Control4, RTI, and URC (TC2). 

In addition, the company says the updates provide these options:

  • Save and recall presets
  • Switch Multiple Outputs Simultaneously 
  • Create and manage video walls and on-screen displays
  • Reset and reboot devices

Jan. 28

Roku, Inc., announced it will begin rolling out Premium Subscriptions on The Roku Channel on Jan. 28.  All supported devices are expected to receive the update in the coming weeks, beginning with Roku players and concluding with Roku TV models. Premium Subscriptions enables users to browse, trial and subscribe to popular premium entertainment services within The Roku Channel. Users who sign-up for EPIX, SHOWTIME and STARZ before March 31, 2019, can enjoy a 30-day free trial of those services on The Roku Channel. Additionally, viewing of The Roku Channel directly from within the Roku mobile app is available for iOS devices starting today. The update for Android devices is expected to begin to roll out in mid-February.

“We’ve made subscription streaming easy for our customers and are putting them in control. Now there is one place on the Roku platform where users can seamlessly access both free and premium entertainment, with one click sign-up, easy subscription management and a single monthly bill,” says Rob Holmes, vice president, programming and engagement, Roku. “The Roku Channel already delivers a great, free ad-supported experience for our users and a valuable distribution opportunity for our content partners. With the addition of Premium Subscriptions, The Roku Channel will be a better experience for our users and even more valuable for our partners.”

Users can access to 25-plus premium partners including STARZ, SHOWTIME and EPIX, as well as Baeble Music; CollegeHumor’s DROPOUT; CuriosityStream; Fandor Spotlight; FitFusion; The Great Courses Signature Collection; Grokker; Hi-YAH!; Hopster; Lifetime Movie Club; DOX, LOLFlicks, Monsters and Nightmares, Magnolia Selects, and Warriors & Gangsters presented by Magnolia Pictures; MHz Choice; NOGGIN; Shout! Factory TV, Smithsonian Channel Plus; Stingray Karaoke; Tastemade; Viewster Anime; and ZooMoo. More partners are expected be added over time.


Global cloud-based home theater design software, The CEDIA Designer (TCD) has launched an update, which enables its users to produce an immersive VR render file depicting the finished cinema room, ready to send to a client. This update takes TCD's render tool functionality one step further, allowing users to provide their clients with an immersive preview of their potential cinema room - without the need to invest in specialized VR-enabled equipment.
 
"The process to add the immersive visual render is simple. The TCD user designs the technical elements of any dedicated theatre room using the software, then selects the way the room will look by choosing from a plethora of décor and equipment options in TCD's render tool," says Matt Nimmons, managing director, CEDIA EMEA. "The immersive render is generated automatically by the software, taking just 15-20 minutes to create the file."

The client can open the immersive render file directly from an email and view it on an Android or iOS phone, tablet, or computer. If opening and viewing on a phone or tablet, all the client needs do is download a free panorama viewer app such as Photosphere or Panorama 360 Camera, then open the file using the chosen app to view their cinema room. For an immersive visual experience, the client can view the file using an inexpensive Google Cardboard (or similar) headset and compatible panorama file viewer app.


Jan. 22

Capitol, a distributor serving the residential and light commercial markets, has unveiled a new logo. The new logo is the focal point of the company's rebranding campaign that was launched on Jan. 2.

The new logo features the company name with their iconic “play” button in Capitol Teal within
the “O” of the company name.

“Capitol is in the midst of a rebranding effort, driven in no small part by our marketing manager and graphic artist, Megan Larson,” comments Curt Hayes, president and CFO Capitol Sales. 

“From our website, collateral and eFlyers to our customers, Megan is creating an updated, unified appearance for all things Capitol, which of course begins with a new logo that features a fresh appearance while still being recognizable to our longtime clients.”


Origin Acoustics, a manufacturer of architectural loudspeakers and custom installed audio strengthens its commitment to the dedicated home theater sector by joining the global cloud-based design software, The CEDIA Designer (TCD) online database. Effective immediately, integrators using TCD can begin designing immersive audio home theatres and simpler media rooms – complete with full project documentation – using Origin Acoustics’ range of home cinema loudspeakers, subwoofers and amplifiers.

Included within TCD’s substantial product database are Origin Acoustics’ recently debuted in-wall and on-wall Marquee Cinema Collection, the in-ceiling Director Collection, the Composer Collection (comprised of sleek in-wall, theater-style, LCR style and two-way bezel-less frame loudspeakers), the in-ceiling, in-wall and retrofit in-wall Architectural Subwoofer range, Powered Subwoofers and associated amplifiers.

Built by home theater designers, for home theater designers, The CEDIA Designer software (formerly known as The Cinema Designer) allows home cinema professionals to design any dedicated cinema or media room in minutes using products from the industry’s best residential theater manufacturers. 

TCD creates peer-reviewed standard cinema designs and documentation, allowing users to produce technic


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