URC Intros New Control Hub, Full Multiroom Audio, IP Cams
In addition to the new MRX-10 controller and two new remotes, URC will debut at CEDIA a complete multiroom audio system including two amps, streaming media player and keypad.
Pricing for the media player has not be finalized, but “we’re trying to keep it as low as possible,” says Sienkiewicz.
He confirms that the unit will cost more than Logitech’s Squeezebox music streamers, which retail for $300 to $400, “because it is more sophisticated than Squeezebox.”
Sienkiewicz imagines that one SNP-1 will be purchased for each user in the house.
“Each person would then have complete control of their own music,” he says.
To prevent multiple audio streams from consuming excessive amounts of network bandwidth, URC is also delivering two network switches that provide MAC filtering: the MFS-8 and PoE-enabled version called the MFSPOE-8.
Finally, URC fills a big gap in its multiroom line with the addition of an affordable KP-100 in-wall keypad. The hard-button controller fits in a single-gang box and accepts standard Decora-style wall plates (not included). The keypad is connected and powered (PoE) via single Cat 5 cable and features seven interchangeable, customizable, backlit hard buttons.
The KP-100 ships with two sets of keypad buttons – one for lighting and one for music – but custom buttons also are available, according to Sienkiewicz.
URC continues to offer its own native RF lighting controls.
Universal Remotes and MRX-10 Controller
It wouldn’t be a URC product roll-out without a new controller and a few URCs thrown in.
Sure enough, the company has a new IP-enabled control hub, the MRX-10, which stores and issues all macros and commands for IP, IR, RS-232, relay and sensor-controlled devices. The unit provides two-way communications with Total Control remotes and keypads, and is expandable via LAN and MRX series sub-base stations.
The MS-1200 features a large color touchscreen that can display cover art and other graphical feedback. The MS-780 is a step-down remote which nevertheless boasts a sleek color OLED screen.
IP Surveillance Cameras
Finally, URC is launching a complete CCTV line, featuring three IP-enabled surveillance cameras can be monitored via URC Total Control remotes, keypads and touchscreens, as well as from remote locations via Web browsers.
All three indoor and outdoor cameras feature H.264/MJPEG dual encoding and transmission, simultaneous dual streaming, two-way audio communication, and optional WiFi dongles.
Why is URC Doing This?
Why is URC straying so far from its roots as an A/V control solution? And, in particular, why would URC offer its own IP cameras when there are so many good, cheap units in the marketplace?
“We’re offering cameras because we’re offering a complete solution,” says Sienkiewicz. “We want to be a one-stop shop. … We’re not going to stop until we can control everything in the home. Cameras are a logical extension.”
Furthermore, he says, “From the tech-support side, it’s a lot easier to troubleshoot a camera system if the tech has the exact camera on his desk.”
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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