In another sign that custom hardware manufacturers are aiming at the middle ground, a key player in the solid-state media manager market, ReQuest, is rolling out a multi-room audio distribution system that requires no programming.
"The iQ system is a straight-out-of-the-box solution that we are going to be launching in Europe as well as in the US," ReQuest's John Reine tells 'Installation International'.
The iQ system consists of various components that are powered and controlled by a single Cat5 cable. The Intelligent Media Server has four independent audio outputs and can hold up to 800 CDs in lossless WAV format, and features RJ-45 connections for up to eight 3-inch, in-wall color touchscreens. The Intelligent Multiroom Amplifier is a 9-source, 16-channel device with 80 Watts per channel, marrying an integrated pre-amp and matrix switch in the same unit.
The RS232-ready Intelligent Multi-room Tuner offers XM radio and AM/FM tuning with RDS feedback. The system is rounded out with a 12-inch tabletop touchpad and 7-inch wireless controller that lets users create playlists and playback any content in any room.
Instead of streaming, the company promotes its proprietary "synching" technique for simultaneous multi-zone playback. ReQuest has partnered with Ripping Revolution, a company that uses robotic and computer automation to load music collections onto media servers.