Located this year at Mercedes-Benz world near Weybridge in Surrey, Invision’s Home Technology Showcase provided an opportunity to catch up with the latest developments from two dozen of the company’s distributed brands.
While the name of the event highlights its primarily residential focus, many of the products on show are suitable for smaller commercial applications – and, with Invision specification consultant Justin Lewins as my guide, those were the main focus of the afternoon I spent there.
Alex Camara, CEO of AudioControl (main picture), showed me his company’s newest amplifier offerings. The Bijou 600 is a compact half-rack 1U two-channel zone amplifier, rated at 100W per channel into 8 ohms or 200W into 4 ohms. It has an integrated D-A converter and preamp volume control. Typical applications include streaming audio systems, and video displays with digital outputs.
For applications where the amplifier is on show, the Rialto 400 and Rialto 600 offer similar functionality in an aesthetically designed form factor.
Also on show from AudioControl was the Director Model M6400, a 16-channel matrix amplifier with zone control and DSP features, including graphic and parametric EQ.
Jeremy Burkhardt, CEO of Origin Acoustics, demonstrated his company’s new range of in-ceiling and in-wall speakers that offer ‘more bass in less space’. Having spent some time out of the industry after selling SpeakerCraft, Burkhardt returned last year with Origin Acoustics. Starting afresh with a new speaker range meant no worries with backwards compatibility, so he could create a new tool-less mounting system – Zip-Clip. This features a mounting ring, which is fixed to the ceiling or wall cavity by pulling on four straps that are ridged like cable ties. The speaker then screws onto the ring.
Mark van Zon, international sales manager at iRoom, demonstrated the iBezel, which combines an iPad dock with a control surface. It features open source communication with major control systems, and sports eight programmable buttons. It also features eight digital inputs, so it can take inputs from sensors and other equipment. A proximity sensor wakes the device up when the user approaches it.
The fact that the iBezel enables the control system to be accessed even when the iPad has been removed “turns it from an accessory into a solution – so it’s not just a ‘nice to have’”, said van Zon.
4K was the order of the day at the Wyrestorm stand. Product manager James Meredith showed the company’s 4K test kit, which comprises a signal generator and analyser. Battery powered, it can be left overnight and the log files downloaded for analysis.
Meredith also mentioned that InfoComm will see the launch of Wyrestorm 4K over IP network extenders. These will support HDCP2.2 – an important feature given that this will be a requirement of the Blu-ray 4K format, which has been announced and is due for launch at the end of the year.
Kevin Hansen, sales VP at Luxul, demonstrated the XWC-1000 wireless controller, which can manage up to eight wireless access points. The ‘wireless roam’ feature ensures that as wireless devices move around and the signal strength starts to fade, they are automatically reconnected to a stronger signal. Its central management function enables multiple SSIDs to be managed from a single point and pushed out to up to 16 sources.
Steve Liddiard, sales manager at Lilin, presented the company’s range of bespoke custom-finished cameras. These can be supplied in quantities of one to 500, matched to either a standard RAL colour or a pattern. These include covert camera that are less than an inch in diameter. The company has diversified from its base in commercial CCTV to address the AV market; Liddiard said that he frequently deals with AV installers, usually from custom installation but also some from the commercial side.
Finally, I couldn’t resist a quick look at the world’s first waterproof 4K TV, on show at the Aquavision stand. The 42in model was on show, but it is also available in 55in and 65in sizes, business development manager Michelle Ford explained. It features a heated screen to prevent misting up and is waterproof to IP65.