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ISE 2011 residential round-up

Co-hosted as it is by CEDIA, ISE always has a strong showing of residential technology, and the 2011 edition of the show was no exception. Here's a round-up of some of the key residential product developments on show at ISE 2011, courtesy of The ISE Daily team.

Co-hosted as it is by CEDIA, ISE always has a strong showing of residential technology, and the 2011 edition of the show was no exception. Away from the showfloor, there was a programme of paid CEDIA education sessions – including EST2 certification in French and Spanish as well as English – alongside the more traditional free seminars.

In the exhibition halls, there were over 100 companies showing their solutions in the Residential Solutions Area. IE Residential and the ISE e-daily have covered many of these in recent weeks, but here are some other stories that we haven’t covered to date.

Niko previewed Home Control, billed as the first electrical installation that actively saves energy – thanks to its using a minimum of energy and featuring an eco-display that shows how much energy residents are using at any time.
Residents can choose from various modules to suit their lifestyle and needs. For instance, as a security system Niko Home Control provides presence simulation and movement sensors, whereas its zone heating controls allow individual rooms to have independent settings at different times of the day.

“Thanks to our ecological functions such as the eco-display and the eco-button, residents can consciously deal with their energy consumption,” said Niko managing director Peter Watteeuw. “Studies show that this allows them to save up to 10% on energy.”

While, technically, the compact Niko Home Control modules help to save space within an electrical cabinet, the system also integrates with existing Niko switch designs, allowing stylish and contemporary interiors.

Aton showed the AH66T Kit, described as the industry’s first preprogrammed ‘whole house music and more’ system. It features the AH66T multisource multi-zone controller plus six OLED2 touchpads that offer full-colour graphic control and feedback.

With built-in programming to run sources like the iPort and Lutron RadioRA 2, the system is said to allow dealers to quickly deploy a first-time or add-on audio system with iPod and lighting control capability ready to go.

The AH66T has a built-in, RDS-enabled AM/FM tuner plus six additional sources, with 60W of power per zone and a line level pre-output for subzones. The controller includes a dedicated IR input for every zone with a full, discrete IR code set for integration. It comes with a full two-way RS-232 code set for control via third-party devices where a separate multi-room solution is required.

Interchangeable faceplates in white, ivory and almond enable the solution to complement a wide variety of interiors.

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Opus Technologies showed its multi-room entertainment and smart home control system, which it says were designed by installers, for installers. Opus says the new system is a ‘wrap-around solution’, designed to unify the multitude of entertainment sources and control options in the home. It is said to provide an intuitive interface, accessible across a variety of platforms including Opus touchscreens and iPhone or iPad, as well as a standard TV.

At the heart of the system is the master control unit (MCU610) featuring distribution from 14 sources to six main zones and six sub-zones (scalable to 36×36), serving as the backbone of a flexible multi-room entertainment system.
The Opus 6 series embraces technologies such as Apple TV, Blu-ray, iPod, DAB/DAB+, media streaming, internet radio and more, plus the integration of lighting, heating, windows/blinds and CCTV, including KNX-enabled devices. The VMX610 video matrix supports full high definition video output to eight TV screens anywhere in the home.

The focus for Loewe at ISE was its two ranges of televisions – the Individual, and the Connect. The Individual gets its name from the broad range of configuration options. Not only are four screen sizes available – the LEDbacklit 32in and 55in were recently added to the 40in and 46in – but Loewe says that it also offers incomparable freedom in terms of colour, design, sound, set-up options and technical features.

The 32in model features 100Hz technology, while the 55in screen includes intelligent backlight control and 400Hz refresh. The integrated CI+ interface, which allows reception of encrypted channels, also guarantees the set is future-proof, according to Loewe.

WLAN connectivity is available, while Media+ technology makes access to various multimedia functions straightforward – including online options. The MediaUpdate capability provides the possibility of receiving new functions through online software updates.

On the VidaBox stand was the latest in a range of HD media extenders, the RoomClientV2 streams content from any VidaBox server over a Cat5e/6 cable. An HDMI 1.2 output and VESA bracket complete the package, which is said to benefit from near-silent operation.
The company also showcased its latest ThinClientV2 Blu-ray and DVD media extender, featuring enhanced Blu-ray playback performance; and on-wall iPad mounting systems that feature 19mm aluminum frames in seven different colours and finishes. The mounts are bolstered by the iPower charging station, which delivers power over Cat5.
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Multi-room audio

The i500 Series from Eissound is a new multi-room audio system with a contemporary design and technology that delivers ‘exceptional’ sound quality, according to the manufacturer.

The Central Kit comprises a central unit, remote control and a universal dock for iPod. It includes an RDS FM tuner with 30 memories and 75-ohm antenna connector, a CD/DVD audio, MP3 player; two RCA inputs for external sound sources, plus data and four-channel sound output via RJ45 connector.

The central unit does not need installation and can be placed anywhere in the home or building, provided it is close to the Line Connector Module installed in a wall. A standard bus connection is wired to the central unit and the main active loudspeakers.

NuVo showed the new Elite version of its Music Port (MPS4-E) content aggregator and streaming. Like the original MPS4, the unit can consolidate, organise, store and distribute PC-based audio content, while also streaming a variety of internet radio audio services. New functions on the Elite version include cloud synchronisation, which allows users to access libraries of audio content from multiple locations. Content can also be streamed directly from network-attached storage. Another new addition is an IP control protocol that enables pre-built Crestron, AMX, and URC control integration. The MPS4-E caters for up to four simultaneous sources, and incorporates 640 GB of internal storage.
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The Alcons CSS3 is a two-way ultra-compact cinema surround loudspeaker. Featuring a 1in soft-dome tweeter on a waveguide and a single 6.5in woofer, the system is said to deliver hi-fi performance from a compact and efficient package.

Frequency response is specified as 67Hz-20kHz (-3dB), with lowest usable frequency starting at 47Hz.
The 10° slanted baffle together with the wide 90° horizontal dispersion caters for a very smooth LF/HF blending in installations where the surrounds are mounted closely to the audience, Alcons claims.

Together with the CR1 ultracompact front system and CB181sl ultra-shallow subwoofer, the CSS3 forms a package for small-to-medium home cinemas, as well as pro applications.

The Harman brand Revel presented its series of architectural loudspeakers. Featuring 21 models, the range is said to benefit from a ‘dramatically simplified installation method’. No tools are required and the patented process can apparently be carried out with one hand. The frameless grilles attach magnetically to all in-wall and in-ceiling models – the latter available with both round and square grilles.

New models – Sub12-500 and Sub10-250 enclosures with outboard mono amplifiers – join the existing Cinema Series in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Dual central mount spiders are used in both models to maximise the linear movement of the laminated carbon-fibre honeycomb woofer cone, which is coupled with a 4in voicecoil.

Speaker specialist Dali unveiled the Phantom Lektor in-wall design, which the maker says is a ‘true hi-fi product’ that can compete with floor-standing loudspeakers for audio quality. The new units are housed in a compact cube but are said to deliver a large soundstage with an impressive amount of headroom. In addition, the wood-fibre cones employed for the woofer are claimed to produce ‘precise and natural’ bass.

Niles Audio exhibited the third generation of its DS Directed Soundfield ceiling-mount loudspeakers. The speakers provide a discreet complement to any environment thanks to their paintable, low-profile, magnetically attached grilles.

Niles’s patented pivoting tweeter and woofer technologies are said to deliver high sound quality and to feature premium components, including copper caps, high-level crossovers and Kapton voice coil formers.

The loudspeakers – available in a variety of 7in and 8in models – have been voiced specifically to handle dynamic content from Blu-ray Discs as well as compressed music from sources such as iPods, Pandora and Rhapsody.