Highlight Products from the 2008 CEDIA Expo
by Paul M. Krasnodenski
PISCATAWAY, N.J.- September, 16 2008-
CEDIA stands for the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association and is an international trade association of companies that specialize in planning and installing electronic systems for the home. They not only include home integrators and system designers like Electronics Design Group but also many companies and vendors that produce all the amazing products that pertain to our industry. The CEDIA Expo is the largest gathering of the year and showcases many new and exciting upcoming products. The following are some of the products to keep your eyes open for. While some are available now, others will be on their way in the near future.
Stewart Filmscreen has a very interesting product with multiple applications : The product is called Starglas. Starglas consists of two sheets of glass with a screen material compressed between them. Starglas is designed as a rear projection screen. This innovative product is abrasion and stain resistant in addition to qualifying as safety glass. Starglas also can be used outdoors due to its ability to withstand the elements. In addition to typical projector-screen designs, these innovative properties allow Starglas to be used in applications that were previously unimaginable. Starglas can be used in a Walk-About application where you actually walk on the Starglas as images are projected under your feet. There is also a Bar-Top Projection application that has Starglas mounted into the top of your bar allowing you to have a borderless image right on the top of your bar. This is possible due to its water resistance and extreme durability. StarLift is a motorized lift that discretely conceals Starglas until viewing time. Much like a television lift, this allows a hidden installation where aesthetics are prevalent. With the proper weather resistant installation, StarLift can provide a jaw dropping addition to any outdoor recreation area. This is a truly versatile product.
Up next is Universal Remote Control that presented two break- through products. The first is product is the MX-6000. The MX-6000 is the company’s first two- way wireless color touchscreen. This model communicates utilizing both a Wi-Fi connection and RF. Wi-Fi allows the remote to receive information from your media sources such as an iPod to display and manage play lists and view artist and title information, as well as album art. The RF is used because of the reliability of its connection to execute commands. This allows you to execute multiple commands such as setting a lighting scene, lowering a screen, starting the projector, and turning on your Blu-ray player all at the touch of the screen.
Add to this the company’s own PSX-I iPod dock and media application for PCs running Windows and all your media is now at your fingertips. The MX-6000 was also the recipient of CEDIA’s award for Best New Product.
In addition to the breakthrough MX-6000, Universal also announced a partnership with Lutron for the release of their wireless lighting control system. This system consists of wireless dimmers and switches as well as table top lamp dimmers. The best part of this product is that no interface is required as they communicate directly with Universal’s remotes via RF. This product is great for single or multiple local control room solutions. Some ideal examples would be a media room, theater, master bedroom, or a bar/lounge area. And due to the fact that no wires are required for control this product is ideal for a retro-fit application. With the introduction of these two products, as well as working with Lutron, Universal Remote Control has a lot to offer this year.
Also present at CEDIA was Control 4. This year Control 4 brought out some highly anticipated products. Two of their standouts are the new seven- inch touchscreen and Audio Matrix Switch. The seven inch touchscreen comes both as an in-wall model and a wireless model. Both tout a graphically impressive screen and a new sleek design. The in- wall model has a discreet aesthetic and the ability to receive it s power over Ethernet means it does not require any low voltage wiring to operate. The wireless version utilizes 802.11g wireless networking and over five hours of battery life. A unique feature of this unit is its ability to play streaming audio through it s own headphone jack or out of a powered set of speakers when in its docking station.
The Audio Matrix Switch has an incredible capacity accommodating up to 16 input sources and 16 output zones. This is a great addition to Control 4 for a large multi-room audio solution. These are only a few of the great products Control 4 had to offer. You can be sure that the rest of their new products are equally impressive.
A great all-in-one product was brought by Epson. The Ensemble HD Home Cinema System consists of everything you need for an outstanding cinematic experience at a very affordable price. The system includes a 100″ electric screen with integrated speakers in the housing for the left, right and center audio channels. A 1080p projector is also included with two speakers integrated into its mounting cradle to handle the left and right rear channels. An in- room subwoofer is also included , but that’s not all. The system also includes an AV controller that acts as a receiver with a built in DVD player and 1080p output and a universal remote control with an LCD screen. And if that wasn’t enough all the required cables are included. One may think that a literal theater in a box would suffer in the performance department but The Ensemble HD had a very crisp and detailed picture and creates a powerful and immersive audio environment. This is an amazing solution for anyone who thought they couldn’t have a home theater.
Not to be forgotten is Crestron with the introduction of the TPS-6X wireless touchpanel. The lightweight and elegant design of this device makes it a stand out among wireless touchpanels. The TPS-6X utilizes both Wi-FI and RF communication. The screen displays vibrant user interface graphics as well as photos and album art. But perhaps the stand out feature of this unit is its ability to function as a wired touchpanel when docked. This unique feature allows it to display full motion video from a source such as a security system.
Crestron also had on display it s highly anticipated HDMI multi-room video solution. This new DigitalMedia Switcher can now distribute 1080p content throughout your home. It is also customizable to distribute analog video as well. This is possible using a wiring infrastructure of either CAT-5e/6 or single mode fiber optic wiring. Adding to the versatility of this product is its integrated Gigabit Ethernet and USB mouse and keyboard distribution. This allows computers and media servers to be out of sight and still accessible from anywhere in the house. This is definitely a product to watch as its greatly anticipated release is sure to make an impact.
ReQuest is a company best known for their very popular multi-room audio and music server products. However, they have just added a much desired video server to their line of products. The ReQuest Intelligent Media Client’s stand out feature is the ability to store all your dvds on a server and provide 1080p playback to any TV in the house. Additionally, You Tube streaming content and homemade video is accessible as well. This feature is incorporated right into the same on screen display used to navigate all of ReQuest’s already outstanding features such as music, photos, weather, and stocks. With the addition of the Intelligent Media Client to their already exceptional product line of servers and touchpanels, ReQuest is poised as a manufacturer that can handle just about all of your needs.
These products are just a taste of what these and other great companies showcased at this year’s CEDIA Expo. As always technology continues to stride forward making what was once thought impossible, possible. This coming year is primed to be a very exciting one for the home integration industry. Be sure to look for more in depth product overviews of those covered here in the months to come.
Questions or Comments?
Stewart Filmscreen Starglas
Universal Remote Control MX-6000
Crestron 16X16 DigitalMedia Switcher
Request Intelligent Media Client
Founded by Bob Gullo in 1987, EDG is a pioneer in the custom residential electronics industry. Considered by its peers and industry magazines as one of the top residential system integrators in the country, EDG continues to design innovative systems using the latest software and control system technology to bring its clients simple and easy to use solutions. Providing expertise in all aspects of residential environments, EDG is known for: audio/video systems, acoustics, media room design, lighting, HVAC, telecommunications and motorized control of shades, lifts and other devices. EDG is a one-stop solutions provider in the Hi-End residential marketplace.