Windows 7 Launches Today

October 22, 2009

The much anticipated Windows 7 launched today. And while the launch didn’t come with as much fanfare as previous new platform launches from Microsoft, this one is supposed to pack a pretty big punch.   

Vista was a disaster. Although I am a fan of the new design, operationally I beg for XP every time I get the “blue circle of death” – which always seems happens when I am on deadline. Over the past 2 years we have been submerged in Vista and all of its quirkiness. I now know that there are a few combinations of programs that will just NOT run at the same time (Photoshop with ANTYHING for instance). But I digress…

Windows 7 has been highly anticipated for the past year – especially in the custom channel. Media Centers have great potential. We all know that. But one of the biggest roadblocks has been the unpredictability of the Windows platform. Windows 7 is supposed to change all of that. And I really hope it does. Integrators have been anticipating the launch of Win 7 for some time, planning for it to help take their business to the next level and allow them to do things that weren’t previously possible. Over the past 6 months, many have even postponed specing in Media Centers because they are waiting for the new OS (Even though most manufacturers are offering free upgrade software) in anticipation of the new version being released.

I have yet to use it, but I am in the process of looking for a new laptop and decided to wait until Win 7 emerged. I’m interested to hear from the early adaptors on their thoughts about the new platform. Does it really solve the problems and glitches it is supposed to?

Posted by: Lauren Simmen


From Video to Mounts, from Speakers to Control…Caster Clients totalled more than 500 stories off CEDIA

October 15, 2009

Coming off CEDIA is always a busy time at Caster. With ten clients on the floor, prepping for the show is hard enough, but coming back everyone wants their show reports. The line up of press stories they had is what keeps our clients smiling and keep us slammed through Columbus Day. If you estimate seven clients with two news releases each multiplied times 50 top tier news outlets covering the show, we captured over 500 news articles.

These are some of my favorites this year:

1. Paradigm: CEPro’s Julie Jacobson’s recap of her Toronto trip and blind listening of the new SE speakers attained a lot of buzz. Steven Kim at Engadget sure appreciated the story and supplied his take, the comments are especially titillating

2. Control4: With back to back shows, news from Control4 spanned the energy and utility space and its core business in home automation. Smart Grid News offered this take Texas Utility Choses Control4 for HAN Control and Energy Management while Stewart Wolpin wrote this on the new EMS 100 system for DVICE. Janet Pinkerton’s take on how the Smart Grid is going to impact CE retail and custom installers was a hit over at Dealerscope.

3. NuVo had a tremendous show nabbing  2009 CEDIA Manufacturers’ Excellence Award, Best New Product: Renovia and the press agreed with stories like HomeTheater.com – NuVo Renovia May Be Harbinger of Future and Twice’s  Retrofit, Remodeling Get CEDIA Expo Focus.

4. OmniMount had a powerhouse of a show as furniture and  TV Mounting Options Continue To Expand and with lots of sightings of their OmniLite Series, New Classic Series and Modena Series, and a huge volume of hourly giveaways posted through their Twitter site.

5. MartinLogan impressed the audio crowd at this year’s  Expo.  HomeTheaterForum.com offers this CEDIA 2009 Martin Logan Booth Tour and BigPictureBigSound.com highlights MartinLogan Shows Wireless Subwoofers: Dynamo 700 and 1000.

6. Anthem ran a great demo showing of their Statement D2V, fans flocked and the booth was slammed throughout the show. Home Theater Review posted their thoughts on the Anthem Statement D2v with Anthem Room Correction Reviewed.

7. Runco rounded out our clients at CEDIA with one of the most applauded video demos at the show, from their new entry level LightSyle to the debut of their Quantum LED line, the pools of drool were deep and accolades many as attested by Projector Central’s  Runco Takes Xtreme DLP Projection to the Next Level…  and engadgetHD.com with their Price check – Runco’s LS-3 projector within reach of mere mortals.

All in all, I’d say a very good show!

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter : newscaster


ZigBee Alliance Certifies 17 New ZigBee Home Automation Products

October 12, 2009

San Ramon, Calif. –  The ZigBee® Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in energy management, commercial and consumer applications, today announced the certification of 17 devices from 10 manufacturers using ZigBee Home Automation, plus enhancements to the public application profile.

ZigBee Home Automation is a standard offering control for home appliances, lighting, environment, energy use, and security. It provides a path to direct interoperability with other ZigBee public application profiles, including the industry-leading ZigBee Smart Energy. ZigBee Home Automation now features new security mechanisms and support for doorbells and mechanized window shades. The standard features control of HVAC systems, power outlets, motorized devices, security and other devices. Product manufacturers will benefit from this standardized approach that makes devices reliable, affordable, easy-to-install and operate. Products using ZigBee Home Automation are ideal for new construction, do-it-yourself and retrofit markets.

The 2009 “Home Technologies and Energy Efficiency: A Look At Behaviors, Issues and Solutions” study by the Consumer Electronics Association shows 75 percent of consumers expressed concern over possible rising energy costs. Many ZigBee Home Automation certified products are designed to help consumers manage home energy costs.

“With 17 products from 10 global manufacturers passing our rigorous certification process, ZigBee Home Automation will be in a position to make a strong retail debut,” said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. “With a total of 41 certified products, ZigBee Home Automation and ZigBee Smart Energy will give consumers more options to monitor and control their energy use while enjoying a smarter and safer home.”

The following ZigBee Home Automation certified products are fully interoperable and will use the ZigBee Certified logo and the ZigBee Home Automation icon on product packaging and advertisements to clearly communicate interoperability to the marketplace. For a full list of features and product photos, please visit http://www.zigbee.org/homeautomation.

  • 4Home — ControlPoint, Portal Serverand SDK software products allow for the rapid development and deployment of compelling, easy-to-use, and profitable new applications for today’s connected home, including energy management, home monitoring and security, and media management.
  • AlertMe — Occupancy Sensor monitors rooms and corridors for motion, features an indicator LED, battery operation, low-power micro-controller, status reports every two minutes and alarm events as they occur.
  • AlertMe — Simple Sensor for domestic windows and doors is a two-part design comprising a compact magnet and a sensitive magnetic reed switch and features an indicator LED, battery operation, low-power micro-controller, status reports every two minutes along with opening and closing events as they occur.
  • AlertMe — On/Off Button is a wireless doorbell or panic button offering touch and visual feedback via a positive button action and bright LEDs. It features indicator LEDs, battery operation, low-power micro-controller, status reports every two minutes and button-push events as they occur.
  • AlertMe — Access Controller serves as a key fob for the AlertMe Intruder Alarm service and recognizes a user’s occupancy. It features indicator LEDs, battery operation, piezoelectric sounder, low-power micro-controller, status reports every two minutes and button pushes as they occur.
  • Black & Decker — Kwikset SmartCode Deadbolt with Home Connect Technology enables the door lock to wirelessly communicate with other devices in the home, allowing homeowners to monitor and control their door locks using either a web enabled device or their home automation system. It offers true remote locking and unlocking features due to its motorized driven deadbolt and can automatically arm/disarm security systems as well as initiate customized scenes upon entrance and exit.
  • CentraLite — HA On/Off Light Switches can be controlled at the device itself or from any other ZigBee Home Automation enabled switch. It is rated to control 1,000 watts and will be available in the standard Decora style design in a variety of colors.
  • CentraLite — HA Dimmer can be controlled at the device itself or from any other ZigBee Home Automation enabled controller. It features press and hold precision dimming and tap on and off power along with configurable soft rates. It is rated to control 800W and will be available in the standard Decora style design in a variety of colors.
  • CentraLite — HA On/Off Switch can be bound to any ZigBee Home Automation compatible On/Off Device. It features a 110V input voltage and will be available in the standard Decora style design in a variety of colors.
  • Control4 — Home Controller HC-300 is the central building block for home automation, making it easy for anyone to add intelligent control to a home at a truly affordable price. One HC-300 replaces, on average, more than four traditional remotes and delivers easy navigation and operation.
  • Control4 — Wireless Dimmer offers affordable, elegant and convenient lighting along with intelligent customization features designed to fit individual life styles.
  • Jetlun – Jetlun Gateway (model RD75606) is a controller that collects, stores and displays real-time energy consumption information and helps homeowners manage and control energy usage through a simple user interface.
  • Jetlun – Jetlun Appliance Module (model 75613) is a three-prong electrical module with built-in advanced noise filtering technologies and surge protection that can be plugged into any standard wall outlet to monitor, store and control the energy consumption of electrical appliances and devices.
  • MMB Research — HA Coordinator provides control of thermostats, switches, sensors and other devices. It is a subset of RapidSE™ – a family of hardware and software allowing device vendors to rapidly integrate a fully-compliant ZigBee platform.
  • NETGEAR — ZEB102 ZigBee Bridge enables people to monitor and control their energy devices and in-home appliances over the Internet. The ZEB102 is designed around a flexible, yet affordable, MIPS 32-based high-performance system on a chip hardware platform supporting Linux, drivers and tool-chains to facilitate independent developers.
  • Radio Thermostat Company of America — CT80 Programmable Communicating Thermostat and In-Home Display is fully compatible with all popular residential central heating and cooling systems. It features a large dot-matrix display with touch-screen and multiple radio ports providing the most flexible solution for today’s complex energy management applications.
  • SerComm — NA401 Home Automation Gateway is a compact yet easy-to-use hardware platform supporting multiple communication interfaces. It is available as a ZigBee gateway development platform allowing application developers to develop solutions with pre-certified ZigBee gateway devices.

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster


Runco Launches LED projectors

September 22, 2009

On September 9th Runco (www.runco.com) unveiled the company’s new QuantumColor™ Q-750i and Q-750d projectors. Runco, the leading manufacturer of luxury video display solutions, has shaped the home theater projector market for the past 20 years. Now, the company has changed the landscape of custom home theater projection yet again with its QuantumColor Series.

Runco’s QuantumColor series pairs game-changing, energy-saving LED technology with proprietary Runco engineering feats to create unsurpassed performance and unrivaled customization.

Key features and proprietary technology include:

  • Runco’s revolutionary lampless InfiniLight™ LED illumination technology
  • Never-before-seen color gamut and Runco’s Personal Color Equalizer™ proprietary color management
  • Exclusive Runco SmartColor™ hue compensation curve and gamut mapping for accurate flesh tones
  • Next-generation all-digital internal and external video processor/controller
  • Uses 70% less power than lamp-based projection with Runco InstantOn™, eliminating the need to leave projector in power-consuming “standby” mode

Check out all of Runco’s new product announcements at www.castercomm.com/runco, including:

 

  • Runco’s three new LightStyle™ Series projectors – Featuring breakthrough video performance and pricing
  • New Video Xtreme VX-33i, VX-33d, VX-3000i, VX-3000d and VX-3000d Ultra projectors – Each brings Xtreme DLP projection to the ultimate level for exceptional home theaters.
  • Runco’s FIVE new Crystal Portfolio™ LCDs – Featuring five new LCD Displays with three new screen sizes: CX-42HD; CX-OPAL42; CX-55HD; CX-OPAL55 and CX-OPAL65.
  • Runco’s new, next generation Digital High-Definition (DHD 3) external video processor controller

Vision Audio Named Winner of 2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest!

September 15, 2009

As we mentioned last week, Dustin Anderson and Vision Audio were named the winners of the 2009 Windows Media Center Install. Their unique 17,000 square foot installtion was the perfect representation of Media Center coupled with extensive automation and a killer audio system. Take a look at the video to check out the install!

To learn more about the contest or the install, visit http://www.microsoft.com/ceinstaller/content/installs/uic/Winners.aspx


Screen Research Announces New Fabrics, Screens at CEDIA 2009

September 13, 2009

At CEDIA EXPO 2009, Screen Research, a world-class provider of innovative projector screen solutions for the custom home theater and professional markets, has announced two revolutionary new Screen Fabrics, MultiPix and ClearPix3. The company has also introduced a new screen, the Classic 2 Series. Below you will find all of the company’s CEDIA news and announcements. Click on the link to view the full press release or download images. 

New Screen Fabrics
MutliPix Screen Fabrics

  • The new MultiPix range of screen fabrics (Ultra-contrast White 1.3, Ultra-contrast White 1.5 and Ultra-contrast Gray 1.3) use proprietary multi-layer technology to offer positive gain and excellent light rejection characteristics.

ClearPix3 Screen Fabric

  • Designed as a complement to the award-winning and patented ClearPix2 screen fabric, ClearPix3 completes a unique range of eight ISF®-certified screen fabrics and offers a new entry point to the Screen Research range of acoustically transparent screen fabrics.

New Projection Screens
Classic 2 Screens

  • At CEDIA Expo, Screen Research introduced three new entry level product ranges – the Classic 2 Series – designed to position the entry point to the award-winning range of Screen Research at a more affordable price point.The Classic 2 range includes fixed frame screens, TheaterCurve screens, and On-ceiling Motorized Drop-down models.

Be sure to stop by the Screen Research Booth (1558) to check out the latest products from Screen Research.

To read the latest news, check out the Screen Research press page.


Excitement Builds for NuVo’s Renovia Whole Home Audio System at CEDIA EXPO

September 12, 2009

NuVo has been talking about its Renovia whole home audio system for quite some time. Now, its fourth-quarter ship date is fast approaching. At CEDIA EXPO 2009, in Booth 1965, NuVo for the first time will reveal pricing and specifications for this much-anticipated, game-changing technology.

Renovia will bring whole home audio to retrofit/existing home environments like never before possible. With Renovia, the installer no longer needs to cut holes in drywall and run wire throughout the house. Instead, Renovia takes advantage of infrastructure that’s already in place: the home’s electrical wiring. Plus, in a move that will make interior designers happy, Renovia doesn’t even require in-wall controllers; in fact, a Renovia system can be installed in such a way as to be virtually invisible to the homeowner and visitors to the home! Renovia is the only system that can offer such a design-friendly capability.

Attendees can also stop by and see other upcoming NuVo products, including a server that brings internet radio, iTunes, Windows Media Player and other digital content to NuVo systems; a stunning color touch pad controller, and more! And, of course, the industry’s first (and still only) ENERGY STAR whole home audio system, Essentia E6G, will be on hand, along with NuVo’s flagship Grand Concerto system.

And let’s not forget to rock. NuVo will give away B.C. Rich Trace Warbeast electric guitars (and corresponding Guitar Hero/Rock Band controllers) each day on the show floor. To get a chance to win, attendees must stop by the NuVo booth and sign up!

For more information, visit NuVo’s online press site.