By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Amsterdam, Netherlands – Home-automation supplier Control4 has expanded the range of audio sources that can be selected from and streamed through a Control4 multi-room audio system.
Also here at Integrated Systems Europe, the company launched its first lighting-control system targeted specifically for new construction and major remodeling jobs, having previously offered a system designed mainly for retrofit applications.
In audio, the company plans April 1 shipments of the TuneIn Internet radio service for all Control4 home-automation systems running OS 2.4. Through Control4’s in-wall touchscreens, on-TV user interface, and smartphone home-control app, consumers will be able to access more than 70,000 traditional and internet-only radio stations from around the world as well as millions of on-demand podcasts, concerts and interviews.
Individual zones will be able to play back different stations simultaneously, or the same station can be streamed simultaneously to all zones.
Control4's user interface shows station and show listings, filters available choices based on genre, location and language.
Previously, the company’s automation systems accessed the Rhapsody and Napster streaming services.
Separately, the company plans second-quarter availability of a $300 Wireless Music Bridge that incorporates Ethernet port, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay, DLNA networking, and stereo Bluetooth to turn smartphones, tablets and networked PCs into sources that can be streamed throughout the house. The Bridge streams music from Wi-Fi-connected mobile devices, but mobile devices can also stream to the system via stereo Bluetooth.
The mobile devices and PCs can stream stored music as well as Internet music services such as Pandora through the multi-room audio system.
Each Bridge has only one audio output, either analog or digital S/PDIF, so multiple Bridges are needed if users want to stream music from multiple mobile devices and PCs at a time.
From the company’s in-wall touchscreens, TV GUI, and smartphone control app, consumers can select a particular Wireless Music Bridge and then control the basic music-control functions of a smartphone, tablet, or PC. The functions include play, pause, next, and previous. In addition, dealers can program the Control4 system so that when a customer connects to the Wireless Music Bridge and starts streaming music, the music starts playing automatically over the multiroom-audio system.
From the touchscreens and TV GUI, users can also view a tablet’s or smartphone’s metadata and album art if music is streamed via a home network. Metadata and album art are not available when music is streaming over Bluetooth.
The company did note that music streamed via Bluetooth to the Bridge can be streamed throughout the house as long as the Bluetooth-equipped mobile device is within 30 feet of the Bridge.
Previously, Control 4 multi-room audio systems offered native support for networked PCs and docked iPods, and installers could add a separate AirPlay adapter and Bluetooth module.
In launching a lighting-control system with centralized panel, the company noted that new-home construction and major remodeling spending is on the rise.
The system controls dimmable fluorescent, compact fluorescent, and LED lights as well as legacy lighting technologies such as incandescent, halogen, and low-voltage lighting.
In-wall keypads that connect to the centralized panel are configurable with anywhere from two to seven buttons. Each button can be programmed to control lighting or other systems controlled by a Control4 automation system.
The IP-based lighting-control system can be scaled up from single rooms to hotels, and because it’s made by Control4, integration with one of the company’s home-automation systems is simplified, the company said.
The system is the company’s first to control 120-volt residential lighting and 277-volt commercial-lighting systems.
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