By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Indianapolis – Home-automation supplier Crestron further expanded its selection of architectural speakers, launched its first line of motorized shade and drapery systems, and unveiled new programming capabilities to simplify the programming of home-control systems.
Here at the CEDIA Expo, the company also said it has simplified the process of programming its multi-room-audio systems to more easily add an AirPlay-enabled Apple Airport Express as a system input. The Airport Express connection makes it possible to stream music wirelessly from an Apple mobile device to architectural speakers connected to Crestron’s multi-room system.
The company also said a software update enabling its home-control systems to work with nearfield communications (NFC) tags will be available in the fall. The upgrade will enable one-tap triggering of room settings for lighting, temperature, shades, entertainment systems and other systems connected to a Crestron automation system. The NFC tags would be located behind wall keypads and faceplates.
In speakers, the company plans shipments by January of the step-up Aspire and Essence series of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. They’ll join the company’s first series, called Excite, launched about 1.5 years ago at $170/pair to $280/pair.
Aspire and Essence are bezel-less higher-performance speakers, with Essence at the top of the line for media and home-theater applications. Their prices haven’t been revealed.
All three architectural lines consist of three round and three rectangular speakers.
The company also began Sept. 1 to ship its first outdoor speakers, which are mounted to brackets on walls or under eaves. They’re priced from $500/pair to $900/pair.
Because Crestron designs the speakers, the company is able to program their performance parameters into its Sonnex HD Audio Distribution system, along with room type and location within a room, to adjust equalization for best performance, said Josh Stene, technology management director.
To simplify programming of its home systems, the company plans on Dec. 1 to release its Crestron Studio Home Designer software program. Among other things, it lets installers design one interface that can be resized automatically to different screen sizes. Before, installers had to build a user interface for each screen size. Programmers can also create one media player interface that automatically populates itself with the controls for particular sources in different rooms.
In the shades segment, Creston has offered control modules to integrate with other brands of shade and drapery motors, but the company is now launching its own motors, drapery track solutions and fabrics. The systems can be controlled from Crestron keypads, touchscreens and Apple and Android apps.
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