By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sydney, Australia –Multi-room audio systems based on A-BUS technology are getting Bluetooth.
In a typical A-BUS system, analog or digital audio, control signals and power are sent from centralized audio sources over a single CAT-5 cable to in-wall amplified keypads, which in turn connect to passive in-ceiling or in-wall speakers. In some cases, audio is sent directly from a central source to amplified custom-installed speakers.
For their current A-BUS systems, Channel Vision, Eaton, Forté and Russound have launched Bluetooth-equipped local input modules (LIMs), which enable users to stream music from a Bluetooth mobile device to custom-installed speakers.
Some of the products will be displayed at the CEDIA Expo.
The Bluetooth receiver in the LIM gets power from the CAT-5 cable running to the local amplifier, eliminating the need to access power locally. The LIM is spliced into the CAT-5 line anywhere between the central hub and room. When paired, the Bluetooth LIM automatically overrides a central audio source.
The new Bluetooth LIMs can be retrofitted to any A-BUS system installed in homes regardless of brand, the company added.
“Music is now mobile and is in everyone’s pocket,” said Andrew Goldfinch, A-BUS co-inventor and managing director of LeisureTech Electronics, which markets A-BUS systems outside the U.S. under the Forte brand. “A local input is likely to become just as important as multi-source capability around the home.”
Currently, Russound is delivering its BT-1 box/module version, which will be displayed at the Expo along with new A-BUS amplified keypads, said Scott Sylvester, LeisureTech’s U.S. operations manager.
Eaton, which is not exhibiting, will deliver its ESWABTMW in-wall Decora version in November, Sylvester said.
ChannelVision will display a Decora-version sample at CEDIA and is expected to ship at a similar time to Eaton.
And Forte, LesiureTech’s own brand, is selling a box/module version outside the U.S. and will offer an in-wall Decora version within a month. Forte, which is not at the Expo, plans to establish distribution worldwide, including the U.S., for a line of A-BUS and other accessories.
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