By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
CasaTools has begun shipping the $1,199-suggested CasaTunes XLe and the $2,199 CasaTunes XLe Music Server products for larger homes, multi-home dwellings and offices. Both leverage PCs as music-server sources and the control centers of custom-installed multi-room-audio systems.
The XLe consists of a PCI-e card, which effectively operates as a multizone, multisource matrix switcher, and a separate expansion box. Together, they create a nine-source/12-zone system that can be expanded to 48 zones with the addition of three more expansion boxes.
Both models complement a current six-zone CasaTunes XLi PCI-card system.
Five of the nine sources are PC-based, and four are external sources. PC-based sources include HDD-stored songs in the iTunes and Windows Media applications, the ShoutCast Internet music service, Internet radio stations, and USB-connected iPods and iPhones. Sources six through nine are external connected source. It also integrates with home theaters, doorbells and paging systems. It ships with Casa-Tunes software and audio-only HDMI cable to connect to the expansion module.
The XLe Music Server includes the music-serving PC, which comes pre-installed with the XLe PCI-e card, expansion box, CasaTunes software, 250GB HDD and a built-in touchscreen.
CasaTunes offers multi-channel amplifiers, such as the CasaTunes XLa, and it plans March shipments of CasaTunes Keypads. The systems can also be controlled by such Web-based control devices as UMPCs, Internet tablets, laptops and other PCs on the network. Provided software also enables PC control of Russound and NuVo custom-installed multi-room systems.
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