Home Control, Multi-Room A/V Due At CES

By Joseph Palenchar On Dec 7 2009 - 8:00am

Single-family housing starts continued to plummet in 2009 following four consecutive years of historic highs during 2003 through 2006, but custom-installation and home-automation suppliers haven’t given up on the market.

At International CES in January, select suppliers will target the retrofit market to extend the benefits of multi-room audio and home-control systems to existing homes, and other suppliers will make custom-installed speakers less visible and less obtrusive, in some cases driving down the visible footprints of in-ceiling speakers with unusual mounting techniques.

For retrofit installations, sometimes by do-it-yourselfers, suppliers will unveil new wireless-RF products, including Z-Wave-enabled home-control devices as well as Z-Wave-enabled devices that help consumers monitor and control energy usage. RF-wireless multi-room-audio distribution will also turn up in at least one new multi-room-audio system, targeted to do-it-yourselfers.

In related multi-room-A/V introductions, dealers will find more high-end and mass-market products that connect to the Internet via networked broadband modem to stream Internet radio stations and music services. At least three more companies will launch their first tabletop Internet radios, and at least one high-end music-server supplier will add such features to its device.

For its part, D-Link will introduce two new digital media adapters that will stream audio and video from networked PCs and network-attached storage drives, USB-connected devices, and directly from the Internet via networked broadband modem.

U.S. Single-Family Housing Starts
(In thousands of units)

* Forecast
Source: Census Bureau statistics through 2008, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 2009-2010 forecasts © TWICE 2009

2003 1,499.0 (+10.3%)
2004 1,608.0 (+7.3%)
2005 1,715.8 (+6.7%)
2006 1,465.4 (-14.6%)
2007 1,046.0 (-28.6%)
2008 622.0 (-40.5%)
2009 (9 months) 380.9 (-32.5%)
2009* 445 (-27.8%)
2010* 600 (+34.9%)
2011* 894 (+49%)

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