By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Qsonix will expand the capabilities of the industry's first drag-and-drop touch-screen-equipped music management system, the Q100 Digital Music Entertainment system, by including four-zone output instead of two and building in support for transfers from its internal had disk drive (HDD) to connected MP3 portables.
The enhancements are expected to be on display during International CES in the booth of distributor Valutone at the Wynn.
The existing $5,495 160GB version and $6,295 400GB version rip and store music in 192Kbps and 320Kbps lossless WMA format, delivering 2:1 compression with bit-for-bit accuracy, the company said. Its included wall- or tabletop-mountable 15-inch TFT-LCD touch screen can be positioned up to 600 feet from the HDD component via a CAT-5 connection. Via the touch screen, users can browse their music library by title, artist, decade and up to about 450 genres and subgenres, thanks to the use of the All Music Guide database.
Other database providers categorize music by only about 15 core genres, company president Mike Weaver said. The database also offers biographies, reviews and the names of all artists playing on a specific track. The touch screen also lets users create playlists by using their fingers to drag and drop songs.
Unlike most HDD music management systems, this one plays and rips simultaneously, and it rips and encodes faster than most PCs, said Weaver. It takes only 3.5 to 4 minutes to rip and encode an 80-minute CD, compared to competing models' 8 to 15 minutes, the company claimed
Consumers can also program cross fades of 0 to 10 seconds.
A Crestron software module enables control from Crestron touch screens, which won't support drag-and-drop song selection and playlist creation but will select existing playlists and song seek. A module for drag-and-drop-capable AMX touch screens is under development.
Although the system integrates with custom installed home-control systems, it's also distributed to over-the-counter retailers because of its ease of use, Weaver said.
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