Xantech Pitches Products For New Market Realities

By Joseph Palenchar On May 23 2011 - 4:01am




CARLSBAD, CALIF. – Xantech is launching new products designed for what it says are the new realities of a downsized custom- installation market.

The 40-year-old company is “stepping back and adapting to the new circumstances,” said Xantech president Graham Hallett.

The new realities include residential systems-integration companies that have downsized their staffs, Hallett said. Another is the diversification of residential installers into the commercial market to offset lost residential opportunities. Commercial installers, likewise, have also cut their staffs and branched out into the residential market, he said.

With the lines blurring between residential and commercial installers, Xantech is introducing products that will help residential installers cross over into the commercial market and help commercial installers enter the residential market, Hallet said. The products will be sold through commercial and residential channels.

One of the new products, QuickConfig programming software for the recently shipped MX-88 A/V multizone controller/amplifier, will also help installation companies cope with smaller staffs by reducing system programming to anywhere from five to 10 minutes without the use of a PC, the company promised. For more sophisticated applications, however, installers can still connect a computer to program the MX88.

The eight-source, 16-zone MX88 will help installers cross over because they will be able to install the same product the same way whether installed in residential or commercial venues, the company noted.

QuickConfig requires the use of new hybrid MRKP keypad/touchpanels and new SmartPanel LCD touchscreens, which prompt installers through the set-up process to program sources and zones. A/V sources can include Xantech or other-brand components.

The MX88 can also be used to control other home systems, such as HVAC, lights, drapes, security and video surveillance cameras.

The MX88 is shipping in three versions. One is the $4,000 audio-only MX88A. The $5,000 MX88AI adds IP control and web server to enable remote control over Wi-Fi from any web-browsing device, including tablets, smartphones, portable media player (PMPs) and PCs. No apps are needed. The $6,000 MX88VI adds multizone video through composite video outputs and component-video-over-CAT5 outputs. It also features IP control from Apple’s handheld devices.

The controller/amplifier can be controlled from three new in-wall LCD Smart Panel touchscreens, due this month, and from multiple MKRP hybrid keypad/touchpanels, which are already available.

The touchscreens consist of one 4.3-inch model and two 7-inch models priced from $999 to $1,999. The MKRP keypad/touchpanels range from $199 to $600.

Also to help residential installers cross over into commercial installs, the company plans June/July shipment of three single-SKU IR kits, each designed for specific commercial applications and to eliminate the need for installers to aggregate different parts. The $180 CIRP kit is designed to control a single projector or display. The $250 CIRS is intended for installation in conference rooms and classrooms in which several audio/ video devices might not be in the same location in the room. And the $420 CIRV is designed for large venues such as churches with different devices located in different locations in a room or hall.

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