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Control4 Allies With More CE Brands

9/21/2009 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Control4, the supplier of IP-based home-control systems, was in an expansive mood here at the CEDIA Expo, where it launched its next-generation operating system and announced that 16 companies — including major CE brands — have launched products that integrate with its systems.

Control4 chief technical officer Eric Smith also said first-half revenues grew 25 percent year over year, attributing growth in a down market to the company’s “retrofit message hitting a chord.”

For its retrofit-oriented products, Control4 said it plans December availability of its 2.0 OS, which can be downloaded via the Internet to Control4 systems already in consumers’ homes. It will also be available that month in newly shipped products.

The new OS delivers multiple new features, including DLNA compatibility that enables Control4’s multi-room-audio systems to stream music, cover art, photos and video from networked Windows PCs. The OS will also enable third-party suppliers of Control4-compatible products to write their own user interfaces, which would appear on Control4 touchscreens and connected TVs. In addition, the OS will support an app store whose applications can be downloaded directly via the Internet to appear on touchscreens and connected TVs. Twenty apps demonstrated at the show included Picasa, Facebook, Twitter, sports and news. Other enhancements include the addition of WMA, AAC and FLAC music playback to the system’s MP3 playback.

In expanding its ecosystem of compatible other-brand products, the company announced that it has certified that products from multiple new vendors can be controlled from a Control4 system. The products include AudioShare’s digital intercom and music system; Black & Decker’s Kwikset-brand ZigBee-equipped deadbolt; Card Access wireless automation products, such as contact and motion sensors; DSC security systems; Fusion Research media servers; MechoShade motorized shades; and such Sony products as the BDP-CX7000ES Blu-ray megachanger and Sony’s current line of ES-series A/V receivers.

Certification is pending for Pioneer’s Elite VSX and SC receivers and Elite BDP Blu-ray players.

Other products from Pioneer and NAD take Control4 integration to a higher level by doubling as a Control4 system’s brains, or controller, replacing Control4’s own rack-mount controllers. The products, said to incorporate Control4 IQ software, consist of select new A/V receivers and preamp/processors from NAD as well as Pioneer’s EntertainmentTap concept technology, which copies and stores CD music on a hard drive, streams and downloads audio and video from authorized Web sites, and streams audio and video from a networked PC, and plays Blu-ray discs.

Another company, Panasonic Communications, offers PBX/IP and PBX telephony systems whose dialing keypads become the user interface for a connected Control4 controller.