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Russound, vNet Ready IP-Based Audio Distribution

5/02/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEWMARKET, N.H. – Sister companies Russound
and Colorado vNet are focusing on IP-based multiroom-
audio distribution in a series of new products.

The vNet products will be the first new vNet products
since the company’s acquisition by Russound’s
owner in October 2009.

vNet, whose audio focus has always been on IPbased
music distribution, plans two IP-based musicdistribution
products and its first iPad app for homesystem
control.

Russound, which is increasing its focus on IP-based
audio, is readying a new IP-based audio product and has upgraded its IP-based powerlinenetworking
multiroom-audio system.
Russound is also planning such new
products new custom speakers, an ABUS
sub-zone controller, and a new
local-zone two-channel amp.

In other developments:

• Mike Anderson was hired as product
development director for both companies.
He joins newly hired product
development VP Tom McCarthy. Both
hailed from Linear AVC Group. Sharing
the talents of both men between the two
companies is part of a strategy to create
synergies between the two companies,
said Charlie Porritt, CEO of Russound
and vNet. 

• vNet has been moving product manufacturing
out of its Loveland, Colo., facilities
to Asian contract-manufacturing
plants where Russound is already a major
customer.

vNet tech support, engineering, and
software-quality assurance will remain at
the facility, Porritt said. vNet will continue
to sell through reps, while Russound will
continue to sell through distributors, including
AVAD.

In new products, vNet plans June shipments
of the MS1-1 six-zone streamer,
which connects to vNet’s IP-based multiroom-
audio systems to stream up to six
different audio programs at a time to six
different zones via IP.

The device, whose pricing wasn’t announced,
lacks hard-drive to store music
but will stream music from a networked
PC’s iTunes application, access Internet radio stations through the RadioTime
service, and access the Pandora, Sirius
XM, and Spotify on-line music services.
The product was co-developed with Autonomic
and will be co-branded with the
vNet and Autonomic names.

A related product, also due in June, is
the three-zone AS3-800/3 music server,
which features hard-drive to play stored
music but also streams music from a networked
PC, syncs with a PC’s music files,
and streams music from select on-line music
services. Pricing wasn’t announced.

A third new vNet product is an iPad
app that controls vNet systems. It will
be available in May with ability to control
vNet multiroom-audio systems. By the
end of the year, the app will be upgraded
to add ability to control lighting, security,
and HVAC systems.

In the Russound lineup, the company has
upgraded its multiroom Collage Powerline
Media and Intercom system to use Apple
handheld devices and Android-based devices
as multiroom music sources.

Russound added Apple’s AirPlay technology
to enable users to stream music
from iPads, iPod Touches, and iPhones
throughout the house as well as from a
PC loaded with Apple’s iTunes application.
Consumers must connect Collage
to Apple’s Airport Express Wi-Fi adapter.

Android-based phones and tablets will
also act as a Collage source if they use
the Android 2.2 or higher OS.

Russound’s implementation overcomes
an AirPlay limitation that prevents an Apple
hand-held device from streaming music
to more than one room at a time.

Collage, which uses powerline technology
to distribute audio over existing
electrical wiring, features amplified inwall
keypads with integrated Internet radio
tuner, integrated AM/FM tuner, and
ability to stream music from a networked
PC or NAS device.

Through June 30, Russound is offering
near-50-percent dealer-price discounts
on its updated Collage keypads
and the central Collage Media Manager
component.

In another product announcement,
Russound priced its previously announced
DMS-3.1 Digital Media Streamer
at $2,100 MAP and announced a ship
date of early July.

The DMS-3.1 integrates with the company’s
C-Series multiroom audio systems,
incorporates a traditional AM/FM
RDS tuner, and connects to a home network
to stream Internet radio programming
and to stream music from a DLNAcertified
networked PC. In addition, the
Streamer features USB ports to distribute
digital audio files from connected
storage devices.

The DMS-3.1 distributes up to three
separate audio streams simultaneously
from the Internet, PC or USB-connected
devices while simultaneously streaming
content from the embedded analog AM/
FM tuner.

In more traditional products, Russound
plans CEDIA launches of its first bezelless
custom-installed speakers and an ABUS
sub-zone controller that connects
to the company’s multizone controllers to
add a subzone to other zones.