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AMX Adds A/V Server, Control Options

9/28/2005 10:04:00 AM Eastern

Richardson, Texas — AMX is expanding its selection of in-wall keypads and touch screens, offering new audio/video server options, and partnering with a growing roster of companies that plan to offer A/V products and home systems that will be plug-and-play compatible with AMX control systems.

All of the new products are due around November at prices to be announced. The first plug-and-play compatible products from other vendors are due later this year.

In A/V servers, the company is expanding its selection to include its first two models intended for placement in a living room instead of a utility room because of their low-noise operation. Like their predecessors, the MAX-HT04 and MAX-HT12 use the Internet Protocol (IP) to stream audio and video over CAT-5 cable to client devices. Like their predecessors, the new servers also incorporate digital encoders to convert the analog audio and video of such sources as satellite TV to IP for in-house distribution.

The company also announced its first A/V client to incorporate DVD-Video player. The MAX audio/video player adds component and HDMI video outputs to its predecessors’ VGA and S-Video outputs. AMX continues to offer audio-only clients. None of the AMX clients access PC content.

AMX’s first A/V servers launched two years ago with capacities ranging from 25 DVD or 625 CDs to 22,500 CDs or 900 DVDs. The two new servers offer capacities of 250 DVDs/5,300 CDs and 750 DVDs/16,000 CDs.

Like before, the servers can also be controlled from AMX’s numerous in-wall and handheld controllers, including in-wall touch screens.

The MAX products ship in November at prices that weren’t revealed. Current models are priced from $18,000 to $60,000.

In expanding its control-panel selection:

·AMX launched the smallest in-wall LCD touch panel in its Modero selection at 5 inches.

·It also introduced two new in-wall keypads with larger LCDs, one of which dispenses with hard buttons to rely on a combination touch screen/sliding touch-panel interface.

The 5-inch Modero touch panel features a widescreen display and complements AMX color touch screens in sizes ranging from 7 inches to 17 inches. It’s intended for small rooms or hallways and delivers the same functionality as the larger ones. The 800-pixel by 480-pixel display incorporates a light-activating motion sensor that turns on the backlight when someone approaches. A separate sensor adjusts brightness according to ambient light conditions. An IR sensor is included.

Two new DMS series keypads are single-gang models whose back-lit monochrome LCD display is 4 inches, or 50 percent larger than those on existing DMS series keypads. The Mio Modera DMS features eight buttons on the side to select home-control options, but the DMS Pinnacle drops the buttons for what’s said to be the industry’s first slider control pad. A user’s finger slides up and down the pad to scroll through options, which are then selected by pressing an icon on the LCD screen. Both models also use motion sensors to light up the displays when someone approaches.

AMX also announced that 31 partner companies, up from a previously disclosed 10, plan to make their products plug-and-play compatible with AMX control systems, which are IP-based. AMX called it the first program of its kind in the industry and said the first products will be available later this year.

Previously, AMX wrote software modules for specific brands and models of products after they reached the market. Installers then had to load the software module into an AMX system. Now installers won’t have to wait for the modules to become available because other-brand devices will be AMX-compatible as soon as they ship.

The 31 participants in the new program, called the Duet program, hail from the residential and commercial industries and include ADA, Antex, Aprilaire, Denon, Escient, Honeywell, Lutron, Matrix Audio, Runco, Sonance, Vantage Controls, Vidikron, Xantech and ZON Audio.

Other new products and services due around November include OnSite by AMX, a personal concierge service available through the company that delivers GM’s OnStar car-concierge service. Pressing an OnSite by AMX icon on Modero touch panels will alert a personal concierge to call the subscriber’s home or other prearranged phone number to assist in making travel arrangements, gift buying, making restaurant recommendations and reservations, recommending household services and the like. The service is free for the first two months, then increases to $99 a month.

As a running change, future Modero touch panels will display the icon, which can also be added to already-installed touch panels. Other changes are a metal-and-chrome Mio Modero R-1 IR remote, which duplicates in-wall touch panel functions and transmits commands to touch panels equipped with IR receivers. The NI-900 controller, which integrates control of systems in a single room. It can also be used to control a small number of systems in multiple rooms. It connects to AMX’s in-wall touch screens and keypads.