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CEDIA Spotlight On Distributed Audio

9/05/2005 02:00:00 AM Eastern

New brands, system architectures and control capabilities will enter the distributed-audio system market here at the CEDIA Expo.

Installers will find a growing selection of receiver-based systems, converged intercom/distributed-audio systems and systems that can be expanded to control lighting, heating and other home systems from a single controller.

A burgeoning selection of distributed-audio systems will turn portable iPods into a centralized whole-house music source that can be controllable from remote rooms. And a growing number of systems will offer satellite radio as a whole-house music-source option, joining a host of other new satellite-radio options for the home.

For its part, Yamaha will unveil its second-generation wireless distributed-audio system, based on a music server equipped with an FM tuner and XM-ready capability (see story, right).

In receiver-based systems, Crestron and Proficient will show their first, and Niles will expand its selection of six-zone stereo receivers, this time with its first receiver to accept multiple modular plug-in sources.

Companies such as Pioneer will show their first three-zone home theater receivers can operate as the central component in a multizone distributed-audio system, although they must be integrated with other companies' in-wall controllers.

Pioneer will unveil its first home theater receivers that double as three-zone stereo receivers, and Yamaha will expand its selection of three-zone receivers to three from one. They'll join a recently introduced four-zone home theater receiver from Denon; a home theater receiver with outboard eight-zone hub from AudioAccess; and existing non-home-theater receivers with up to six stereo zones from Russound, Sonance and SpeakerCraft.

Companies with their first products that enable a docked iPod to be controlled from multiple rooms include Crestron, Niles, Oxmoor and Russound (see story above). They'll join a growing selection of home audio receivers that also control docked iPods. Denon, Harman Kardon and Pioneer will show their first such models, joining models from Onkyo USA.

Suppliers launching their first distributed-audio systems include long-time industry supplier MTX, intercom supplier M&S, speaker supplier Proficient and startup iMuse. Other brands, including Sunfire and Elan, will expand their custom commitments, the latter by expanding its selection of custom speakers by offering custom speakers intended for home theater use.

Many of the introductions — including systems from MTX, Crestron and Xantech — are designed to reduce price, simplify installation and thus broaden the market's consumer base.

And a growing convergence between intercom systems and distributed-audio systems will be on display, with Russound and M&S showing such converged systems. Convergence between distributed-audio systems and other home systems will be displayed by Crestron and NetStreams. The latter will show its first add-on enabling its IP-based distributed-audio systems to control other home systems. One of Crestron's two new distributed-audio systems can be expanded to control other home systems, too.

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