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Monster Integrates A/V, Home Control

3/16/2007 02:15:00 PM Eastern

Orlando, Fla. — Monster Cable offered a glimpse of Einstein’s brain here at the recent EH Expo, where the company demonstrated its Einstein multiroom-A/V and home control system.

The system, due in the fall, leverages wired and wireless networks to distribute audio and video throughout the house and integrate the control of a distributed-A/V system with climate, telecom, lighting, security and surveillance subsystems. It’s said to offer plug-and-play setup.

Einstein’s final form will be demonstrated in September’s at CEDIA Expo.

The brain of the Einstein system is the Nucleus Home Controller with integrated CD/DVD player. It connects via gigabit Ethernet (iSCSI) to the Neutron, a 10-bay hard-disk-based media server capable of storing up to 7.5TB of digital content. Capacity will likely be expanded to 10TB at launch, the company said. The Nucleus connects via FireWire to the Photon 200-disc, dual-drive CD/DVD changer, which is capable of playing back two different DVD’s simultaneously in two different rooms. In addition, if more capacity is needed, multiple Photons can be connected, allowing up to 1,000 disc total capacity. The Nucleus also connects to legacy audio and standard-definition video sources as well.

The system distributes all content via wired Gigabit Ethernet or embedded Wi-Fi 802.11 to clients called Electrons, which incorporate decoders for music, movies, and other media. This allows for a “Follow-Me” feature that enables users to have their content follow them from room to room merely by taking their Tron remote or Bluetooth-equipped cellphone with them. Consumers would be able to start a DVD in the Nucleus in the living room and have the content automatically start up right where it left off when they walk to a room with an Electron.

The metadata of all content on Einstein equipment — whether on the hard drive, CD/DVD transport, or 200-disc changers — can be viewed on an integrated menu appearing on TV screen or on the Tron handheld touch screen. Tron also interfaces with the Nucleus to wirelessly control any Z-Wave-equipped lighting systems, thermostats, and other compatible devices.

With a gigabit Ethernet switch, Einstein supports simultaneous distribution of multiple HD streams over CAT-6 cable and a “nearly limitless number” of music streams to multiple Electrons or to already-available Network Music Players such as the Slim Devices Squeezebox III or Transporter, the company said.

Prices haven’t been finalized, but prices up to $3,995 for the Nucleus are under consideration.

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