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Proficient Upgrades Wireless Multi-Room Audio System

9/07/2011 12:07:00 AM Eastern
 Indianapolis - Proficient Audio plans a CEDIA Expo launch of a wireless multi-room-audio system with more capabilities than its predecessor.

Proficient president Keith Marshall positions his new wireless system as a way for installers who are mounting a flat-panel TV to step the customer up to a multi-room-audio system that can be installed in one day in four to six rooms without creating a mess.

The systems could also expand the market to renters who aren't allowed to modify their apartments.

The Zero wireless audio system promises wireless distribution of up to six audio sources simultaneously to freestanding stereo speakers in up to 24 rooms if three wireless transmitters are used at a time. Each transmitter supports up to eight tabletop amplifier/receivers, and each transmitter is capable of sending stereo audio from two separate sources while also sending mono wirelessly to a powered subwoofer in the same room or another room.

Zero's predecessor, called AirFlex, simultaneously transmitted music wirelessly from two sources to up to four rooms when two transmitters were used.

The new system, shipping in the fourth quarter, also extends transmitting range through walls to 90 feet from 70 feet. A wireless extender is planned for first-half 2012 availability to further extend range.

One Zero transmitter is bundled with an amplified receiver at a suggested $450. Additional receivers cost $250 each.

The transmitters connect to multi-zone A/V receivers, Internet radio streamers, and other music sources via a digital PCM optical input and a two-channel analog stereo input.

Using a supplied IR remote pointed at the amplifier/receivers, users can switch between the two sources connected to a transmitter and a local source connected to the amplifier/receiver via optical digital input or stereo 3.5mm input.

Using the amplifier/receiver's supplied IR remote, users can also switch among three transmitters to access additional remote sources.

The 2x35-watt Class D amplifier/receiver also features IR passthrough and IR output to control a local source. That feature was unavailable on the AirFlex, which nonetheless did come with an IR remote to switch between a remote source and a local source.

An unamplified receiver is in the works for the first half to add wireless multi-room capability to stereo systems or active speakers.

Like its predecessor, a Zero system can also be used to send audio wirelessly to surround speakers, and a Zero amplifier/receiver can be used alone behind a flat-screen TV to amplify TV sound.

Also like its predecessor, Zero systems don't enable users to turn on or control a source connected to a transmitter in another room.

The new HDBase-T implementation is said to include the first use of simultaneous Audio Return Channel (ARC) and Home Ethernet Connection (HEC), allowing audio signals to be sent back from a TV to an AV receiver while maintaining a home internet connection over the same HDMI  cable.

Transformative Engineering's new products also support Power Over HDBase-T (POH) capabilities that eliminate the need for separate power supplies at the receiver module and provide the ability to remotely power ancillary equipment.

HDBase-T is consumer electronic connectivity technology for long-distance transmission of uncompressed high-definition video, audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, high-power over cable and various controls, via a 100m Cat5e/Cat6 cable with 8P8C RJ45 connectors.

The new updates to the technology are employed in the company's new HD-1 Improved HDMI extender and will be selectively applied to the new QX-4 Matrix Switcher, which offers 4-by-4 (expandable to 8-by-8) matrix switching. 

"These new products are in keeping with the company's philosophy of providing custom installers with a  targeted number of multi-purpose products rather than dozens of limited capability devices," Transformative Engineering said in a statement announcing the products Tuesday. "Wherever possible, T-E provides installers with a clear and economical upgrade path that can grow to meet the evolving needs of end users." 

The HD-1 Improved Extender is among the first HDBase-T products that fully utilize all of the current 5-Play protocols, including: full uncompressed HD (1080p) video, audio (including all current Digital Surround formats), 100BaseT over Ethernet, Power over Cable, and various control signals over a single 100 Meter LAN cable.

This results in a fully-compliant HDMI 1.4a product (Certification Pending).  Improved features from the previous generation include Power Over HDBase-T, used to power ancillary equipment; simultaneous HEC & ARC transmission; and Power-On-Demand, greatly reducing power usage and heat generation.

 Transformative Engineering has also introduced the QX-4 HDBase-T Matrix Switcher with HDMI 1.4a-compliant circuitry.  The product performs as a 4-by-4 Matrix switcher with both local (HDMI) and long-run, 100 Meter (HDBase-T) outputs.

TE said it designed the unit to be configurable and upgradable to an 8-by-8 Matrix Switcher. 

The Matrix Switchers include Power-Over-HDBase-T (meaning the receiver end is powered by the Transmitter), IR Two-Way Communication, Ethernet over Base-T, and Power-On-Demand Circuitry.

In addition, a provision for overall IR remote control (with Discrete commands), and RS232 interface are included.

The HD-1 Improved will be available in the end of September and will be sold concurrently with the standard HD-1.

 
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