By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
SpeakerCraft has turned the iPhone and iPod Touch into handheld wireless-RF remotes that control its MODE multiroom-audio system.
To use a Wi-Fi-equipped iPhone or Touch as a remote, consumers need a $1,000-suggested ERS 1.0 component. The ERS plugs via Ethernet cable into a home's wireless Wi-Fi router to talk to the handheld devices. The component also plugs into the serial port of a MODE system's MTZ controller, which often is stacked in the same equipment closet as the Wi-Fi router in a custom installation.
Once connected, the ERS's embedded Web server then uses the home's Wi-Fi network to deliver a SpeakerCraft-developed multiroom-audio user interface through the device's standard Safari Web browser. The interface controls all central audio sources and routing.
"Soon any [in-wall multiroom-audio] keypad that isn't emulated on a device like the iPhone will be obsolete," claimed SpeakerCraft president Jeremy Burkhardt.
The color interface features large virtual buttons and shares the look and feel of an iPhone interface, requiring a small learning curve, the company said. In addition, users don't have to install software on their iPhone or Touch because the interface is accessed through the device's existing Apple Safari Web browser.
An unlimited number of iPhones can be used to operate a system, but only two can be connected simultaneously to a MODE system. Alternately, consumers can use any two networked PCs with Internet Explorer, but only two PCs can be connected at a time, or one PC and one iPhone or Touch.
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