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CEDIA 2008: Panasonic Touts AVR, Home Automation

CEDIA News Denver — Panasonic came to the CEDIA Expo with its first A/V receiver (AVR) that decodes all Blu-ray surround formats, and it outlined plans to turn its DECT cordless phones into home-automation controllers.

The $799-suggested SA-BX500 AVR, due in October, is a 7×135-watt model with three HDMI 1.3 inputs that support 1080p, Deep Color and x.v.Color video signals from a Blu-ray Disc player. Other features include virtual back-surround technology to deliver a 7.1-channel soundfield from a 5.1 speaker system. Biamp/bi-wiring capability automatically biamplifies the front left-right speakers when switching from 7.1-channel playback to stereo playback without reconfiguring speaker connections if bi-wiring-compatible speakers are used. Other features include HDMI-CEC-based Viera Link.

In a related audio matter, Panasonic launched its first Blu-ray player with 7.1 analog outputs for connection to older AVRs. It’s the DMP-BD55.

To turn its DECT cordless phones into wireless home-system controllers, Panasonic said it plans in a month or so to offer software that custom installers can add to its DECT phones to control a Control4 home automation system. A DECT base station would connect to a Control4 controller via wired Ethernet connection. The cordless handset would then be able to control such home systems as lighting, security and HVAC.

Likewise, Panasonic is working with home-automation supplier Crestron to display video from Panasonic IP-security cameras on future Panasonic DECT phones with video displays. An introduction date wasn’t announced. In a third alliance, Panasonic is working with Schlage, which is developing wireless Z-Wave door locks, to enable remote wireless door unlocking from a phone. Consumers would be able to remotely unlock a door after viewing IP-security-camera video on the phone.