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Control4 Upgrades OS

Atlanta – Control4, the supplier of IP-based home-control systems, was
in an expansive mood here at the CEDIA Expo, where it launched its next-generation
operating system and announced that 16 companies – including major CE brands – have
launched products that integrate with Control4 systems.

Control4 chief technical officer Eric Smith also said first-half
revenues grew 25 percent year over year, attributing growth in a down market to
the company’s “retrofit message hitting a chord.”

For its retrofit-oriented products, Control4 said it plans
December availability of its 2.0 OS, which can be downloaded via the Internet
to Control4 systems already in consumers’ homes. It will also be available that
month in newly shipped products.

The new OS delivers multiple new features, including DLNA
compatibility that enables Control4 multi-room-audio systems to stream music,
cover art, photos and video from networked Windows PCs. The OS will also enable
third-party suppliers of Control4-compatible products to write their own user
interfaces, which would appear on Control4 touchscreens and connected TVs. In
addition, the OS will support an app store whose applications can be downloaded
directly via the Internet to appear on touchscreens and connected TVs. Twenty
apps demoed at the show included Picasa, Facebook, Twitter, sports and news.  Other enhancements include the addition of   WMA, AAC and FLAC music playback to the
system’s MP3 playback.

In expanding its ecosystem of compatible other-brand
products, the company announced that it has certified that multiple new products
from multiple new vendors can be controlled from a Control4 system. The
products include Aud;oShare’s digital intercom and music system; Black &
Decker’s Kwikset-brand ZigBee-equipped deadbolt, Card Access wireless
automation products, such as contact and motion sensors; DSC security systems; Fusion
Research media servers; MechoShade motorized shades; and such Sony products as
the BDP-CX7000ES Blu-ray megachanger and  Sony’s current line of ES Series A/V receivers.
Certification is pending for Pioneer’s Elite VSX and SC receivers and Elite BDP
Blu-ray players.

Other products from Pioneer and NAD take Control4
integration to a higher level by doubling as a Control4 system’s brains, or
controller, replacing Control4’s own rack-mount controllers. The products, said
to incorporate Control4 IQ software, consist of 
select new A/V receivers and preamp/processors from NAD as well as Pioneer’s
EntertainmentTap concept technology, which copies and stores CD music on a hard
drive, streams and downloads audio and video from authorized Web sites, streams
audio and video from a networked PC, place-shifts audio and video content to Wi-Fi-connected
iPhones and iPod Touches anywhere in the world, plays Blu-ray discs, and
centralizes control of home-theater components and home systems within the home
theater room.

Another company, Panasonic Communications, offers PBX/IP and
PBX telephony systems whose dialing keypads become the user interface for a
connected Control4 controller.