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Crestron Planning To Tap New Markets

Audio/video “content aggregators,” 200-disc Blu-ray changers, whole-home distribution of HDMI video and a DIN-Rail structured-wiring system are among the new residential- market segments that custom supplier Crestron plans to tap.

In taking its presence in HDD-equipped music servers to another level, Crestron plans March shipments of its Adagio Digital Media System (ADMS), which combines a three-zone HDD music server, 7.1-channel preamp processor/surround decoder, DVD or Blu-ray Disc player (depending on version purchased), Web browser and online music- and video-downloading and streaming appliance. It also operates as a CD/DVD/BD management system when connected to the ADC-200BR 200-disc BD changer, due in a separate but near-simultaneous launch. Music and video can be downloaded from Amazon as well as from MusicGiants and sister store VideoGiants, which will be out of beta testing in about a month to offer standard- and high-definition downloads, a MusicGiants spokeswoman said.

Each DVD-equipped ADMS and BD-equipped ADMS-BR also serves as a client, allowing for the streaming of DVD and Blu-ray movies, one at a time, from one changer-connected ADMS to another ADMS via 1Gb Ethernet network over CAT-5 or CAT-6 cable, said product manager John Pavlik. Multiple streams of downloaded video can be transmitted simultaneously to ADMS units used as clients.

To tie all the sources together, the systems will incorporate an exclusive WorldSearch function that searches the system’s local media library and Web-based sources, including free streaming sites, for specific movie titles or TV shows. Results are displayed onscreen or on a touchpanel, enabling selection for instant playback as streaming or downloadable media.

The base ADMS includes a standard DVD drive and 500GB internal RAID storage. The ADMS-BR features Blu-ray Profile 2.0 player and 1TB RAID storage. RAID 1 technology uses dual redundant hard drives to maintain two copies of data. System storage is expandable via the CEN-NAS-4TB network-attached storage (NAS) Appliance with RAID 5 support or via other NAS devices.

As a three-zone music server, the ADMS devices provide three stereo zones or two stereo zones plus one 7.1-channel home theater zone. As a surround processor, it decodes all surround format authorized for use on DVD discs and Blu-ray discs. The device doesn’t rip movie discs for storage on its HDD, but DVD content ripped by a PC using AnyDVD software can be transferred to the ADMS, Pavlik said.

Audio can be stored in the WMA, MP3, WMA lossless, FLAC, WAV and AAC formats. Video can be downloaded and stored in the WMV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, QuickTime, Flash and AVI formats.

Up to five optional ADC-200BR 200-disc Blu-ray changers can be added to manage a CD, DVD and BD library of up to 1,000 discs. The changer also up-scales DVD to 1080p.

Prices for the ADMS and changer weren’t announced.

In another planned product launch, Crestron plans year-end availability of its first home-wide HDMI-video-distribution system, said to differ from other solutions in that it delivers 1080p and 1080i HDMI signals in uncompressed form over CAT5-e and CAT-6 cables. To do so, the rack-mount Digital Media Switchers send video and 7.1-channel over a 10Gbps CAT-6 cable, data over a separate 100Mbps CAT-5 cable, and power over a separate line. Video, data and power are sent to a receiver that’s mounted into a two-gang box mounted in the wall behind an HD display. The range of a 1080p signal is up to 450 feet.

The card-based switchers will be available in an eight-input/eight-output (8×8) version and a 16 by 16 version, with the 8×8 version retailing for about $10,000 with receivers, the spokesman said. Other solutions that deliver HDMI over CAT-5, a spokesman said, compress the signal because 100Mbps CAT-5 can’t handle the data rates of 1080p, 1080i or 720p HDMI signals.

A fiber-optic version is planned for mid-2009.