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Devices Integrate Control Of Multiple Home Systems

Companies such as Crestron, Elan, Sonance and Vantage will arrive here at the CEDIA Expo with new products that give consumers control of multiple home systems from a single in-wall keypad or touch screen.

New Crestron touch screens are intended for use with the company’s systems-integration network. Vantage will unveil new options for its lighting and home-control systems. And Elan and Sonance plan to show new keypads intended to control distributed-A/V systems and other IR-based systems, mainly lighting.

Here’s what installers will find:

Crestron: A trio of home-system control pads includes a wireless-RF touchpanel with active-matrix color display, the company’s smallest wired tabletop Isys touch panel, and the company’s smallest touch screen, a handheld model based on Philips’ Pronto RF-wireless remote.

The Pronto-based remote, the $1,990-suggested MiniTouch, ships in September with included battery-charging station. It delivers 1,500-feet one-way RF range and can be used with Crestron’s RF gateway and 2-series control system. A 3-inch color touch screen is complemented by eight programmable hard buttons.

The ST-1700 brings an active-matrix color display to a Crestron wireless touch panel for the first time. It’s also touted as the industry’s first active-matrix RF touch panel. It displays 64,000 colors, compared to a conventional model’s 256 colors, and retails for a suggested $2,600. A two-way RF model retails for a suggested $4,000. Both ship in September.

The TPS-3000, due in the third quarter at a suggested $3,800, is the newest and smallest member of the Isys tabletop touch panel line. Its 6.4-inch active-matrix display in a tilt up/down base is suitable for desktop or bedroom placement. It also displays real-time composite or S-video and incorporates stereo speakers, volume control and WAV playback.

Elan: Two new in-wall keypads, the $350-suggested Z200 and $450 Z250, are learning keypads in standard wall-plate sizes. The size allows for large, easy-to-read keycaps. They can be programmed to control just about any IR-based system via a single run of CAT-5 cable. Codes are programmed into nonvolatile flash memory, preserving data during power outages and enabling installers to do the programming back at the shop.

The two-way keypads provide LED confirmation of source and system status, including source selection, zone on/off, system on/off and mute.

The Z-200 is a single-gang 12-source, 18-button model. The double-gang 35-button Z-250 adds numeric keypad for direct-track and -channel access and control of local-TV source select. Both ship in October.

Also new is a two-way version of the SC-4 system controller, which enables VIA! in-wall touch panels to control RS-232-based security, HVAC and lighting systems, not just IR-based distributed-A/V systems. With two-way communication, the touchpanels will indicate whether a security system is armed or disarmed or whether someone left the front door open. It will also display the temperatures in different rooms. It ships in September at a suggested $1,200.

Sonance: The company’s first touchscreen-equipped keypad controller is the Navigator K2 with black-and-white screen. It controls distributed-audio and other IR-based home systems. The K2 will ship in November at a suggested $550 for use with the IR-based Navigator Harbor multizone, multisource A/V controller. It’s only 1.83-inches-deep, suitable for European homes.

Vantage Controls: The company’s RadioLink 900MHz wireless control network, launched last year for the retrofit market, will get a new option.

Last year’s RadioLink launch included an RF-equipped ScenePoint Dimmer station, a one-to four-gang keypad that fits in existing light-switch boxes and doubles as a light switch/dimmer that handles up to 1,200 watts. The dimmer station sends wireless commands up to 100 feet to RF receivers built into an RF-equipped version of the Vantage C-Box master controller, which coordinates the activities of Vantage lighting and other home systems. The dimmer station can also talk to the RadioLink Enabler, a transceiver that can be added to already installed C-Boxes, which uses a two-wire communications bus to talk to wired dimmer stations.

This year, the company is adding a RadioLink RS-232 Station, a wireless transceiver that connects to audio/video equipment and other controllable components to eliminate a run of serial cable from the components to a Vantage Controller.

For the traditional wired Vantage system, the company is adding the LCD 320M Control Station, a 3.75-inch monochrome LCD touch screen that controls anything connected to the Vantage system.

The following are also new:

  • The Vantage WebPoint software program makes it possible for any Web-enabled device, including PDAs and Web pads, to control a Vantage system from inside the house or from a remote location such as the office. The program loads onto a home PC, which connects to the Vantage system by RS-232.
  • The TheaterPoint one-box solution integrates a home theater system into a Vantage home-control network.