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EI Expands Hardware, Partner Selection

Exceptional Innovation (EI) went to the CEDIA Expo with an expanded selection of Lifemedia media servers, new in-wall touchscreens, its first branded thermostat, and certification of other brands’ Media Center-based servers for use with its Lifeware server and control software.

The company also:

  • announced the first third-party in-wall keypads and handheld remotes to control EI’s media servers and Lifecontroller home automation controller;
  • and demonstrated its next-generation software, which adds motion UI to its touchscreen controllers, ability to customize menu icons, and ability to push security-camera video to TV screens whenever a door is opened.

EI’s two new servers are the LMS-654 and flagship LMS-754, both due in the fourth quarter. They will be among the first Media Centers for sale with four-tuner CableCARD option, which enables users to simultaneously stream four high-definition cable-TV programs to four zones. The flagship 754 features 4TB hard drive in RAID 5 array. The entry-level LMS-200 at $3,500 is intended for small installs in modest homes and MDUs.

Media Centers not manufactured by EI but certified by the company to run its Lifeware software are the Alienware Hangar 18, Sony Vaio XL3, and Russound Smart Media Console and Lifemedia 400 consoles, the company announced. Certification helps EI dealers choose the right media servers to add to an EI home-automation network, the company explained. Each console’s components, including graphics card and CPU, are performance-tested by EI.

The company’s latest in-wall Lifepoint touchscreens consist of a $6,000-suggested 8.9-inch model and $7,000 12.1-inch model, both with 16:9 720p screens and Lifeslide motion UI.

The touchscreens, media servers and other-brand home systems connect through the company’s Lifecontroller home automation system controller, available in a $3,750 structured-wiring version and a $3,500 rack-mount version. It’s preloaded with Lifeware control software that contains a library of protocols to control 142 brands of wired home systems connected to it by RS-232 or Ethernet. The controller also controls ZigBee- and Z-Wave-enabled wireless home systems when a ZigBee or Z-Wave transceiver is attached.

In another announcement, EI said its Lifeware-enabled servers and home automation controller can now be controlled by select third-party in-wall keypads and handheld RF remotes. Initial keypad partners are Russound and Nuvo, and Philips is the first handheld RF remote partner. These devices will let users see the Lifeware menu on their text displays, control Media Centers, view the metadata of music that is playing and control other home systems.

Similarly, the company’s first branded thermostat, due in the first quarter, replaces existing wired thermostats and adds control of other home systems in an EI network.