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Lifeware Expands Options, Partners With HP

Denver – Exceptional Innovation expanded the capabilities of its Lifeware home-control and media-distribution software for Windows XP PCs with a multi-product launch here at the CEDIA Expo.

The product launches include hardware bridges to legacy systems, a software upgrade, and devices that complement or replace a traditional PC in a Lifeware-based home-control system.

As an alterative to using a traditional XP-based PC to control home systems and distribute PC-based content, the company certified Hewlett-Packard’s two new Windows Media Center-based Digital Entertainment Centers (DECs) as capable of running Lifeware software. The DECs, unveiled here at the CEDIA Expo, store up to 800GB of audio, video and other content for distribution over an Ethernet network, double as HD DVRs, and add new installer-requested features such as HDMI connectivity and fixed-line audio outputs.

The hardware bridges extend Lifeware’s control capabilities beyond Ethernet-, Wi-Fi-, and Z-Wave-based devices to devices that use RS-232, IR, and contact-closures and that lack software upgradability. The latest Lifeware version also boosts the number of other-brand home systems that can be integrated with a Lifeware system to more than 30 when used with the bridges. The brands include multiroom audio, HVAC, security, lighting and motorized-shade brands.

The software upgrade also lets an installer program scenes that involve the operation of multiple home systems. One scene could, for example, turn off lights and TVs in a house when the alarm system is set. Another could dim lights and lower shades when the play button is pressed on a home theater system.

To expand the capabilities of a PC- or DEC-based control system, Exceptional Innovation introduced the XP-based Lifevision broadcast-TV server and the Lifestorage network attached storage (NAS) device, both of which distribute content over an Ethernet network. The Lifevision incorporates four standard-definition NTSC tuners, DVD recorder/player, and 250GB HDD to pause and record live TV. Four video programs can be simultaneously displayed in quadrants on the company’s first two in-wall touchpanels with 8.9- and 12.1-inch color-screen sizes.

To increase storage capacity, the company also unveiled the2TB Lifestorage NAS with RAID.