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Multitude Of Multi-Room A/V Solutions At Expo

There are more ways to distribute music and video throughout the home than there are proposals to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

Here at the CEDIA Expo, suppliers will unveil new products that use powerlines, CAT-5 cable, wireless RF and traditional speaker wire to distribute audio around the house. Other suppliers will demonstrate IP-based networks that distribute audio and video, and installers will find multiple suppliers with HDMI extenders to route HD video around the house over CAT-6.

NuVo (see below) and Russound, (see p. 27) will show powerline multi-room audio systems for retrofit installations, and SoundCast Systems will show its first multi-room audio system that transmits music wirelessly to in-wall speakers.

For its part, Eaton will show its first A-BUS/Direct multi-room-audio system.

In A/V distribution, SpeakerCraft plans to unveil its IP-based multi-room A/V system, which distributes music and Blu-ray movies around the house. S1 Digital will show a Windows-based A/V server intended to distribute content to Media Center devices around the house, and Colorado vNet (see p. 28) is adding archiving of Blu-ray movie discs, via a networked NAS to its IP-based multi-room-A/V system.

Here are what installers will find from these and other companies:

Bryston: The company’s first multi-zone amps are eight-channel models that ship by Oct. 1. The D-130Z Hybrid and the D-250Z Hybrid, both suitable for residential or bar/restaurant applications, combine class D amplifier for cool running in tight spaces with linear power supply design to deliver high-performance audio, the company said.

Eaton: The company plans to launch its first A-BUS/Direct custom-installed speakers for A-BUS multi-room audio systems, which distribute analog audio, control signals and power over a single CAT-5 cable to remote rooms.

In typical A-BUS systems, music, data and power are sent to in-wall amplified keypads that in turn connect to passive in-ceiling or in-wall speakers. With Eaton’s A-BUS/Direct speakers, however, there are no in-wall keypads. Music, data and power are delivered directly to one of two 6.5-inch in-ceiling speakers. That speaker contains an A-BUS receiver, two-channel amplifier to power both speakers, and an IR eye to pass through control signals from a handheld IR keypad to A-BUS components in a structured-wiring cabinet or in a central A/V stack.

Eaton’s 6.5-inch in-ceiling speakers come with thin battery-powered keypad that can be placed in a wall-mounted cradle at a total suggested retail of $519.

Niveus Media: A new Windows Vista Premium-based digital media player with built-in DVD/Blu-ray drive is on tap. The Zone Pro at $1,999 is three times faster than a $1,499 DVD/BD-equipped Zone player because it uses an 80GB solid-state hard drive in lieu of a mechanical hard drive with less capacity.

Zone players network with other Zone players to share content with one another, included time-shifted cable programming. They also stream content from Niveus’ networked Cargo 16-bay Storage Server or with networked servers based on the Windows Home Server technology.

S1 Digital: The Rochelle Park, N.J., company will show its first Windows-based multi-zone server, which streams stored content to single-zone Windows Media Center-based A/V components in other rooms over a home’s Gigabit Ethernet network.

The Digital Entertainment Platform server is available with 4TB, 8TB, 16TB or 32TB hard drives to centrally store and distribute music, photos, and video over CAT-5e/6 cable. It also catalogs and plays back video files already on a home’s network. Its CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive copies unprotected CDs and DVDs to its hard drive.

An optional Network TV add-on accesses live CableCard or ATSC HDTV content for time-shifting to the server’s hard drive and for streaming to S1’s Media Centers, which also act as single-room DVRs with ATSC/quad Cable Card tuners.

SpeakerCraft: The company’s first IP-based multi-room-A/V system will distribute multiple simultaneous streams of audio and 1080p video over category cable from connected CE and PC sources. Anywhere from four to six 1080p programs can be streamed simultaneously along with multiple stereo-only sources.

The Nirv system is compliant with Blu-ray’s HDCP copy-control technology and uses its own proprietary IP-based protocols to ensure quality of service.