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Niles Bows Expanded ZR Series Receiver Line

DENVER — Niles, which is also celebrating its 30th birthday, is expanding its ZR series of multizone receivers to three from two to hit a new entry-level price point and offer additional capabilities during CEDIA Expo.

Some of the new features on select models are weatherproof keypads, metadata (including iPod metadata) displays on keypads, iPod integration and control of home subsystems such as lighting.

The previous two ZR receivers were priced at a suggested $2,269 and $3,059, and the new models are priced at $1,500, $1,699 and $2,399.

The new opening price point of $1,500 for the ZR-4 four-source, four-zone AM/FM receiver includes four packaged in-wall weatherproof keypads, learning remote and three IR flashers. It ships in January.

The step-up ZR6 six-source, six-zone receiver retails at $1,699, excluding optional weather-resistant keypads with LCD for displaying metadata from
iPods and other sources. The system adds plug-and-play iPod integration. A $249 Solo-6MD keypad is another option. The ZR-6 ships in mid first quarter.

At the top, the $2,399-suggested ZR-Pro is a six-source, six-zone model that embedded HD-Radio tuner, home subsystem control with two-way communication, and optional weather-resistant touchscreen to go with weather-resistant keypad options. The TS-Pro touchscreen retails for a suggested $749. The receiver ships in the second quarter.

None incorporates video distribution, as the previous top-end model did, to give consumers the flexibility of not paying for the feature they might not use, the company said. The new SR-6 and ZR-Pro, however, can be used with a separate VS-6 video switcher/router.

To its step-up IntelliControl ICS series of multiroom audio systems, the company added integration with home automation systems that use Exceptional Innovation’s Lifeware home automation software, which runs on Windows XP-based Media Center PCs.

In home theater, Nile will show its next-generation, $999-suggested IC2 home theater automation and control center, which automates and synchronizes the operation of up to 27 devices in a home theater room, up from 10 in the previous version. Devices include home theater components, lighting, lifts, and screens. The device controls eight IR, eight RS-232, eight TVs and six audio sources shared with a ZR-Pro multizone receiver.

A new network-protocol connection with the ZR-Pro enables the IC2’s ZigBee-based RF remote to control the ZR-Pro and the IC2. New button names, such as DVR media server, have been added to reflect new sources.