— SpeakerCraft plans to demonstrate its first networked multi-room-A/V system, the Nirv Digital Media & Theater System.
Nirv, which just began shipping, delivers audio and video up to 1080p resolution to any room of the house over a single CAT-5e/6 cable from Nirvconnected sources. The system also delivers control signals, metadata, intercom voice, and Dolby Digital and DTS home-theater surround sound over the same cable.
Because it is network-based, sources can be connected to the network connected to the network at any point in the house, not just at a central head end. The system is expandable to hundreds of sources and zones.
Sources can include cable boxes, music servers, PCs, network-attached storage drives, Blu-ray players and changers, DVRs and the like.
The goal was to develop a system that provides dealers with “a total digital content solution” over a single wire, a “true” onscreen graphical user interface overlay, surround sound in every room, and ease of programming and install, said CEO Jeremy Burkhardt.
Because of its network architecture, Nirv is simpler and less expensive to install than traditional multi-room A/V systems and scalable a zone at a time so consumers don’t pay for zone capacity that they don’t need, the company said.
It is also targeted to the retrofit market because it can take advantage of the CAT-5e/6 cables already installed in homes with wired Ethernet networks.
The system features full control from any TV display via a handheld RF Wand remote, but it can also be controlled from an iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. An Android interface is also under development.
With the Wand, users get full control of all networked sources network, zones and volume, and the system can be customized for individual users, including volume levels, equalization, source and zone access, and even favorite channel assignments for music and video, Burkhardt said. As the user moves around the house, Nirv automatically brings each user’s profile to any zone that the user is operating, he noted. “We’ve worked very hard with our dealer base and focus groups to make an elegant interface that the common consumer can intuitively use and afford,” Burkhardt said.
The entire system can be programmed via an OSD programming tool and the Wand. For further customization , the company is developing a PC application called SpeakerCraft NirvCenter. “Programming a system is lame, and dealers lose money very often on programming jobs,” Burkhardt said. “With Nirv we have a drop-down menu that allows any product or source to be controlled.”
Nirv uses a digital transport backbone that incorporates CobraNet technology, which has been used in the professional audio market for more than 15 years, but SpeakerCraft engineers developed the world’s first implementation of the technology to include video, Burkhardt said.
The system consists of audio and video source-input devices that connect audio and video sources to the Nirv network. For local playback of networked sources, users connect local audio and video systems to the network via receiver/ decoders.