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What’s Up With W.H.E.N.

Indianapolis — The Audioaccess division of JBL unveiled a receiver-based distributed-A/V system designed to bring system costs within reach of purchasers of production homes.

An Audioaccess-branded receiver-based system was available in the past, but that discontinued system wasn’t based on a home theater receiver, the company said.

The new system, called W.H.E.N. (Whole-House Entertainment Network), is built around a two-tuner 7.1-channel receiver that connects via single digital cable to an outboard hub/power supply. The hub, in turn, drives amplified in-wall keypads.

The receiver, shown last year in mock-up form, was originally going to use A-BUS distributed-audio technology, which sends audio, control signals and low-voltage power via CAT-5 cable to amplified in-wall keypads. The final version, however, dispenses with A-BUS to deliver more audio output per room (2×50 watts), thanks to separate runs of 12-gauge and 14-gauge two-conductor wire that deliver higher amperage low-voltage power from power supplies inside the hub to the amplified keypads, the company said.

Audioaccess’ outboard hub delivers audio and control signals over CAT-5 cable to the amplified keypads. Composite video is distributed via separate coaxial cables.

The eight-zone hub distributes content simultaneously from two audio-only sources and six A/V sources, such as PVRs and DVD megachangers. Additional hubs expand the number of zones and simultaneous sources to 23. The hub also distributes security-camera video from up to six cameras. A doorbell input mutes music and reproduce the sound of a home’s doorbell through the system’s speakers.

In-wall keypads with LCD screens display text received from source components such as select RS-232-equipped DVD/CD megachangers. The keypads also offer paging throughout the system using a built-in microphone in each keypad.

The system controls outboard sources via IR outputs and select DVD megachangers via RS-232 ports.

Systems prices, excluding speakers and sources, start at about $5,500 for a receiver, hub and six amplified display keypads, less than the cost of current Audioaccess systems.

Availability hasn’t been announced, said Chris Robinson, director of sales and marketing.

.Also new: the division’s first color touch screen, the $1,395-suggested tabletop/wall-mount CATC touch screen with 4-inch LCD screen. It connects to the six-zone PX-700 distributed-audio controller/switcher, which distributes audio from up to eight connected audio sources and also controls such home systems as lighting and HVAC.