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Panasonic Touts AVR, Automation

Panasonic came to the CEDIA Expo with its first A/V receiver (AVR) that decodes all Blu-ray surround formats, and it outlined plans to turn its DECT cordless phones into home-automation controllers.

The $799-suggested SA-BX500 AVR, due in October, is a 7×135-watt model with three HDMI 1.3 inputs that support 1080p, Deep Color and x.v.Color video signals from a Blu-ray Disc player. Other features include virtual back-surround technology to deliver a 7.1-channel soundfield from a 5.1 speaker system. Biamp/bi-wiring capability automatically biamplifies the front left-right speakers when switching from 7.1-channel playback to stereo playback without reconfiguring speaker connections if bi-wiring-compatible speakers are used. Other features include HDMI-CEC-based Viera Link.

To turn its DECT cordless phones into wireless home-system controllers, Panasonic said it plans in a month or so to offer software that custom installers can add to its DECT phones to control a Control4 home automation system. A DECT base station would connect to a Control4 controller via wired Ethernet connection. The cordless handset would then be able to control such home systems as lighting, security, and HVAC.

Likewise, Panasonic is working with home automation supplier Crestron to display video from Panasonic IP-security cameras on future Panasonic DECT phones with video displays. In a third alliance, Panasonic is working with Schlage, which is developing wireless Z-Wave door locks, to enable remote wireless door unlocking from a phone. Consumers would be able to remotely unlock a door after viewing IP-security-camera video on the phone.