Panja Enlists New Suppliers For Home-Network Standard

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Panja has expanded support for its home-network standard to 40 audio, video and home-control companies in recent months.

About 20 more are committed to the program and will announce their participation when their compatible products are closer to shipment, said Alexandra Kovach, Panja's manager of business development. The company had only six announced partners in early 1999, she said.

Panja's standard, called the Internet Control System Protocol (ICSP), simplifies the integration of compatible products into the company's Phast home network system.

Any ICSP-compatible component connected to the system, including entertainment and lighting products, can be plug-and-play connected to Panja's server via an RS-232 databus system. All ICSP components connected to the bus can then be controlled from one or more control panels, which can be wall-mounted if wired or used like an RF remote if equipped with wireless technology.

A/V suppliers Onkyo and Pioneer and home-control supplier Honeywell are the latest companies to commit to incorporating Panja's ICSP standard. Honeywell builds controls for HVAC, security and lighting systems for the home. Compatible products from Onkyo and Pioneer will be available in a month or two, Kovach said. They will include a Pioneer DVD changer and plasma TV.

Earlier this year, B&W, Lexicon, Parasound and Rotel adopted the standard, following a December announcement by Yamaha. Their products are already available.

B&W's product is the CASA multiroom audio system, which uses in-wall active speakers. Lexicon integrated ICSP into its MC-1 Music and Cinema processor and DC-2 Digital Controller.

Parasound's entry is the AVC-2500 dual-zone preamp/tuner/processor, which also incorporates a D/A converter. Rotel's contribution is the RT-955 AM/FM tuner, the first of Rotel's RS-232-equipped products. Yamaha's product is the flagship RX-V1 receiver.

Other participating A/V suppliers include Arrakis, AudioAccess, California Audio Labs, Channel Vision, Denon, Escient, Krell, Lexicon, Linn, Madrigal, Marantz, McIntosh, Me, Onkyo, Panamax, RGB Spectrum, Sensory Science and Snell & Willcox.

Participating lighting-system companies are LiteTouch, Lutron, Vantage and Touch-Plate. And participating security companies are Apex, Europlex, HAI, ITI and Napco.

All of the products use an RS-232 connection to a Panja interface box outfitted to translate the products' control signals into Panja's protocol to deliver two-way communication between the product and the network control panel.

Because many A/V products still lack RS-232 connections, Panja has developed a one-way control option to take advantage of many A/V products' rear-panel IR port. Participating suppliers provide their IR codes for installation by Panja on its server, and Panja provides an IR interface box that "in effect turns it into one of our products" by converting ISCP into a manufacturer's IR codes, said Kovach.

The newest network system from Dallas-based Panja is the Panja 1000 Internet Home Network System, which uses an optional cable or DSL modem to capture streaming audio and video content from the web and send it to a distributed A/V system. It's also capable of retrieving web-based information on demand for display on Panja control panels.

An optional NetLinx module features a built-in web-page server that lets users access their home network from any PC equipped with a web browser. From the remote PC, the user can see the views from the home security cameras and check and change the status of other home systems, including HVAC systems.

The 1000 also integrates control of a home theater system's components and can be connected to Panja's home-network system. It's available for about $2,500, excluding modem, only on Panja's website direct to consumers.

Panja 1000 is programmed in-house by Panja for use with a customer's A/V equipment and Panja home network. Panja's subscriptions for the various content services cost from $9.95 to $19.95/month.


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