Russound Bows Smart Media Console Server

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Russound plans a CEDIA Expo launch of six Smart Media Console A/V servers with 500GB to 3TB of storage at MAP prices of $5,499 to $10,000.

The launch marks a change in plans from earlier this year, when the company introduced a single 1TB Smart Media Console that never shipped.

The Russound- and Lifeware- cobranded systems are due late in the fourth quarter.

The consoles incorporate surround-sound processor, CD/DVD recorder, distribute audio and video over Ethernet networks to wired Media Extender clients, which in turn are connected to A/V systems in other rooms. The consoles, however, also incorporate drivers for integration with the company's six-source, six-zone R NET distributed audio system.

Distributed content includes music and unencrypted video ripped from the unit's CD/DVD transport, content transferred from a networked PC, and time-shifted standard- and high-definition video captured through the consoles' embedded TV tuners. Distributed content also includes video streamed live through the consoles' TV tuners. Three of the consoles are equipped with four tuners (two ATSC and two NTSC), and three are equipped with dual CableCARD slots for use in digital cable systems. All consoles also come with wireless RF keyboard and remote.

The consoles, based on the Vista operating system, incorporate Lifeware software from Exceptional Innovation to integrate with and control other home systems. They can also download copyright-protected music and movies directly from select Web sites without using a PC.

The six new SKUs are actually three models offered in two flavors: one flavor offers quad TV tuners, the other dual CableCARD slots. The SKUs are the SMC 30 and SMC 35, SMC 40 and 45, and SMC 50 and 55. The designations ending in 5 indicate dual CableCARD slots.

The SMC 30 and 35 feature 500GB HDDs. The SMC 50 and 55 feature 3TB of RAID5 storage.

Prices are $5,499 for the SMC 30, $6,499 for the SMC 35, $6,499 for the SMC 40, $7,499 for the SMC 45, $9,999 for the SMC 50 and $10,999 for the SMC 55.

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