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Russound To Link PC, Custom Networks

Russound plans to enter the PC market in a custom sort of way.

The company’s Smart Media Console incorporates Windows Vista OS, Intel Viiv technology, and Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and it’s designed as a bridge connecting multimedia-focused PC networks and custom-installed multiroom-A/V systems.

The Smart Media Console networks with PCs to stream PC-stored movies, TV programming, music, photos and other media to a home theater system in the living room. It’s also designed from the ground up as a multiroom audio-video system, media server and home-control system for custom installers, who can control it from Russound’s R-NET multiroom audio systems. The integration enables control of the console from a Russound R Net multiroom controller, which is usually connected to A/V sources such as music servers and satellite radio tuners. The controller, in turn, is connected to in-wall keypads and touch screens in other rooms.

Networked computers can also stream content from other connected PC and from the Smart Media console.

Included Lifeware home-control software from Exceptional Innovations lets consumers manage their lighting, multiroom audio, HVAC, security, appliances and other subsystems from the livingroom TV and from networked PCs, not just from custom installed in-wall keypads.

It ships in June at an unannounced price.

The Smart Media console features a custom desktop or rack-mountable chassis, standard and high definition TV tuners, Dolby Digital decoding and hard-disk-drive multiroom A/V audio server. The Smart Media console also integrates the control of multiple home systems, thanks to Lifeware home-automation software provided by Exceptional Innovation (EI).

The Russound Smart Media Console will also integrate with the company’s RNET custom-installed distributed-audio systems and source components. The console features slots for Russound’s RNET Smart Sources, including XM and Sirius satellite and FM radio tuner cards whose metadata in a Smart Media system will be delivered to networked PCs and the livingroom TV, not just to in-wall keypads and touchscreens. Whereas most media center products are designed by PC manufacturers with an “information technology” approach, said Jeff Kussard, strategic development VP, “the Russound Smart Media Console is expressly designed as a Russound product … [using components] that are easily incorporated with multiroom systems and home automation equipment.”