CHROMECAST AUDIO COULD ARRIVE SEPT. 29, WILL WI-FI ENABLE YOUR HOME SPEAKERS

By Chris Leo Palermino for Digital Trends:   While we reported about the Chromecast 2 earlier today, it sounds like that’s not the only Chromecast that Google will be debuting on Sept. 29. The tech giant is also working on Chromecast Audio, a separate device focused on “Wi-Fi-enabling the speakers in your home,” according to 9to5Google. Allegedly called “Hendrix” internally, the music-focused Chromecast will attach to speakers via a standard 3.5mm headphone cable.

The new device will allow users to listen to music and other audio like podcasts (and maybe even online radio?) via wi-fi from Android devices or the Chrome browser. Chromecast currently supports Google Play Music, Pandora, Rdio, and — as of recently — Spotify. It will have ‘multi-room support,’ which means that it may have the ability to play the same audio through multiple speakers.  Cont'd...

Wireless Multiroom Audio: Room For More?

By: Joseph Palenchar for Twice:  Sales growth is slowing in wireless multiroom audio even as more companies enter a market whose top brand – Sonos — enjoys almost a 90 percent dollar share of the market at the retail level.

So you’d think the market would be in the midst of a shakeout, shrinking margins, and a downward spiral in average selling prices. But you’d be wrong, at least for now.

Some audio suppliers see ASPs and retail-level margins holding steady or rising as high-performance audio brands begin to play in a market established by Sonos 10 years ago. And they aren’t too worried yet about slowing growth because the household penetration rate is still very low. Only 2 percent, or 3 million, of the country’s 116 million households have wireless multiroom-audio speakers, according to estimates from Yamaha, which entered the market in August.  Cont'd...

Apple Said to Delay Live TV Service to 2016 as Negotiations Stall

By  Peter Burrows, Lucas Shaw and Gerry Smith for Bloomberg:  Apple Inc. customers waiting for the company to revolutionize live television as it did for music and phone service will have to keep waiting, at least until next year.

The company wanted to introduce this year a live TV service delivered via the Internet, but is now aiming for 2016, said people familiar with Apple’s plans. Talks to license programming from TV networks such as those owned by CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc. are progressing slowly, some of the people said. Apple also doesn’t have the computer network capacity in place to ensure a good viewing experience, said some of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Without enough content deals in place, Apple has scrapped plans to announce the service at a Sept. 9 event in San Francisco, which would have coincided with the beginning of the new network TV season, the people said. The Cupertino, California-based company still plans to introduce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box at the event, said the people, but customers -- for now, at least -- will need a cable or satellite TV subscription or an antenna to watch live network television.  Cont'd...

Universal Electronics makes smart home bid with Ecolink acquisition

By Ben Munson for CEDMagazine:  Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI) is strengthening its position in the smart home market by acquiring Ecolink Intelligent Technology, a wireless home security and automation specialist.

UEI is spending about $12.4 million in cash and incentive-based considerations over the next five years to acquire Ecolink’s assets.

Those assets include over 25 issued and pending patents, related intellectual property and Ecolink’s smart home, wireless security and home automation business.

Ecolink will become a wholly owned subsidiary of UEI and continue being operated and marketed under the Ecolink name.

For Ecolink, the acquisition likely means a significant boost in market penetration.

For UEI, the purchase means a stronger foothold in the smart home/home automation market that’s becoming part of many cable companies’ and telco’ businesses.  Cont'd...

Sony launches crowdfunding site, features e-paper home control

Tim Hornyak, IDG News Service:  Struggling electronics maker Sony has moved further into the crowdfunding scene by starting its own platform to raise funds for internally generated business ideas, including a new universal remote control with an electronic paper interface.

Launched Wednesday, First Flight is a crowdfunding and e-commerce platform designed to take product proposals from the ideas to sales. It’s only available in Japanese and is limited to Sony’s in-house projects.

First Flight has three stages, a teaser stage, in which new ideas can be previewed and discussed, followed by crowdfunding and e-commerce.

“One of the strengths and aims of First Flight is to facilitate ongoing dialogue with customers from initial development through to market introduction, by seamlessly connecting each phase from previewing and crowd funding to e-commerce,” a Sony spokeswoman said.  Cont'd...

Bluetooth speakers drive growth in home audio, says firm

The home audio market (wireless speakers, soundbars, Hi-Fi systems, A/V receivers and speaker docks) grew by 22% to ship 71 million units. Trade value also grew by 22%, generating just under US$10 billion worth of revenues in 2014, according to Futuresource Consulting.

Wireless speakers and soundbar shipments exceeded market expectations and accounted for the lion's share, far outweighing the decline in demand for traditional audio devices i.e. A/V receivers and Hi-Fi systems. The wireless speaker market was fuelled by strong growth in Bluetooth speakers in the lower end of the price spectrum and multi-room audio at the premium end.

Home audio devices increasingly offer wireless functionality and shipments with this feature grew by 93% from 27 million units in 2013 to 53 million units in 2014. Futuresource said it predicts that virtually all home audio devices will be wireless by 2019.

Hitachi Introduces High-Performance Wireless Whole-Home Audio Speakers

Hitachi America, Ltd. today announced the debut of three stylish new Wi-Fi enabled speakers powered by the AllPlay™ smart media platform, a wireless whole-home audio solution developed by Qualcomm®. AllPlay is a complete hardware and software whole home audio platform that offers manufacturers and consumers a unified solution for local media and cloud based Wi-Fi streaming across iOS and Android platforms.
 
Hitachi’s smart speakers offer seamless streaming of high-quality local and cloud-based audio content – with the high performance and versatility of Wi-Fi – at three affordable price points. Industry-leading audio streaming music services such as Spotify®, Rhapsody® and others have committed to supporting speaker products powered by AllPlay this year.

CEDIA Launches Video Guide to Smart Home Wiring

CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association) has produced a new video Guide to Smart Home Wiring which introduces consumers, builders and design professionals to the benefits that a properly designed and installed cabling infrastructure can provide in homes today. 

"We all dream of living in a comfortable, secure and energy efficient home," says Matt Nimmons, CEDIA EMEA's Operations Director. "The reality is that technology can now be seamlessly integrated and controlled to deliver these benefits to us all. By following the Best Practice advice within CEDIA's Smart Home Recommended Wiring Guidelines, this video shows how the right cabling infrastructure is an essential requirement for the internet-connected smart home." 

CEDIA's Guide to Smart Home Wiring looks at how technology is an integral part of a typical family's lifestyle in today's home. It then explains how the right wiring infrastructure can manage and distribute audio-visual, lighting, heating, security and other data hungry services effectively within a property whilst, at the same time, helping to minimise electronic box and cable clutter in the home. 

Sony announces 2015 home and portable audio ranges

Sony has announced an extensive line-up of new audio products for both in the home and on the go.
 
The home audio products — new sound bars, wireless speakers, and audio/video receivers  —  have prioritised high-resolution audio, multiroom connectivity and expanded music streaming capabilities. For example the range will offer Google Cast and Spotify Connect. The new Google Cast platform allows you to control music directly from music streaming apps like Deezer, Rdio, Pandora and Google Play Music. To cater to growing consumer demand for multiroom audio, a complete home sound system can be set up and controlled throughout multiple rooms with the Sony app SongPal.
 
“Imagine stepping into your home and being greeted by your favourite music being streamed seamlessly throughout every room. With a touch of a button, you can access a world of music options and control all the connected speakers within in your home,” said Abel Makhraz, head of video, sound & tablet, Sony Australia & New Zealand.
 
For inside or outside the home Sony has announced a range of portable wireless speakers. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours with Bluetooth and NFC to stream music from your smartphone or tablet.

Control4 Brings 4K Ultra HD to the Smart Home With New 4K Media Distribution Solutions

Control4 Corporation is now bringing 4K Ultra HD content distribution to smart homes across the world by providing fully HDCP 2.2 compliant 4K UHD audio and video matrix switches for home automation installations. 4K UHD is the new standard for high-definition video, and is redefining the home entertainment experience for consumers by providing four-times the resolution of standard 1080P HD video content. Available for order today, the new line of Control4® 4K UHD Matrix Switches provides the ability to distribute 4K content, including copy-protected content, to every room in the Control4 Smart Home without the need for additional hardware or software.
 
“We are committed to delivering on the promise of 4K by offering compelling video distribution solutions to homeowners who expect the very best in entertainment,” said Martin Plaehn, Control4 Chairman and CEO. “Our recent acquisition of Leaf, the Australia-based provider of audio/video distribution products, helped us get to market faster with a comprehensive media distribution solution that is truly 4K-ready today.”

ISE 2015 underway in Amsterdam

Integrated Systems Europe 2015 is now underway in Amsterdam.  With over 1000 scheduled exhibitors and 50,000 attendees this years show will be Europe's largest ever AV Systems integration exhibition.

This year they will be offering a dedicated "Discovey Zone" showcasing the first time exhibitors at ISE.  As well they have divided the show floor into 4 technology areas:  : Digital Signage; Residential Solutions; Unified Communications and Smart Building.

As usual The HomeToys Team we'll be busy posting news and product announcements from this years show which you can view on our ISE 2015 Newspage.

ELAN® Debuts World's First Universal Remote Controller Featuring Built-In Whole Home Control

A universal remote controller that offers complete home control is now a reality through the new ELAN® g1 Controller from Core Brands' ELAN Home Systems. Requiring no monthly contract and offering a wide variety of home control functionality, the ELAN g1 is leaps and bounds ahead of other low-cost home control solutions. ELAN has been making the easiest-to-use, yet most powerful home control solutions for more than 25 years, and this is the brand's first entry into the sub-$1,000 market. That means for about the price of a new TV, users can gain complete control, not just of their televisions and home theaters, but also of their entire homes. 

The ELAN g1 lets homeowners use a single handheld remote control to manage up to 16 zones of security, two electronic door locks, an audio/video receiver with up to 32 connected TVs, up to 24 lighting keypads, three thermostats, three IP surveillance cameras and up to 16 groups of irrigation. With ELAN's deep experience in home control, the system is designed to be fully expandable to grow with any user's home or budget. 

Amazon just surprised everyone with a crazy speaker that talks to you

Well this one came out of nowhere: Amazon is building a speaker that's controlled with your voice. It's called Echo, and Amazon tells The Verge it will be "shipping in the coming weeks." Available on an invite-only basis to start, Echo is regularly priced at $199. But for a limited time, Amazon will offer Echo for $99 to Prime members who receive an invite. Amazon says the black, cylindrical speaker is always connected to the cloud and will provide information, music, news, weather, and more whenever you ask for it. It's the sort of thing you'd expect from Google — only it's an Amazon product.

The built-in voice recognition can hear users from across the room, according to Amazon, essentially acting as a Siri-like personal assistant crammed inside a speaker. It listens to user requests using seven microphones and can understand your voice even while playing music. "These sensors use beam-forming technology to hear you from any direction," reads the product's page. The speaker also produces 360-degree audio to fill an entire room. It'll play music from Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn Plus. And it's fully Bluetooth compatible, making playback from Spotify, Pandora, and other audio apps possible. Companion smartphone apps on Android and Fire OS will launch upon availability to help buyers set up and get started with the speaker, but everyone else (including iOS users) will need to access it via a web app. Amazon tells The Verge that a dedicated iOS app is in the works.

Sharp's new High Resolution Audio Player could spell the death of the A/V receiver

When most people think of Sharp, they likely think about really big TVs. However, in an effort to help you clean up your home theater, the company has been working on something even bigger than their TVs, and it’s finally ready for its coming-out party. Today, Sharp unveiled its new media player, which uses dual wireless technologies to transmit both high resolution audio and video without cables. Sharp calls it the Sharp High Resolution Audio Player, but the name doesn’t do the device justice — it’s way more than just a high-res audio player.
 
Sharp has been developing its futuristic new player, the model SD-WH100U, for years. In fact, we caught a glimpse of what this technology could do in early 2013 at CES, and the prototype version of today’s device thoroughly impressed, able to send crystal clear audio and video to a surround sound speaker system and TV that was virtually indistinguishable from a traditional wired setup.
 
Using the wide open spaces of the 5.2-5.8 GHz frequency band, the player is able to transmit high resolution audio at up to 24bit/96kHz from FLAC, WAV, and even DSD files over the up-and-coming WiSA (Wireless Speakers and Audio) standard. It also plays SACDs and Blu-rays, and thanks to an adapter that speaks the Wireless HD protocol, WiHD, it also sends top-notch 1080p HD video to any TV.

 

CEDIA EXPO SHOWS STEADY GROWTH

CEDIA EXPO 2014 showed steady growth in attendance and exhibitor participation. More than 480 exhibitors and 18,500 attendees from 82 countries participated in the 2014 event in Denver.  Professional and overall attendance both grew by 3%, and the overall exhibitor footprint also saw growth with a 14% increase in the square footage of the show floor.

“CEDIA EXPO continues to be a vital venue for home technology decision makers to connect and experience the latest and greatest the industry has to offer,” said Don Gilpin, CEDIA Executive Director and COO. “Not only did attendees see where the industry is going on the show floor, they also saw it in the classroom. CEDIA EXPO offered 110 training sessions, 48 of which were new, offering attendees avenues to stay up to date on the skills they need to remain competitive in the industry. From product launches and demos to networking and training events, CEDIA EXPO 2014 proved to be a fantastic success."

Attendees remained consistent in their professional development with CEDIA training and this year’s certification offerings. All CEDIA Certification exam sessions sold out and 40+ training classes were sold out.

Records 31 to 45 of 48

First | Previous | Next | Last

Audio & Video - Featured Product

IntraSonic Technology - I600 In-Wall Digital Stereo Music System

IntraSonic Technology - I600 In-Wall Digital Stereo Music System

You asked, we listened! Music lovers that want to enjoy their tunes everywhere - yes, everywhere! - now have a high-tech, easy-to-use option that upgrades the look and functionality of any home or office. The I600 In-Wall Digital Stereo Music System is a music distribution system that provides enhanced usability and delivers mind-blowing stereo quality sound. With touch screen controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and several music source options, the I600 turns your surroundings into an amazing music entertainment experience.