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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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