Legrand Completes Middle Atlantic Products Acquisition

Legrand, North America has completed its acquisition of Middle Atlantic Products, which now becomes the company's new commercial AV division focused on AV products and solutions for commercial, residential, security and broadcast applications. The acquisition enables a more comprehensive offering of AV infrastructure products and solutions, according to Legrand. "The Middle Atlantic brand, operations, and services are continuing as they always have, so our customers can continue to expect the exceptional experience we work hard to deliver every day," said Mike Baker, Middle Atlantic president and now also president of Legrand's Commercial AV division. "Now that we have the backing and support of a global company, we will be able to consider new products and services that will only increase our ability to serve our customers and the installation community going forward."

Walmart Adds Roku XD Box

Roku said Monday that Walmart has officially joined the list of retailers carrying the Roku XD player, since distribution of the device was opened up last March. The nationwide discount chain recently started carrying the $78 box across the country, offering 250 entertainment channels, so far, including video from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle and Revision3; live and on-demand sports from NBA Game Time, NHL GameCenter Live and Ultimate Fighting Championship; music from Pandora, MOG, Rdio, and TuneIn Radio; photo and video sharing from Flickr and Facebook; and, soon, casual video games, including Angry Birds.

Streaming media player shipments to reach 3.6 million in 2011, says In-Stat

Shipments of over-the-top set top boxes — also known as streaming media players and digital media adapters — have seen sizable growth over the past two years and will finish 2011 with more than 3.6 million units shipped, according to In-Stat. Future growth, however, will be a little more difficult as other Internet-connected devices, such as Blu-ray players and video game consoles, become even more common and compete for their share of consumers interested in streaming entertainment online. A new In-Stat report, “Streaming Media Players: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?,” finds that streaming IP video is quickly becoming a common feature in consumer electronics rather than a core function. As a result, some suppliers of streaming media players are de-emphasizing their stand-alone OTT set-top boxes in favor of concentrating development on streaming media software platforms.

Pioneer Announces New Elite Receiver Lineup

Pioneer Electronics will begin shipping five new A/V receivers this summer, under its premium Elite sub-brand. All five models have many network-entertainment features, including built-in AirPlay support, for steaming music from an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or iTunes library on a PC or Mac. Ethernet connectivity is built-in, and an optional Wi-Fi adapter is available. Four of the five receivers can also accept an optional Bluetooth adapter, and work with Air Jam, a free Pioneer app that lets iPhone/iPad and iPod users creative collaborative playlists on their devices and stream them to the receiver via Bluetooth. Other network entertainment features include DLNA 1.5 support, which allows high-resolution (up to 192kHz/24-bit) digital audio files to be streamed over a home network from from DLNA-compliant devices; and vTuner Internet radio capability. All five receivers work with Pioneer's second-generation iPhone/iPad app, iControl AV2.

The Honig Company's 3D-Canceling, 2D-Glasses

The Honig Company has a solution for moviegoers who get headaches from watching 3D. The answer: 2D glasses. The Honig Company estimates that 30 million Americans, or 10% of the population have minor eye problems that lead to headaches and discomfort when watching 3D content. While typical 3D glasses show a different image to each eye, the 2D glasses block the second image, showing the same image to both eyes, and canceling out the illusion of 3D. The 2D glasses allow people who get headaches from watching 3D to still join family members and friends at the theater. The 2D glasses are low-priced, with a manufacturers suggested price of $7.99.

Apple Announces iCloud Music Service

On Monday afternoon, Apple announced the introduction of iCloud, a music service that will allow users to listen to their music from almost any Internet-connected device.The service, which was introduced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, will be available starting in the fall for users of Apple products who also upgrade to the company's latest operating system. Though iCloud itself will be free, to fully take advantage of the service, users will need to pay $24.99 per year for a service called iTunes Match that will scan their iTunes library and make their songs available to be streamed on any Apple device, as long as those songs happen to among the 18 million available from Apples iTunes store. Songs that aren't included in the store will have to be uploaded from users' hard drives. A note on Apple's web page indicates that 5GB of storage will be offered to iCloud users for free. The service replaces Apple's previously available MobileMe service, which allowed users to store data and access email, calendar and contacts via a cloud. Subscribers to iCloud will have their E-books, photos and documents all backed up wirelessly and automatically. Purchased music, apps and books will not count toward the allotted storage.

Pandora expects IPO to price between $7 to $9

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Music-streaming service Pandora Media Inc. said in a regulatory filing Thursday that it expects its initial public offering of 13.68 million shares to price between $7 to $9 a share. The offering could raise as much as $141.6 million, Pandora said in an amended filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Pandora will offer 5,000,682 million shares, and selling stockholders will offer 8.68 million shares. Pandora said it will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares by the selling stockholders. The company has applied with the New York Stock Exchange to trade under the symbol "P".

Panasonic aims for 70% CO2 cut with 'smart' town

The Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (SST) is aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by 70 percent compared with 1990 levels. The completely networked town will be a 19-hectacre subdivision built on a former Panasonic plant site some 30 miles southwest of Tokyo. It will house about 3,000 people whose lives will revolve around being energy conscious: the 1,000 homes and other buildings will have solar panels to generate electricity and smart appliances, as well as home fuel cells. The batteries might include the fridge-sized Ene-Farm developed by Panasonic and Tokyo Gas. They say the Ene-Farm can reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 35 and 48 percent, respectively, from typical Japanese household usage and can help lower home utility costs by up to $740 annually. Plans for the SST call for features such as EV recharging stations, LED lighting, surveillance cameras, and "wind paths" to accommodate wind patterns in Fujisawa, a city of 400,000 on Sagami Bay. There will be plenty of trees, too. The project will cost some $739 million, and all homes are expected to be occupied by 2018. I wouldn't be surprised if SST gets way too many applicants. Fujisawa has beaches, a surfing culture, and plenty of sunshine, so it's an ideal location for this experiment. If it's successful, it could become a model for future green communities.

HOMEPLUG ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FROM GLOBAL GERMAN AUTO MANUFACTURERS FOR HOMEPLUG GP SPECIFICATION

At its event at COMPUTEX Taipei today, the HomePlug® Powerline Alliance announced support from Germany's major car manufacturers - Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen - for its HomePlug Technology.The HomePlug GP specification, finalized in June 2010, is a low power, highly reliable and cost-optimized powerline networking specification which targets "Smart Grid" applications such as appliances, smart meters, climate control, and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. Utility companies and manufacturers are looking to adopt communications and networking technologies, such as HomePlug GP, to help consumers and businesses monitor and reduce their energy consumption. HomePlug GP is a key component of the HomePlug technology portfolio, along with HomePlug AV broadband powerline technology and the upcoming HomePlug AV2 specification. HomePlug AV is the baseline technology for the IEEE 1901 powerline standard. All three specifications are fully interoperable with each other and with IEEE's 1901 powerline standard, and they are designed to make it easier for multiple chip suppliers and manufacturers to deliver products to support IP networking.

Did I Turn off the Lights?

Save energy by controlling your home's temperature while traveling.  Check the video feed from your security cameras.  Turn off the security system for a neighbor to enter and feed the cat without giving out a security code.  Turn the lights on and off in different rooms to make potential burglars think that someone is home, or activate the TV at night like you would if you were home.

Digital Signage Dayparting Takes Content Relevance to a New Level

Dayparting optimizes the relevance of your messages because it enables you to schedule various presentations to play automatically at different times of the day and specific days of the week.   Organizations that leverage both digital signage and dayparting experience added convenience, increased freedom to focus on their business, and a greater impact on the viewer.

Hey! I'm a Radio Station

The medical field took us humans apart and analyzed our DNA, thereby placing us in a family, which could be related by matching the elements of our DNA.  Just like the medical field took apart our DNA, the Music Gnome Project took apart the basics of music, such as melody, harmony, rhythm, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics and vocal harmony.  Each part of our DNA makes us who we are, and can compare our DNA association to others in our family.  The Gnome Project makes the same association between families of similar songs.

Hot Selling Devices Spell Great Insecurity Opportunities

OMG your iPhone tracks your movements.  Well yes your Android does to and the wireless companies and Homeland Security and Facebook and Google and  Mom, Dad and ..... How do you think you get those neat coupons when you walk by the store?  How do you think your phone service knows how to deliver a call or your email server to deliver your spam. You probably can't remember the last time you were alone...really alone. Sure you thought so but you silly boy/girl ! Getting off the grid is getting even more difficult.  Sometimes it's a bad thing but overall well just don't get paranoid...you're really boring to follow.  " No matter how incompetent the assassins, no matter how much they miss their target, there's always one person who always gets hit." - Frank Farmer (Kevin Kostner), "The Bodyguard," Warner Bros (1992)

Infocomm 2011 News Report

News Announcements from the show

Interview - Expanding Markets and Product Lines

We are firmly convinced that every premise should have automated control for comfort, convenience and safety - along with remote access. Security and energy management are a natural fit, since one system provides information (occupancy, mode, etc) to the other, and both are things that we want remote access on our smart phones and mobile devices. This helps with energy savings. That's the practical side of the business. The fun side of the business is the built-in audio, music servers and colorful touch-screens. So the driving force will be all of the above - especially as we are increasingly connected in this world.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!