HDMI 2.0: What you need to know

The HDMI Forum, the nonprofit body that oversees the HDMI specification, recently announced version 2.0. There were numerous changes, not least support for higher frame rates than are possible with the current 1.4 specification. Do you need to upgrade? Will your cables still work? What does this mean for the future of TVs? Do you care? Answers for all these questions (except maybe the last one) below... First, here's where we are now. The until-now most recent version of the HDMI specification was version 1.4. It specified a number of things, like 4,096x2,160-pixel resolution up to 24 frames per second, or 3,820x2,160 up to 30fps. If you've bought any gear with an HDMI connector in the past few years, it's probably version 1.4. It carried over all the features and support from previous versions, plus added 3D, Audio Return Channel, and so on. 2.0 for 4K With the TV industry moving inexorably toward Ultra HD "4K," it was clear there needed to be more bandwidth in the connection to handle the future's higher resolutions and frame rates. On that front, HDMI 2.0 delivers, supporting "4K" (2160p by the Forum's explanation) up to 60fps. This allows for full-resolution 4K 3D, along with higher-frame-rate 2D content, like (potentially) home videos and computer games (PC, not PS4/Xbox One). Since almost all movies are shot at 24fps, this increase is less important for feature films or scripted TV shows. Full Article:

Everything Smart

Smart appliances and household devices have made our lives easier and sometimes safer. Now they are connected to the Web. These so-called smart devices are programmable and easy to access remotely, both by their owners and, as it turns out, by hackers.

What makes CEDIA an important show?

Each year-and this year is no exception-the show serves as the platform for a number of great product launches and a venue in which our clients can host product training to keep their customers ahead of the curve.

HDBaseT Alliance at CEDIA 2013: See the Next Generation of HDBaseT Technology

The HDBaseT Alliance (Booth #2830) at CEDIA 2013 will showcase several new HDBaseT-enabled home entertainment audio/video receivers, projectors, displays and other components from several Alliance members including NEC, Onkyo and Pioneer.  "We're going to show a sampling of the ever-growing HDBaseT product ecosystem so the professional installers and systems integrators attending CEDIA will be able to see first-hand how they can reduce the time and complexities of each job by leveraging the HDBaseT technology end-to-end," said Micha Risling, Marketing Committee Chair, the HDBaseT Alliance.  The HDBaseT technology, powered by Valens chipset, enables all-in-one connectivity between HD video sources and remote displays through a single 100m/328ft CAT5e/6 cable, delivering uncompressed high definition 4k video, audio, Internet, control signals and up to 100 watts of power.  The HDBaseT Alliance will demonstrate the HDBaseT Multimedia Home Connectivity Solution, and HDBaseT home theater set-up connected to a single-wire TV. In addition, The Alliance booth will feature HDBaseT-enabled products from dozens of vendors, including: AquaVision, Atlona, Crestron, Emcore, Epson, Geffen, Hall Research, Hitachi, Integra, Kordz, Kramer, NEC, Onkyo, Panasonic, Pioneer, Primeview, Savant Systems, Shenzhen Shunxun Electronics Co., Ltd, Shinybow, Silver Telecom and Wyrestorm. 

Plugging Home Electrical Systems into the Future: Bellatrix System's New bRight Switch

Bellatrix Systems today announced the launch of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for its sleek, new modular electrical control system for homes and businesses. The bRight Switch™ system includes smart switches that can be customized to perform multiple functions as well as multi-port outlets that combine high voltage and low voltage, eliminating the need for most wall chargers. bRight Switch integrates safely with the infrastructure of both new and existing construction and its design allows flexibility for future inventions and technological advancements. The Indiegogo campaign will launch on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 with a funding goal of $400,000.  bRight Switch represents several firsts. It is the first and only system to offer an Android-based, full-color LCD touch screen controller system for homes or businesses. It is also the first self-learning light switch control system to learn users' behaviors.

Tomographic Motion Detection

TMD (Tomographic Motion Detection) is a fundamentally new form of motion detection technology. It provides complete coverage of an area with the ability to be completely hidden from view because it is not a line of sight technology.

NSA Just Needs a Better Name, New Service Offerings

The new name? National Storage Agency (won't have to change the initials on their coffee cups). Then pitch themselves as the country's corporate and personal storage service and add a service that will have people standing in line around the block - free, automatic backup of your devices/drives.

Finding The Middle Of The Home Automation Market

"Outside-In" is all about focusing on the customer experience and designing products to enhance that experience.

Case Study: United Nations Secretariat Building

In total, this retrofit is expected to save between $4 and $5 million dollars per year while still maintaining the Secretariat Building's iconic glass façade, solidifying the United Nations reputation as a model of sustainability and innovation.

D-Tools Unveiling Workflow-Enhancing Native iPAD® Mobile Quoting App at CEDIA EXPO 2013

D-Tools, Inc., the worldwide leader in system integration software, today announced that the Company will unveil a new IOS-based iPad® companion app for its flagship product, SIX 2013. Available in Q4 for partners worldwide, this new release adds mobile quoting capabilities that enable Commercial and Residential AV integrators to generate quotes natively on an iPad then bring them into SIX 2013 for further project design and management. Delivering on D-Tools' commitment to streamline product updates and enhancements by consolidating them into an annual release, this new companion app will immediately extend the highly functional D-Tools workflow to mobile sales and specification teams.  A native IOS application, the D-Tools iPad® app leverages D-Tools' extensive manufacturer product library by enabling integrators to access and integrate product category and package data from their SIX 2013 catalog while working with customers in the field. Integrators can enter client and contact information into the iPad app, then walk prospective customers through available installation scenarios in order to create a quote for approval. Once complete, the resulting quote can then be imported into SIX 2013 for additional design work and synchronization. The iPad app utilizes many of D-Tools' workflow concepts, including the specification of locations and systems, which allows integrators to provide packages or pre-configured systems for inclusion in the quote. Labor and general pricing will be calculated to give the customer an accurate proposal, which can then be signed off for approval on the spot.

Flowton Technologies Looks To Revolutionize Home Automation With Motion Gestures, Needs Cash

The likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become the land where dreams are born (or are crushed), and yet another intrepid group of techies-come-entrepreneurs is looking to raise money via crowdfunding. Flowton Technologies is a group that makes a “natural interface” controller for the home that allows users to control things with voice and gesture, and they need $150,000 to get from prototype to production. With the Flowton Controller, you’ll be able to walk into your house, say “I’m home”, and turn the lights on; control your TV with gestures in the air; adjust the thermostat without leaving the couch or using any other device; and more. It’s akin to the Leap Motion controller but for home automation. There are three parts to the system: the Flowton Controller, the Flowton IR blaster, and the Flowton Smart Plug.  The controller includes a 1.7GHz ARM processor, 2GB of RAM, an RGB camera, two microphones, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a depth camera port (for something like a Kinect). This device lets you control a device by waving your hand in a plane, but also moving it back and forth in 3D.   Full Article:

Flowton Technologies Looks To Revolutionize Home Automation With Motion Gestures, Needs Cash

he likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become the land where dreams are born (or are crushed), and yet another intrepid group of techies-come-entrepreneurs is looking to raise money via crowdfunding. Flowton Technologies is a group that makes a “natural interface” controller for the home that allows users to control things with voice and gesture, and they need $150,000 to get from prototype to production. With the Flowton Controller, you’ll be able to walk into your house, say “I’m home”, and turn the lights on; control your TV with gestures in the air; adjust the thermostat without leaving the couch or using any other device; and more. It’s akin to the Leap Motion controller but for home automation.   There are three parts to the system: the Flowton Controller, the Flowton IR blaster, and the Flowton Smart Plug.  The controller includes a 1.7GHz ARM processor, 2GB of RAM, an RGB camera, two microphones, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a depth camera port (for something like a Kinect). This device lets you control a device by waving your hand in a plane, but also moving it back and forth in 3D.   Full Article:

NPD DisplaySearch Reports Growing Global LCD Digital Signage Market

Global revenues for LCD public displays (i.e., digital signage) shipments rose 22 percent, from $733.6 million in Q1'12 to $896.9 million in Q1'13, according to the latest NPD DisplaySearch"Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report." Unit shipments grew 5 percent in the same period, from 514,800 to 539,000. The majority of the revenue increase can be traced to the shift in shipments of larger-sized, higher-priced displays and increased shipments of displays with super narrow bezels, which are mainly used as a component in the build-out of video walls and other digital signage applications. "We are starting to see the improved financial results of the planned shift in production to larger-sized panels," said Todd Fender, senior analyst of professional and commercial displays with Santa Clara, Calif.-based NPD DisplaySearch. "Premium models increasingly will be shipped with smaller bezels, higher brightness and higher resolutions — which all lead to higher average selling prices."

Amazon Launches A Home Automation Store Featuring Smart Locks, Sensors, Thermostats & More

Amid a bevy of Amazon-related announcements surrounding Kindle – some intentional (the arrival of Kindle MatchBook), some not (news of an updated Kindle Paperwhite leaked a bit early) – Amazon has also quietly launched a new storefront focused on Home Automation products, including things like programmable thermostats, smart locks, sensors, video monitors, and more. The new website aims to centralize the now numerous options involving smart home hardware and services under one roof, organizing products into broad, high-level categories, like “Energy Management,” “Entertainment,” and “Monitoring,” which you can then further drill down into via sub-categories like “Lightbulbs” or “security cameras,” “televisions” or “alarms,” and so on. Additionally, Amazon’s Home Automation store is set up to be newbie-friendly with introductory guides to a variety of product categories like door locks, thermostats, and controllers, for example. There’s even a special section of the storefront that breaks out the “new and innovative” products from companies like Kwikset, Wimoto, SmartThings, and others.

The CEDIA EXPO 2013 Is Coming

CEDIA EXPO is the premier event for the custom residential market. You will experience solid technologies and interactive displays along with qualified manufacturer personnel. Get answers, not brochures.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

GreenPeak’s GP565 – ZigBee for smart Remote Controls

GreenPeak's GP565 - ZigBee for smart Remote Controls

The GP565 Smart Home RF chip for remote controls supports voice control, motion sensing and the new ZRC 2.0 protocol. The GP565 is optimized for advanced & low cost ZigBee RF4CE remote controls. • 120k or 248k Flash (8k or 16k RAM) memory • 40-pin footprint to support a keyboard scanner interface or other IO interfaces required for remote controls. • Reduced current consumption and improved receiver sensitivity and output power • Patented Antenna Diversity technology enables superior range and WiFi/Bluetooth interference rejection