Lutron used CEDIA 2011 to announce the company’s ground-breaking wireless, battery-powered, insulating honeycomb cellular shades that could be remotely controlled through handheld remotes or when integrated with Lutron RadioRA 2 lighting control systems. This year, Lutron announced additions to the wireless shade lineup, but these shades have wires – guide wires, that is. In most respects identical to the original wireless honeycomb shades, the new cable-guided shades have a thin cable running from top to bottom along the left and right sides of the shade. The cable prevents the shade from swaying, so it’s ideal for use on French doors or windows with heavy airflow. The cable guides also allow the shades to be used to cover skylights or angled windows. (Lutron says the shades will work in situations with angles as shallow as 30 degrees off horizontal.) The new shades will begin shipping in January of 2013. Pricing was not immediately available but was not expected to include a significant premium over the original shade configurations.
But only if you have the world’s largest bookshelf to put it on. Pro Audio Technology isn’t a common household name, partly because the company’s speakers – capable of “producing the bone-jarring explosions or visceral slam found in today’s high quality recordings” – are rather big, designed to usually be built-in or hidden behind acoustically transparent screens or wall panels, and are pretty darn expensive. This speaker was on display, no doubt, to generate plenty of “wow” buzz, which it did even though it was not hooked up. Inside Pro Audio Technology’s booth, however, several of the company’s new, smaller, less-expensive speakers were put together in a multi-channel system that was amazingly clean and articulate at regular, keep-my-hearing-intact listening levels. They did let the system out of its cage, though, for a brief moment at the end of the demonstration; and it simply took everyone’s breath away with it’s dynamic and powerful sonic output.
For folks who don’t want to put extra holes in their walls when adding a soundbar to a flat-panel TV, SnapAV offers a $79.95 universal bracket that attaches the soundbar directly to the HDTV. Depending on the height of the table stand that comes with your TV, you may be able to use the same bracket to mount your soundbar to the TV even if you don’t plan on wall mounting the TV. Fake fireplace is optional.
The new WATTBOX line of rack-mount and standalone power surge/conditioners and power strips from SnapAV got the VIP treatment in the SnapAV booth at CEDIA. WATTBOX models utilize compact chasses with greater spacing between individual outlets, and the rack-mount models can even be angled and recessed when installed in a component rack. Optional 1 RU front-mounted faceplate units are connected to the outlet bank by an RJ45 cable along with a separate power cable. The front faceplate displays voltage and current along with dual conveniently located charging ports. SnapAV says the new metal chassis products start at $59.95 (up to $489.95 MSRP). The optional display sells for around $120.
Although it’s not something that’s specifically used for home theater, mount-, bracket-, component rack-, and furniture-maker OmniMount says anyone who works in front of a desk for any length of time longer than about 15 minutes will stand a chance of staying at least a bit more fit than they would otherwise using the company’s awesome adjustable-height workstations. The $699.95 OmniMount DESK65 is a freestanding lift/lower desk (available in Birch or Cherry) that has approximately 20 inches of instant, tool-free height adjustment. The adjustable height feature is designed to allow the user to sit or stand at any time while slaving away in front of a computer screen – or, in the configuration pictured above, in front of two computer screens. The $399.95 WORK20 is an add-on desk mount that supports two monitors (or a laptop and monitor side-by-side).
Almost as popular as in-ear headphones were various mounts for tablets – well, specifically, iPads. Sanus was demonstrating a special under-cabinet tablet mount, while OmniMount showed off a prototype wall mount device that held the iPad snug against the wall using powerful magnets. iPort’s cable-free mounting and charging system called LaunchPort requires a special $149 AP.3 Sleeve for your iPad – but the benefit is that you can magnetically attach your iPad to either iPort’s BaseStation or WallStation and simultaneously charge the device without needing to plug in a sync/charge cable. The $199 BaseStation is an angled block which is designed to sit on a desk or recliner’s arm rest. The $199 WallStation is a relatively small and unobtrusive in-wall installed device that snugly holds the iPad against the wall – and, as does the BaseStation, inductively charges the iPad when on the wall.
Pro Control says that the company is a new remote control brand that was created by super-custom remote control maker Remote Technologies Inc (RTI) to bring a line of more affordable – yet still customizable – remote control solutions to the market. Shown here at CEDIA were the Pro24.r 2.4-inch color touchscreen remote control that. The $250 MSRP remote can be used as a standalone remote or as a more elaborate remote control system when used in conjunction with the $250 MSRP ProLink.r central processor that offers one-way control capabilities when used with the Pro24.r, as well as with PCs, in addition to iOS and Android devices running the company’s ProPanel app..
The $450 Pro24.z also sports a 2.4-inch color touchscreen but comes with its own charging cradle and provides control plus two-way feedback when used with the $450 ProLink.z central processor. (Like the Pro24.r, the Pro24.z can be used as a standalone remote, as well.) Wizard-based programming software is said to make it simple and straightforward to program either system, which means that labor costs should be lower than the fees for charging other, more extensive remote control systems.
Coming later this year is the iPro.8 “companion controller” for use with systems based on either of the two central processors but which are normally controlled by smartphone or tablet apps. The iPro.8 allows users in the room who don’t have ready access to a smartphone/tablet to still be able to operate the system. The iPro.8 will have an MSRP of $149.
The idea for Wireless Audio Solutions Products (WASP) lineup of wireless speaker brackets and wallplates grew out of a custom integrators frustration with the lack of specific wireless audio distribution applications for installations involving more than setting a pair of monitor speakers and a wireless amp on a bookshelf. Several years of research and design have resulted in WASP’s LINK-Mount, LINK-Plate, and LINK-InWall products, each of which feature the use of tri-band wireless technology (2.4, 5.2, and 5.8 GHZ), 50-watt mono-block Class D amplifiers, wireless subwoofer outputs, retro-fit friendly designs, and uncompressed wireless audio transmission. The amplifiers inside the LINK devices use low-voltage power from external plug-in transformers (aka, wallwarts) that allow the mounts/plates to be installed without requiring an electrician. The WASP UWT-201x is a universal wireless transmitter for use with WASPs LINK plates and mounts, and it has selectable line- or speaker-level inputs, a subwoofer input with a choice of discrete or L/R summed wireless subwoofer output, as well as a 3.5mm front auxiliary input jack that automatically overrides the back panel input when you want to use a smartphone or tablet as a temporary local music source. WASP’s wireless audio distribution devices will only be available through authorized custom integrators. (In other words, don’t look for these on Amazon or at Best Buy.) Cool, cool stuff. Can’t wait to try it out and see how well it works in a real install. No pricing was available at CEDIA, though.
Truth be told, the only reason most AV journalists come to shows and conventions is for the free swag. Tough times in the economy and shrinking promotional budgets have done some serious damage to the quality and amount of swag a savvy journalist can accrue over the course of three or four days of press conferences and meetings. While not the best swag ever, Universal Remote Control’s Mitch Klein scored big points with surprise offerings like these which he presented to a select group of bacon-enthusiast journalists. No word on whether URC will ever begin manufacturing a remote control that looks like a large slice of crispy, delicious bacon – even though many of us have begged them to do it.