URC to Offer Free Training, Classes
February 13, 2007

Got some spare time at the Electronic House Expo next month? Stop by Universal Remote Control for classes that will help you better program its remotes. The company promises the classes will “help installation professionals save time and costs while impressing clients with their ability to custom program complex A/V systems and Home Theaters.” The 90-minute classes will be held March 7–9 in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with EH Expo. Pre-registration isn’t available but the classes are free to professional designers, programmers and installers. Classes will include: • Programming the MSC-400 Master System Controller — installers will learn how to simplify instructions, prevent return

Cheat Sheet: Z-Wave
February 1, 2007

Home control technologies have, for the most part, been restricted to custom installed, high-end systems. Often those systems use wired and proprietary protocols for sending signals around a house. Z-Wave is a recent wireless networking protocol that has been adopted by many manufacturers for control of home entertainment products, lighting and thermostats that can be installed and set up by the home owner at reasonable prices. Developed and licensed by Zensys, the technology uses a narrow bandwidth for sending control commands and small packets of data, but it doesn’t have enough bandwidth for audio or video signals. Z-Wave is a two-way system operating on

HTSA Meets in St. Louis
July 26, 2006

The Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA) buying group conducted its fifth annual Custom Manager’s Meeting in St. Louis over the weekend. The three-day event drew 57 heads of custom departments from the group’s membership. Presentations were delivered by Joe Zanola (“Hiring methods to capture great employees”), Crestron’s Craig Gulley (“Why and how to get in the lighting business”) and SpeakerCraft’s Dave Donald (“How to hire, motivate, and keep teammates for life”). Attendees participated in roundtable discussions on project management, tracking billable hours, rewarding installers and attracting builders and architects. Members who delivered presentations included Ed Condiracci of Electronic Design Group, who discussed “rip outs,” Chris

DS0306 Kaching
March 1, 2006

Recent numbers from DisplaySearch, now a part of the NPD group, show data on Q4’05 large-area TFT LCD shipments, for 10-inch+ TFT LCD displays. Shipments increased 10 percent Q/Q and 69 percent Y/Y to 65.5M units. For all of 2005, shipments rose 58 percent to 218.5M panels on strong growth in all applications. Total revenues also experienced strong growth of 13 percent Q/Q and 78 percent Y/Y to $14.0B. For the year, revenues rose 25 percent to $44B, a record year for the TFT LCD industry. DisplaySearch expects Q4’05 to be the peak quarter in terms of Y/Y revenue growth in the latest crystal

High Def Inheritor
March 1, 2006

It’s no surprise to any retailer that the hey day of DVD is over. With $30 DVD players selling in aisle five of the grocery store, DVD has fast become a low-margin, commodity product. So it makes sense for retailers to hail the coming of high definition DVD—HD DVD or Blu-ray—as a boost to better margins. But the sale of these players may not be so easy. Incompatible formats, digital copy protection limitations and consumer unawareness all contribute to this category’s status as a hard sell. But with HD DVD now ready to ship, retailers will have to develop a strategy. Dealerscope interviewed some

Beyond X-10 The Future of Home Automation
September 1, 2005

Insteon, Z-Wave and Zigbee make a play for the home control space. By David Dritsas The Microsoft's of the world have been talking a lot about network homes, in which everything can be controlled over a high bandwidth network. While this is OK for PCs and some audio/video devices, it is not yet practical or financially feasible to make lamps and other "dumb" devices IP-addressable. Who needs a network card in an IKEA floor lamp? And yet, mass market consumer interest in controlling devices like lamps, appliances motorize blinds, etc., is genuine—as the robust sales of X-10 products has proven for the past