Jump to content

- - - - -

Review: RedRadio RelayTouch-UTMA Touchscreen Monitor

Dwayne Domi of RedRadio (now TouchTronix) demoed his new 12.1 inch LCD touch monitor product called RelayTouch-UTMA which is scheduled to debut on RedRadios web site soon.

This unit consists of a nice 12.1 inch TFT touch screen display, but its interface is via UTMA technology from NComputing rather than requiring a stand alone unit (i.e. separate PC to operate) or a traditional imbedded thin client unit.

UTMA stands for Ultra Thin Multi Access and is the terminology describing NComputings products because they are Ultra Thin compared to traditional thin client terminals and do not require a CPU, hard-drive, or CD-ROM, yet executes as if it is an ordinary Windows PC (provides an instance of the operating system from a host computer).

Dwayne worked with NComputing to imbed an interface with their hardware/firmware so it can be used with his touch screen display! The PC board circuitry easily mounts on the back of the touch screen display. Since there are no moving parts or CPU, heat build up inside a wall or case is not an issue.

The result is a UTMA Touch Screen unit that can run an instance of an operating system from another computer on a network AND you only need one Cat5e network connection and power (12 volts DC, wall wart provided if you want to obtain it from a typical AC outlet). No more worrying about having a dedicated PC just to run your touch screen or having to extend a video and serial or USB output to a remote touch screen display!

This system can run its own instance of an application from the host computer; so one could easily run any home automation or home theater software on this touch screen as well as on the server itself (at the same time).

Also, the system requires zero maintenance. When it boots up it will check for a newer version of firmware and self install if needed.

NComputings software has to be installed on the desired host computer. This software offers a variety of security settings for multiple users. It will also show details of remote sessions in progress. Up to ten remote sessions can exist from one host computer running Windows XP. Up to 30 sessions can be run from a host running Windows 2003 server. For details on this technology go to NComputing's site.  Also, a 100 MB switch (not hub) is recommended as a transport medium for the systems networking scheme.

The touch monitor supports 16 bit color scheme (65,534 colors).

This unit was demoed with a host computer running Windows XP Home Edition. A 100MB switch was used to connect the RelayTouch-UTMA display to the host computer.

The host was powered up, then the RelayTouch-UTMA. A login was needed on the RelayTouch-UTMA unit, and then it loaded its instance of the operating system from the host computer.

Dwayne demoed some MainLobby scenes (since it was already loaded on the host computer) on the touch screen and also loaded the NComputing's utility software on the host computer so we could monitor this session (from the host computer).

NComputing's Host Software Screen Shot:

Since we had MainLobby running on the host and client I wanted to drive the RelayTouch-UTMA with my MainLobby scenes (since this demo was at my residence). Dwayne and I connected the 100MB switch to my home network and after some IP setting and MainLobby configuration and scene downloads (from one of my computers) we had access to all of my MainLobby scenes from the RelayTouch-UTMA.

I must say there is nothing like a quality 12 inch touch screen for controlling your home automation! I had a lot of fun just trying my same old MainLobby scenes that now took on a whole new interface experience!

The unit also has a keyboard and mouse input (making for an excellent application for a gyro or other remote keyboard/mouse peripherals). It also has a 16-bit stereo speaker output port so line level audio can be provided for a local amplified speaker system.

The touch was precise and had an excellent press feel. All of the scenes were run in 1024 x 768 resolution and looked great. I was so impressed that I asked my wife to drive it around to get her opinion. Needless to say the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) meter pegged to excellent!

Overall I was very impressed with the quality of this product!  RedRadio should have availability shortly (check their website).  Pricing is estimated under $1200.

So if you are in the market for a 12 inch touch screen display WITH the following conditions you should definitely look into this RedRadio RelayTouch-UTMA product.
  • Want to install a touch screen system inside a wall/closet opening/etc without having to worry about heat build up inside the unit.
  • Require ZERO maintenance once installed
  • Require only a network cable and power for the system.
  • Do not want to worry about compatibility with host applications
  • Do not want to worry about extending video and USB or serial connections
  • Do not want a dedicated PC just for running a touch screen display
  • Do not want to worry about noise (system is totally silent)
  • Do not want a touch screen with an imbedded computer (again, that maintenance thing)
  • Do not want to hassle with an operating system
  • Do not want a system that will outgrow new technologies as they become available
  • Want an easily configured remote system

The RelayTouch-UTMA touch monitor is product that will bring your home automation or home theater interface to a new enjoyable level! After taking all of the above conditions into consideration it is also an affordable enjoyment as well and one that will not be a maintenance nightmare for years to come.

RedRadio's RelayTouch-UTMA Touch Monitor:

Side View of  RelayTouch-UTMA Inside of its Mounting Case:

Front (Inside) View of  RelayTouch-UTMA Inside of its Mounting Case:

Forum Thread