CES 2005 Exclusive Update


Note: Here is an exclusive update on CES 2005 held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Information provided was per notes taken (very quickly) during interviews with the various representatives. Information was "thrown out" at a tremendous pace, thus trying to interpret notes afterward may provide some information that is incomplete or inaccurate. Please keep in mind that the intent of these updates is to introduce our members to new technology displayed at CES and not to provide a "detailed" review of the products themselves.

Channel Vision & Russound's Booths

Many of us are interested in whole house audio solutions but don't know where to start. How are you going to control it? Where to put the controls? How will you control and select your sources? What wiring is needed? How complicated will it be to use (that all important WAF factor)?

Well I stopped by Channel Vision and Russound's booths to look into their solutions for whole house audio. Being a neophyte on this topic I was a little lost at first and still may have to do some reading to get the "complete picture", but here is an abridged explanation of what they offer. Also remember that the intent of these CES 2005 updates is to introduce technology and product ideas and not necessarily all of their technical details.

Both companies offer a system run off of "A-Bus" which runs primarily off of Cat5 wiring as shown below.

(Click on Picture for Full Sized Image)

(Click on Picture for Full Sized Image)

In a nutshell here is how this system works. You run Cat5 from your closet "home run" location to your keypad areas (usually near your light switch locations as soon as you enter a room). You then run speaker wire from this keypad to your ceiling, or other speaker location area for that "zone". You then purchase a source selector and wire all the keypads to it. You then add your sources to the zone inputs of this selector (such as your stereo, CD Player, etc...).

You can then control all of these sources as well as volume control from any keypad location. You can also have multi-sources to multiple zones as well. The keypads act as amplifiers and can deliver around 30 or so watts to their zone speakers.

Now the really cool part. Each keypad has an IR receiver that can be tied back to the selector to control your sources. So you can have a universal remote in a room, aim it at the keypad, and control your sources (such as select another song on your CD player).

Remember, this solution is for "background" whole house audio. Solutions also exist that may require more powerful sound systems (such as your theater room).

Visit their websites at Channel Vision and Russound for further details.

Also there are software packages that can control some of these controllers as well. For instance there is a hook that Main Lobby provides to control some Russound products (details on that HERE).

Xantech also provides a solution, though it looked like it was not A-Bus, but I was on my way out and just took the snapshot below. It looked pretty cool and I really liked the look of their touchscreen displays.

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More details on their audio solutions can be found HERE.