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European Custom Installer

System Integration for the Connected Home

Home Theater

Aurora HS-66M with 1080p and HDCP compliance

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Aurora Multimedia says its’ HS-66M is the first readily available full-matrix technology with 1080p capability and HDCP compliance on all outputs. Suited for home entertainment applications, as encoded high definition digital video gains traction in the market, the HDMI with HDCP compliance promises to become an attractive choice for digital AV routing and distribution.

With the HS-66M HDMI Matrix Router, high definition audio and video signals from any of up to 6 sources can be sent to as many as 6 displays. While complying with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection), a signal from a single source can be sent simultaneously to several displays.

The switcher's actions can be transparent to the user if controlled by RS-232C or LAN (TCP/IP). Infrared and front panel controls are also available. The HS-66M uses HDMI version 1.3 and supports resolutions up to 1080p and QXGA (2048x1536).

Go Aurora HS-66M

Home Theaters Increasingly Need Broadband

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Consumers want access to PC and broadband content from the home theater, says NPD Group’s Connected Home Theater report.

The study found 17% of consumers are interested in accessing PC content from their home entertainment system (25% for consumers with a home network).

Overall, 19% of consumers want broadband access from their TVs (24% for consumers with a home network).

“[Faster] Internet access, new content sources, and the evolution of the PC as a multimedia repository promise to change the features and functionality of devices in the home entertainment center,” says Ross Rubin, for The NPD Group. “This in turn will lead to new opportunities and challenges for manufacturers, as well as more choices, and possibly greater confusion, for consumers.”

The study found that 44% of consumers are looking to consumer-electronics manufacturers for connected theater products—only 32% to PC companies.

Go NPD on Broadband Home Theatre

Pioneer Brings New High End Blu-ray DVD

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Pioneer’s BDP-LX70A comes to Europe in October with bitstream output for both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio high def audio codecs.

The BDP-LX70A (superseding the BDP-LX70) delivers what Pioneer calls “master quality” audio and video exactly as film-makers intended. That is, at exactly the same speed and using the same 24 frames per second as the film was shot, stored and mastered.

Go Pioneer BDP-LX70A

Vudu Puts the Video Store in a Box

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How about a $400 box that offers access to 5,000 downloadable movies that viewers can either rent or buy?

Vudu’s new little black box (about 7 by 9 by 2 inches) connects to TV and to internet to grant a choice of 5,000 movies to begin playing instantaneously. There’s no computer needed, no waiting to do and no monthly fee to pay.

How can one hard drive hold 5,000 movies? It actually holds only the first 30 seconds of each movie — typically the movie studio logos. While you watch that, the rest of the movie quietly begins to download so you need a fast internet connection,

With a 250GB drive that could hold 100 full-length movies, Vudu will offer movies in true high definition after it finishes negotiation with movie studios. (via HDMI connector only — not its component, S-video or composite jacks.) If you have an HDTV, the box will convert the picture into pseudo-high def.

You pay by the movie, not by the month. Or you can buy the movie (it stays on your Vudu drive forever.)

The remote has only four buttons, plus a clickable scroll wheel like a computer mouse has. The wheel lets you zoom through lists of movies and categories. During playback, the wheel is a rewind/fast-forward shuttle control. It lets you jump almost instantly to any spot in the movie.

Vudu plans to expand the movie list to 10,000 but their dependence on the profit-driven Hollywood movie studios means we may not see it in Europe for a while. Hollywood will want regional protection, anti-pirate protection, as well as different royalties via each country. The American company will need real “voodoo” to get through the mess Hollywood creates with DVD movies.

Go Vudu