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System Integration for the Connected Home

Home Theater

Amazon Reveals STB, Calls it Fire TV

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So Amazon was truly working on a console-slash-STB after all-- the online retailer turned hardware maker reveals a spearhead in the invasion of the world's living rooms with the Fire TV.

Kindle Fire TVRumours on the Amazon STB have been going on since April 2013, with Bloomberg first reporting of a Roku/Boxee-style device in development at the company's Lab126 hardware division.

The finished products looks like a small matte black box adorned with a simple Amazon logo. It runs on the latest version of Amazon's forked Android build (aka "Mojito") and carries a quad-core processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB RAM and dual-band dual-antenna wifi. Pushing output are HDMI and optical audio ports.

Media content comes via Amazon's own Instant Video and Prime services, as well as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora and iHeartRadio, among others. An interesting-sounding "ASAP" feature predicts the shows users are most likely to watch, pre-caching them for instant viewing.

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ATM Shows Dual Cool

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Dual-coolActive Thermal Management (ATM) offers a cooling solution for both rack installations and closets with shelf-mounted systems-- Dual-cool, a two-mode cooling system effective for both applications.

The system moves heated air to either attics or adjacent areas via 1.5m of flexible tubing.

When used in a rack installation the Dual-cool mounts on rack rear rails, taking no front rack space. It is 2U high and 18cm deep, and mounts easily behind a shallow component near the top of the rack.

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Denon, Marantz Get Crestron Connected

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Denon and Marantz join the Crestron Connected family, with select AV receivers from the two brands getting native integration with Crestron automation products following a Crestron-D+M partnership agreement.

Denon MarantzCrestron Connected is an out-of-the-box receiver integration solution. It uses standard ethernet cable and eliminates the need for separate software modules. Installers can easily customise AVR interfaces for source switching, volume control and internal control via AVR system setup menu.

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Onkyo Receivers Get 4K/60Hz Support

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Onkyo upgrades its AV receiver lineup with 4K/60Hz-specified HDMI and gapless high-resolution network audio support as it launches the 5.2-channel TX-NR535 and the 7.2-channel TX-NR636.

Onkyo AVRBoth AVRs include built-in wifi and Bluetooth for easier connectivity to audio sources, while the TX-NR636 is HDCP 2.2 compatible for future-proof 4K source playback.

Onkyo says the AVRs carry custom high-current architecture, with a "massive" transformer, extra-large capcitors and discrete low-distortion amplifiers to push DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD audio through multiple channels. The TX-NR636 adds 3-stage inverted Darlington circuitry on the front and centre channels.

Proprietary AccuEQ calibration handles surround sound optimisation as per individual room acoustics and speaker setups.

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WSJ: Amazon STB to Ship in April

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Amazon STBRumours on the supposed Amazon STB continues to trickle in-- "people familiar with the company's plans" tell the Wall Street Journal the long-awaited device ships on "early" April 2014 to retailers such as Best Buy and Staples.

According to the WSJ the STB carries a "forked" Android version allowing it to run not only Amazon streaming services but also the likes of Netflix, Hulu and even games.

TechCrunch also joins the Amazon STB rumour game, saying the device features a Chromecast-style dongle/stick design and OnLive-style PC game streaming capability. Reportedly "top-tier games" are to be streamed at 30fps-- a lofty goal, but one has to keep in mind Amazon is (probably) equipped to power such intensive cloud-based offerings.

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Kaleidescape Names Cheena Srinivasan as CEO

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Cheena Srinivasan

Kaleidescape picks Cheena Srinivasan as its new CEO.

Srinivasan is a founder of Kaleidescape and previously served as the company’s COO and EVP. With over 25 years of experience, Srinivasan has been essential in establishing Kaleidescape as it pioneered the development of movie servers.

Srinivasan steps into the role of CEO at a pivotal time for the industry, says Kaleidescape. The company says while movie purchasing behaviour is shifting away from physical disc ownership toward digital models, consumers continue to demand physical formats--and a large majority haven’t yet made the transition from disc to digital. This, says Kaleidscape, creates the need for a product that caters to both forms of content.

Kaleidescape looks to provide a compelling “digital bridge” that allows consumers to enjoy their physical collections as well as new digital content. As CEO, the company says Srinivasan will focus his efforts on establishing Kaleidescape as the best platform for electronic sell-through by offering the convenience of streaming, the quality of Blu-ray, and a catalogue of titles that is second to none.

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Crestron Ships HD-XSPA Receiver

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Crestron starts shipping the HD-XSPA, an A/V receiver the company describes as packing a surround sound processor, 7.1 channel amplifier and DigitalMedia (DM) room in one box, making ideal for integrated whole-house systems.

Crestron receiver It connects directly to DM switches thus eliminating the need for a separate DigitalMedia receiver, and features control via RS-232, IR, ethernet and relay for programmable control of local devices.

CEC pass-through allows additional control of other devices via HDMI.

4K/Ultra HD source and display support comes via 4 HDMI inputs, DM input and HDMI output. Digital surround format support includes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

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