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System Integration for the Connected Home

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LeEco-Vizio Merger No More!

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Internet and CE company LeEco announces its acquisition of TV maker Vizio is no more due to "regulatory headwinds," with rumours suggesting issues with Chinese regulatory authorities.

LeEcoHowever, the two companies say they have achieved a new agreement-- one described by LeEco as a "win for both companies," since it involves LeEco bringing Vizio products to China via its content and distribution channels, while Vizio connected appliances get the Le app.

Announced back in August 2016, the $2 billion acquisition of Vizio would have created a combined entity worth $4 billion. Such ambitions were not to be though, since 2016 saw LeEco facing a series of financial woes. Recent examples include failure to pay US employees and lawsuits from multiple vendors accusing the Chinese company of not paying for goods and/or services. This despite an investment worth $2.2 billion from multiple Chinese backers.

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CEDIA Awards Go to Hogwarts in 2017

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CEDIA has a magical location for its 2017 Awards-- the magic academy of Hogwarts, or at least the version found at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter tourHeld on 29 September, the Awards will include exclusive access around the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London through a private after-hours tour of the sets of famous movies. Following the tour is a drinks reception at the Hogwarts Great Hall, before the main ceremony on Platform 9 3/4 complete with 3 course meal.

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Sound United Buys D+M Group

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The D+M Group, owner of Denon, HEOS and Marantz, gets a new owner in the shape of Sound United, the parent company of US hi-fi brands Polk and Definitive Technology.

Sound UnitedFinancial details of the deal are not available, but it extends a previous distribution partnership formed by the two companies back in 2014. Sound United is the largest loudspeaker supplier in N. America, but is still to make inroads in Europe. Post-acquisition the consolidated company will retain the Sound United name, with D+M Group CEO Jim Caudill remaining on board as advisor.

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Control4 Buys Triad Speakers

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Control4 buys more audio capabilities with Triad Speakers, the maker of advanced audio technology with customisable speaker solutions. The price? Approximately €9.07 million.

Triad speaker“Entertainment is integral to the connected home and our Control4 dealers are designing end-to-end experiences for family room entertainment, home theatres, and indoor and outdoor multi-room music for their customers.” Control4 CEO Martin Plaehn says. “The acquisition of Triad brings proven premium-acoustics experience and innovation to our company, enabling us to immediately deepen our entertainment offering and develop new integrated-audio experiences for the future.”

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Disney Shows Room-Scale Wireless Power

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Scientists at Disney Research present what one can describe as room-scale wireless power delivery-- a prototype living room housing 10 objects, all powered without need for cables.

Disney wireless energyDubbed "Quasistatic Cavity Resonance for Ubiquitous Wireless Power Transfer," the technology is free roaming, meaning one can move around the room and their smartphone will immediately start charging, with no need to be close to a wireless charging pad. It is also very efficient (around 40-95%, depending on the receiver's position in the room) and can deliver 1900W of power before the specific absorption rate (SAR) becomes dangerous for human beings.

However, like all things sounding too good to be true, the technology comes with a caveat-- it requires a purpose-built room, with walls, ceilings and floor built out of aluminium panels. A long copper pole runs in the middle of the room, and half-way down the pipe is a small section housing a ring of 15 capacitors. Outside the room are a signal generator and a power amplifier linked to the capacitors, which together with the copper pipe produce quasistatic cavity resonance (QSCR), the process behind the wireless power transfer technology.

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