Essential Install August 2020

Page 1

AUGUST 2020

THE ESSENTIAL MAGAZINE FOR THE AV AND SMART HOME INDUSTRY

Create your Window on the World. Meet Barco Residential.

Experience the difference.

CASE STUDY

THE BEST CAR SIM EVER?

CABLES AND CONNECTIONS FUTURE PROOFING

PROJECTORS AND SCREENS HOME CINEMA HEAVEN


16x16 4K 18Gbps MATR IX SU P P OR TING

NEW C U S T O M P R O

The Custom Pro Matrix has been specifically designed to operate in challenging AV environments. Its robust housing and interlocking board configuration make both installation and maintenance a seamless experience. Advanced optional features include audio breakout, simultaneous HDBaseT™ / HDMI outputs, RS-232 pass through, and a web browser interface module for enhanced control and configuration.

PRO16HBT100CS

Custom Pro Matrix Hub featuring 16 x HDMI 2.0 inputs, 16 x HDBaseT™ outputs (4K 60Hz 4:4:4 to 70m, 1080p up to 100m) and 12 x simultaneous HDMI 2.0 outputs. J Supports 4K UHD video up to 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 (18Gbps) over HDBaseT™ using Colour Space Conversion up to 70m at 4K 60Hz 4:4:4, or up to 100m at 1080p J 16 x analogue L/R audio inputs which can be embedded onto corresponding HDMI / HDBaseT™ zone outputs J Audio breakout board with line-level volume control J 3rd Party drivers available for major commercial & residential control brands

Blustream_EI_MAY_2020.indd All Pages


4K HDR up to 40m

PRO88HBT70CS

Custom Pro 8x8 HDBaseT™ CSC Matrix (4K 60Hz 4:4:4 up to 40m) Supports 4K HDR, IP Control, PoH, 2-Way IR, 4 x Simultaneous HDMI outputs , Audio Breakout with volume control J Advanced Colour Space Conversion (CSC) supports HDMI 2.0 18Gbps specification over HDBaseT™ J Supports 4K resolutions including HDR (4K 60Hz 4:4:4) to a distance of 40m

J Smart Scale technology - automatic 4K to 1080p scaling

1080p up to 150m

HEX100CS-KIT

HEX150CS-KIT

100m HDBaseT™ Extender Set Supporting 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 (70m)

HDBaseT™ CSC Extender Set Supporting HDMI 2.0 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 up to 100m (1080p up to 150m)

J Advanced HDBaseT™ technology offering CSC scaling with zero latency J Supports 4K UHD video up to 70m (3840x2160 @60Hz 4:4:4 and @60Hz 4:2:2 including HDR)

J Advanced Colour Space Conversion (CSC) supports HDMI2.0 18Gbps specification including HDR support

M U L T I C A S T

IP200UHD-RX/TX Multicast 4K UHD Video Receiver / Transmitter J Supports up to 4K HDR UHD video sources (3840 x 2160 @30Hz 4:4:4, 4096 x 2160 @24Hz 4:4:4 and 4K @60Hz 4:2:0) J Advanced signal management for independent routing of IR, RS-232, USB/KVM, audio and video

C O N T R A C T O R

4 K

U H D

V I D E O

O V E R

I P

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C44-KIT Contractor 4x4 HDBaseT™ Matrix Kit J Includes 4 x HEX70B-RX HDBaseT™ Receivers

Become a Certified Blustream Installation Partner

Interactive Online Tutorials We have re-designed our regular interactive online tutorials, focused on providing convenient, bite sized insights into the latest Blustream solutions and the day to day challenges we all currently face in our rapidly evolving market. During these unprecedented times, we have increased both the content and frequency of the sessions we are hosting to bring you the most comprehensive range of interactive webinar content available in the UK.

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27/05/2020 17:45


34 51 16

22

CONTENTS 4 FROM THE EDITOR’S CHAIR Can we talk?

7 ESSENTIAL NEWS

High-quality happenings hoedown

16 PULSE CINEMAS Complete control!

20 ONEAV

A new kind of TV!

August 2020 51 CASE STUDY: THE BEST CAR SIMULATOR EVER? Lairds lets loose the petrol head

59 L-ACOUSTICS Live it live at home

62 ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS High-class kitathon

FEATURES

22 ESSENTIAL HABITECH

14 BARCO RESIDENTIAL

24 INSTALL PIONEER: KENNY KIM

18 AUDIOCONTROL

29 ESSENTIAL CEDIA

31 ASSISTED LIVING

Curing bandwidth blocks

SnapAV Vice President of Connected Products AV firm gets the NHS talking

Wellness and biophilia via cinema Invision showcases AudioControl What is Ambient Assisted Living?

YOUR DISTRIBUTOR F www.avoke.co.uk | av@avoke.co.uk


24 42 36 34 SMART THINKING

Manager at Optoma

Smart Thinking meets SmartRent

CABLES AND CONNECTION FOCUS 36 THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY CRIMP CONNECTIONS Cablecraft explains

38 CUTTING THROUGH THE CONFUSION

Insight from Kevin Cray, Technical Product Development Director CYP Europe

47 18

PROJECTORS AND SCREEN FOCUS 42 THE BIG SCREEN

James Drummie, Product Manager at specialist distributor AWE, answers some key questions

47 GO BIG AND GO HOME

Q&A with Carina Popescu, Marketing Communications

R FOR Smart Home www.avoke.co.uk | av@avoke.co.uk


AUGUST 2020

THE ESSENTIAL MAGAZINE FOR THE AV AND SMART HOME INDUSTRY

pages 22-23

Create your Window on the World. Meet Barco Residential.

Experience the difference.

CASE STUDY

THE BEST CAR SIM EVER?

AUGUST

CAN WE TALK?

So summer is here and it’s been of course a pretty odd and difficult few months, so if there is time in your schedule, EI hopes you are able to enjoy some of the hopefully good weather in the garden, on holiday, up in the hills, by the sea or even just on your lunch break. As EI writes this we are just getting ready for the second in our EI Live! Tech Talk series which so far (OK we only have one in the can) has gone down very well. Over 100 industry professionals signed up for the first edition where the subject tackled was Smart Cities, with some really insightful and useful observations coming from our panel of industry figures and the special guest for that session, Phil Lamb, Senior Vice President, SmartRent, Inc UK. For our second subject the team decided on the title ‘The Tomorrow’s World of the CI Industry’ and were delighted to secure the input of Charlie Kindel, Chief Product and Technology Officer at SnapAV, former Senior VP of Products and Services at Control4 and one of the key players in developing the Alexa Smart Home platform. So unsurprisingly, this session attempted to take a look into the future, things that might be just about to happen and things that although a way off, will still be significant for the industry. The success of the first session was underlined by SnapAV issuing its own press release to announce Charlie’s involvement in the second. The company quoted our moderator and presenter for EI Live! Tech Talks, Davy Currie, “Charlie is the perfect tech visionary to cast a far ranging look at both the past of the CI industry as well as its future in all of its rich and varied forms. As the person most responsible for the design and development of more than 4,700 products across 20 distinct product categories, Charlie is uniquely qualified to

04 AUGUST 2020

present and elaborate on his vision of the industry’s future.” Charlie added, “I am honoured to participate in this groundbreaking series. The first edition provided a compelling look at the future of Smart Cities and it is my hope that attendees of the second session will come away from it with the same degree of enthusiasm that I have for the future of the CI industry. More than ever, particularly during this time of COVID, we are seeing and experiencing how AV and IT technologies are coming together in new and exciting ways to help humanity connect, communicate and collaborate as never before. “The pandemic is challenging all of us to re-imagine the role played by integrated AV and IT technologies in every part of our lives. I look forward to exploring the implications of this trend for all of us who serve in this industry.” Davy is the Managing Director of Infracore Home Technology Consultancy, Founder of Infracore Group (a new startup accelerator for the AV & Integrated Systems sector) and sits on a board as Non-Executive Director with two other home technology companies. Davy’s knowledge of the industry makes him an ideal presenter and moderator for the series. Additional panellists for this outing included Will Hopkins CEO of the Intrinsic group and Chris Turner, Founder of Faradite, the smart home accessories/ sensor manufacturer. There are 10 more EI Live! Tech Talks already planned, so if you want to get involved or have comments or suggestions for subjects, just get in touch. Daniel J Sait Editor

CABLES AND CONNECTIONS FUTURE PROOFING

PROJECTORS AND SCREENS HOME CINEMA HEAVEN

GETTING IN TOUCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Daniel Sait, dan@allthingsmedialtd.com

SALES DIRECTOR

Ian Kitchener, ian@allthingsmedialtd.com

GROUP AD MANAGER

Claire Talty, claire@allthingsmedialtd.com

PUBLISHER

David Kitchener, david@allthingsmedialtd.com

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Mark Weller, mark@allthingsmedialtd.com

ACCOUNTS

susan@allthingsmedialtd.com

BUSINESS SUPPORT ADMINISTRATOR carol@allthingsmedialtd.com

Essential Install magazine, Suite 14, 6-8 Revenge Road, Lordswood, Chatham, Kent ME5 8UD T: +44 (0)1634 673163 F: +44 (0)1634 673173 www.essentialinstall.com

SOCIALS /INSTALL_MAG /ESSENTIALINSTALL Whilst we make every effort that everything printed in Essential Install magazine is factually correct, we cannot be held responsible if factual errors occur. All articles are copyright and remain the property of Essential Install magazine.



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NEWS

NEWS Z-WAVE ALLIANCE RELEASES 2020 STATE OF THE ECOSYSTEM REPORT The Z-Wave Alliance has announced the release of its second-annual Z-Wave State of the Ecosystem Report. The newly available report examines smart home and connected technology – from both within and outside of the home – and explores the smart home landscape as it exists today along with current and future trends and new opportunities, with an emphasis on the role Z-Wave technology plays in the advancement of the industry. With the number of connected IoT devices predicted to surpass 40 billion by 2025, including smart home safety sensors (i.e. water and motion) and smart security devices (i.e. door locks and smoke detectors) and smart home energy equipment (i.e. smart thermostats and smart lighting), it’s not surprising that Z-Wave continues to see growth in these categories. Water, all-in-one sensors, and smart doorbells all grew by greater than 500% from 2019 to 2020. “There is no shortage of possibilities for the internet of things,” said Mitch Klein, Executive Director, Z-Wave Alliance. “Smart Home has changed our way of life. In 2005, there were less than 10 Z-Wave devices on the market, and today there are over 3,300 certified products worldwide across an Alliance of hundreds of global member companies. As we look ahead, we see tremendous opportunity for Z-Wave to continue to advance the way we live.”

The report is divided into sections which collectively provide data, figures and proof points impressing upon Z-Wave technology as the leading low-energy mesh network protocol for smart home devices. Contained within the report, readers will find research from analysts examining relevant industry verticals including MDU, insurance, aging-in-place, healthcare and real estate. Additionally, the report is brimming with thoughtleadership contributions regarding open standards, interoperability, artificial intelligence and contextual awareness, and features a section where technology experts and industry press provide their insights into the future of the smart home through the rest of 2020 and beyond. To access the full Z-Wave 2020 State of the Ecosystem Report, visit the Z-Wave Alliance home page. Z-Wave Alliance wavealliance.org

CEDIA ANNOUNCES NEW LONDON TECH SUMMIT DATE CEDIA has set a new date for the London CEDIA Tech Summit, which will now take place on November 5, 2020 at The Business Design Centre in Islington. CEDIA and The Business Design Centre (BDC) are working together to ensure all measures are being taken to ensure the safety of attendees, sponsors and staff. The CEDIA London Tech Summit is free for integrators to attend and will include informative seminars on the latest and best technology that is shaping the future of home technology integration. More than 30 top manufacturers will be on hand to display and showcase products in a one-on-one fashion. The Tech Summit provides unmatched networking opportunities to connect with industry peers and build high-value business relationships. Initially scheduled for March 31, 2020, CEDIA shifted the event in response to concerns about the global COVID-19 pandemic. Through careful monitoring of the situation and strict adherence to travel and health recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and regional and local government health agencies, CEDIA and the BDC will take all possible precautions during the time of the Tech Summit.

The BDC has created a comprehensive guide and video of safety guidance and the steps that will be taken during events to ensure safety of all in attendance. CEDIA is also moving forward with the other two planned Tech Summits for 2020 and is working with these venues to ensure the events will be safe and secure for all attendees. The dates are as follows: • Leeds: Leeds United FC – October 15 • Edinburgh: GTG Training Centre – November 17 Additional information and registration links can be found on the CEDIA website. CEDIA cedia.net

New dates for your diary

AUGUST 2020 07


Altitude Altitude3232

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NEWS

HOUZZ SURVEY REVEALS GEN XERS ARE DRIVING HOME RENOVATIONS Houzz has released the results of its annual Houzz & Home Report, the largest survey published of residential renovation activity, with more than 7,500 UK respondents. The report found that, on average, preparing for a renovation took homeowners as long as it did to actually renovate. Gen Xers (ages 40-54) accounted for two in five renovating homeowners in 2019 (42%), according to the survey. Baby Boomers (ages 55-74) and Millennials (ages 25-39) follow in renovation activity with 37% and 19% of home renovators, respectively. Indoor light fixtures were the most popular technology purchase during home renovations (56%). Other technology purchased during renovations includes home assistants, alarms or detectors and thermostats (34, 32 and 31%, respectively). Outdoor technology purchases were led by lighting and security cameras (33 and 17%, respectively). More than half of homeowners reported a renovating project in 2019 (51%), tackling nearly three interior rooms on average. When the study was fielded in early 2020, planned activity for the year remained consistent with the previous year; however, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on planned renovation activity remains to be seen. Median spend declined to £11,000 in 2019 from £18,000 in 2018, consistent with a reduction in average project scope. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers offset some of this decline with the highest median renovation spend in 2019 at £12,000 each. Millennials followed, with a median spend of £10,000. Kitchens commanded the highest median spend at £10,000, similar to previous years, followed by bathrooms (£4,000). Gen Xers were more likely to pursue a project because they’ve wanted to do it all along and finally have the financial means than because they wanted to customise a newly purchased home (41% versus 26%, respectively). Home purchases more commonly motivated Millennials (50%). The Houzz & Home survey was fielded prior to the declaration of the coronavirus pandemic, between February-March 2020. At that time almost half of homeowners on Houzz reportedly planned to continue or start renovations this year (46%) and more than half of homeowners planned to make repairs (54%).

Preparing for a renovation in 2019 took homeowners as long as it did to actually renovate, on average. Construction took between 1.9 and 13.4 months on average for different types of project and the planning phase took just as long. Kitchens require lengthy planning, averaging 10 months, compared with bathrooms (7.4 months). Surprisingly, entrance, hall or boot rooms, which typically command a smaller square footage, took seven months on average to plan. Nine in 10 homeowners hired a home professional for renovation projects in 2019 (91%). Baby Boomers were the most likely to hire a pro for their project (93%), followed by Gen Xers and Millennials (92 and 90%, respectively). Electricians and plumbers were the most common renovation professionals hired by renovating homeowners (58 and 51%, respectively). Cash from savings was by far the most common form of home renovation payment (85%). The next most common source of funding was credit cards (20%), which was more commonly used by Millennials than the older generations. While bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens continue to be the most popular rooms to renovate (29, 29 and 27%, respectively), home offices were added or upgraded by nearly one in 10 homeowners in 2019 (9%). Millennials were more likely to pursue a home office project (11%) than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers (9 and 8%, respectively). The survey covered a wide range of renovation projects in 2019, from interior renovations and extensions to home systems, exterior upgrades and outdoor projects. Data gathered includes historical and planned spends, professional involvement, motivations and challenges behind building, renovation and decorating projects, as well as planned activities for 2020. The 2020 study includes more than 7,500 respondents in the UK alone, providing insights into the home improvement activity of the millions of users of the Houzz site and mobile apps. The UK Houzz & Home Survey was sent to registered users of Houzz and fielded February-March 2020. Houzz houzz.co.uk

Generation X has not been idle according to Houzz

AUGUST 2020 09



NEWS

ORIGIN ACOUSTICS BECOMES AMBISONIC SYSTEMS Origin Acoustics has partnered to become the worldwide distributor of all Ambisonic Systems products. Origin Acoustics is now the exclusive source for the Ambisonic Systems Landscape Ribbon Six. Created by speaker designer, Jeff Coombs and his team, this loudspeaker is the next iteration in a long line of audiophile pro-luxury speakers designed by Jeff Coombs. What makes this landscape loudspeaker unique and compelling is its proprietary high-dispersion ribbon tweeter. For a speaker to create the fastest, cleanest reproduction of sound, a ribbon-style driver is practically required. The LSR6’s 2.7in magnetic planar tweeter uses the same exotic materials selected by scientists for space travel. The mathematically precise waveguide improves the beam width to 110°. A neodymium glass fibre driver gives the mid-range clarity, and any of the matching Ambisonic Subwoofers fill out the low-end with concert level depth and loudness. Built to last, Ambisonic Systems has spent the last seven years producing pro audio gear for the world’s

most exquisite venues and theatres. The team have taken the best of the lessons learned in that industry and distilled it into the company’s first residential speaker, the LSR6. The Landscape Ribbon Six is now available from Origin Acoustics along with the full line of Ambisonic Systems’ high-performance loudspeakers. Their combined portfolio includes a vast line of outdoor audio solutions for any situation or location. Origin Acoustics/Ambisonic Systems originacoustics.com ambisonicsystems.com

New acoustical arrangements

RUSS ANDREWS EXPLORES MYSTERY OF HI-FI ISSUES IN THE BUZZ TROLLS Russ Andrews has teamed up with Swedish husband and wife Hi-Fi retailers and authors to bring a little light-hearted relief to the sector in ‘The Buzz Trolls’ – a children’s storybook that explores an alternative possibility as to why buzz and hum commonly blight Hi-Fi systems. Andreas and Emma Svalander run Svalander Audio AB, a retail business that serves the audiophile community in Västerås, a town approximately 70 miles west of Stockholm. Emma is a renowned illustrator, filmmaker and photographer who came up with the original idea for this new children’s book, the third that Emma has illustrated. “Emma came running through the office like a wet dog who just collected a ball from a stream, saying ‘What if we all have been tricked, what if the hum and the buzz in the stereo is not some technical thing, but monsters chewing on the cables? I want to draw this in a book!’ Well, that was it and two days later I had written the basis of the story,” says Andreas. John Armer, Managing Director of Russ Andrews shares his thoughts, “Andreas sent us a copy of his book to read and we were rolling around when we read it. In an industry that can sometimes take itself a little too seriously, it is a refreshing change to see something like this book emerge from the imagination of someone right at the heart of the business we are part of.” ‘The Buzz Trolls’ explores the idea that hum and buzz are caused by monsters in the system. While presenting a lovely story to the children, it also allows the Hi-Fi enthusiast an opportunity to stand back and observe that, from an outsider’s perspective, what we do can be seen as being a little crazy. Andreas sent the original Swedish version, ‘Brumfällan’, to a number of book bloggers and was very

pleasantly surprised by the reaction “Quite a few said that after reading the book their kids had asked ‘Why don’t we listen to music like that?’, or just stated ‘We need to listen to more music’.” Armer adds, “This is a great reaction from the kids – if we can interest even a few members of a younger generation to really listen to music through quality audio systems, then we will have achieved something. And if all they get is a laugh from the book then that’s equally great”. He goes on to say, “On a more serious note, I think the timing of this is perfect. In this period of upheaval and disruption, which is putting great stress on many people’s mental health, music can be a real tonic. And while the Hi-Fi industry can’t cure the world’s ills, it can at least bring a little bit of relief through music”. ‘The Buzz Trolls’ is available now for £10.95 from the Russ Andrews website. Russ Andrews russandrews.com/the-buzz-trolls

It’s not system buzz, it’s monsters!

AUGUST 2020 11


The Gramercy & Nero

the benchmark for luxury theater seating

The Ferrier A triple-motorized incline mechanism allows the user to operate the footrest, backrest and headrest INDEPENDENTLY from one-another. This allows the user to ensure maximum comfort by fine-tuning their preferred seating position.

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NEWS

SOUND DESIGN DISTRIBUTION DISTRIBUTES LUMIN IN THE UK Sound Design Distribution has signed an exclusive UK deal with Lumin, a specialist in the design and manufacture of audiophile network music devices. The new partnership will allow SDD to offer its customers the combined potency of Lumin’s high speed/low noise processing, balanced circuit design, compatibility with Roon, Spotify Connect, Tune-In radio, Tidal, Qobuz and Airplay and support for the latest file formats such as MQA, DSD up to 512 and PCM files up to 384kHz. The current Lumin range includes six network players, three music transports, two dedicated music servers and an all-in-one player/amp system, and new product introductions are planned for September 2020. In 2012, two years after SACD rips became possible with the birth of DSD files, Lumin launched the A1: the world’s first DSD-capable network player. Two further years of continuous research produced a new flagship music player, the S1, together with the T1 player, a more modestly packaged model, followed by the L1, the first server with zeroconfiguration UPnP music library. Lumin introduced its entry D1 player in 2015 and in the same year the M1 system, which integrated player and Class-D amplification within an all-in-one package. In 2016 the first Lumin transport appeared – the U1, followed by the D2 player, complete with faster processor and DSD128 support. Joining them are recent Lumin arrivals, the bijou U1Mini transport and T2 network player. A programme of continuous development offers, where possible, the latest streaming technologies free of charge. In 2017 for instance, every Lumin model gained compatibility with Roon, MQA and Spotify Connect through a free upgrade and today, Lumin’s customers have the option to use Leedh

Processing volume control on all players at no additional cost. Leedh processing, which removes the need for a pre-amplifier in most systems, is a new digital volume adjustment algorithm that modifies the digital signal amplitude exactly and losslessly. It deploys more efficient whole number volume values to maintain signal integrity during subsequent DAC conversion, and its low processing power requirements free up CPU resources. Meanwhile, the Lumin app is designed to deliver an intuitive and visually rich way to browse, select and play music files. Compatible with iOS 8.0 up and Android 4.0 up, it offers operational control over libraries and onboard streaming services such as UPnP AV (OpenHome), Tidal and Tidal Masters MQA, Qobuz and Qobuz Sublime High Res and TuneIn Radio. Lumin players support Spotify, Roon and AirPlay via proprietary apps. Sound Design Distribution/Lumin sounddesigndistribution.co.uk luminmusic.com/index.html

Sound Design Distribution and Lumin have formed a new arrangement for distribution into the UK

AUGUST 2020 13


ESSENTIAL BARCO RESIDENTIAL

A DIGITAL CANVAS FOR WELLNESS AND BIOPHILIA Tim Sinnaeve Managing Director, Barco Residential, takes a look at the power of projection in promoting wellness and bringing nature into the home. As we continue to grapple with Covid-19, there has been an increased interest in wellness and biophilia in our industry. This tends to be mostly focused on topics like human-centric lighting, soundscapes and indoor air quality. While none of these directly fall within the realm of what Barco Residential brings to the industry, we feel a more holistic view of wellness fits very well with our mission of creating architectural digital canvases that enable the most immersive entertainment and cultural experiences for customers to share with loved ones. As such, many of the experiences we already focus on, like home theatre, art and gaming can and should be part of the broader wellness discussion. Our digital canvas can, however, also enable innovative wellness experiences and biophilic design.

Projectors have the power to do more than just entertain

14 AUGUST 2020

WHAT ARE WELLNESS AND BIOPHILIA?

The Global Wellness Institute defines ‘wellness’ as the pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. It extends beyond physical health and most models of wellness include at least six dimensions: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental. They are significantly influenced by the physical, social and cultural environments in which we live. Biophilia was popularised by Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, who defined it as, “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. Especially as the world continues to urbanise and many populations are now spending over 90% of their lives indoors, biophilia is growing increasingly important to our health and wellbeing and Covid-19 has only accelerated that. Biophilic design has been gaining importance as a concept used within the architectural, design and building communities to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment.

THE WELLNESS BENEFITS OF HOME THEATRE

Home theatre has been a core offering of our industry. Yet it is not part of the wellness

discussion and likely never gets discussed with customers within that context, even though recent industry research suggests that wellness is increasingly part of customer discussions. A dedicated home theatre’s primarily focus is on the movie experience, the wellness benefits of which have been the subject of various research initiatives. Beyond the more obvious escape and distraction from the challenges and stress of daily life movies provide, most research focuses on a deeper impact on mental and physical health and wellbeing. Watching movies can give you the opportunity to explore your emotions and provide insight and understanding into the lives of others. As such, it can help you see things from a new perspective. This is sometimes referred to as cinematherapy. Another field of research is neurocinema, which shows a relationship between brain function and cinema and how different areas of the brain – related to vision, hearing, language, feelings, and emotions – are activated while a film is watched. Cinema can even be physically stimulating. A study in the journal Heart found that laughing through a comedy could help dilate your blood vessels and improve blood flow, while also releasing endorphins, ‘happy hormones’ that help you feel more relaxed and well. It stands to reason that watching a movie on a TV or mobile device does not give you the same level of immersion and suspension of disbelief you can experience in a dedicated home theatre, which directly relates to the wellness benefits. And the impact of a cinema can go further. As Sotheby’s real estate expert, Chris Adlam was quoted as saying in a recent Wall Street Journal article on dedicated home theatres, “The most valuable thing you can ever have is time with the people you love. A private cinema is a place that draws people together.” The wellness theme comes back when discussing art, as exemplified in this quote from Charu Gandhi, Director of Elicyon (luxury interior design studio) in global real estate consultant Knight Frank’s 2018 Wealth Report, “Luxury collections are all about private enjoyment. My clients want to be able to enjoy their favourite pieces with their loved ones every day in the comfort of their home.”

/Essentialinstall

@Install_mag  essentialinstall.com


ESSENTIAL BARCO RESIDENTIAL

Is the industry fully promoting the wellness aspects of projects like this recently completed home theatre powered by Barco?

Here as well, research suggests viewing art makes you healthier. The Norwegian NordTrondelag Health Study showed a definite correlation between participating in cultural activities and having increased rates of good health, satisfaction with one’s life and lower rates of anxiety and depression. The exact same health benefits were found in both people who created or consumed the arts. Interestingly, women received more benefits from actively creating art, while men got more benefits from passively viewing art. Art can even cause you to experience the same physical reactions we get when we fall in love. Professor Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at University College London, scanned the brains of volunteers while they viewed 28 works of art and found that when a person views art they find beautiful, it triggers an immediate release of dopamine into the orbito-frontal cortex of the brain, another ‘happy hormone’ related to feelings of love, pleasure and desire. Moving onto video games, here as well several scientific studies are suggesting beneficial impact on physical and psychological wellbeing beyond the more obvious relaxation and escape. They may boost learning, health and social skills, according to a review of research on the positive effects of video game play published by the American Psychological Association, and may strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception. There is also a strong social dimension, with more than 70% of gamers playing with friends and millions of people worldwide participating in massive virtual worlds through multiplayer video games that have become virtual social communities. Like with movies, the level of immersion makes an enormous difference. Video mapping a whole wall making a game ‘lifesize’ can provide an unprecedented level of immersion, that I would argue exceeds what a VR headset

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brings, especially when you share the space with loved ones.

CREATING YOUR ‘WINDOW ON THE WORLD’ Having taken a look at how some of the more traditional experiences we offer can and should have their place in a wellness offering, in the context of wellness and biophilia, I am however most excited about an experience we’ve started calling ‘Window on the World’. Here we essentially use our digital canvas to create something ranging from resembling an actual window to mapping an entire wall. The latter is my favourite as it opens up the experience of having ‘pushed over the wall’ and takes away the notion of ‘screen’, which fundamentally changes how people experience it. Imagine using that to create a life-size ocean, mountain or forest view. This could also be used to bring the client’s own ocean view streamed from their beach home into their city residence, for example.

This offers manifold opportunities for biophilic design, the infusion of direct and indirect natural elements into our environment to fulfill our instinct to be close to nature. Essentially, biophilic design is at the intersection of architecture, nature and neuroscience. Research shows that this holistic approach to design offers many health benefits – from reducing stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates – to promoting creativity, productivity and boosting overall mental and physical wellbeing. From a technology perspective, it’s also an interesting example of how the different technologies we use to create our digital canvas enable different experiences. In this case, with the architectural integration features built into our projectors, projection allows you to ‘push over the wall’ without being left with a big black hole when it’s just a wall. This not only opens a whole new world for our customers, but also for our industry. Barco Residential www.barco.com/residential

Marrying technology with a closeness to nature is a growing cultural trend

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AUGUST 2020 15


ESSENTIAL PULSE CINEMAS

TOTAL HOME CINEMA CONTROL

Pulse Cinemas has been hard at work improving the company’s handling of stock, orders and delivery. A new system is now in place which delivers these increased efficiencies onto dealers. Technical Director, Kapes Patel, brings EI up to speed. One of the effects of the COVID 19 situation was that companies like ours were able to figuratively and literally take stock of many aspects of their business and make improvements where needed. We identified that our requirement was to up our game on our logistics and over the past few months, we have been putting in place a new totally joined up operation, that provides us with a streamlined, viewable system that is delivering big savings in time, efficiency and forward planning. The last few weeks has not just been spent on business logistics improvements; other areas of our organisation have been incredibly busy. We have been manning the warehouse and processing a large number of orders, particularly in the two-channel world where people want to improve their system’s performance with IsoTek. The AVR sector has exceeded our expectations, with orders for Anthem processors, both the MRX and STR lines, massively exceeding last year’s numbers. This not only bodes well for the industry coming back to life, but also means we have been able to fully test our new systems in real time with real orders and we know just how much of an improvement this will give our organisation across the board and how much it’s going to improve the dealer experience when ordering with us.

SO WHAT’S NEW?

The system we used before was called Salesforce, one of the cloud-based sales software packages that, to be frank, for numerous reasons, was never good enough. We

16 AUGUST 2020

now have a single CRM system in place which links to the Sage accounting software we use. Feedback from customers was that they wanted more information on stock availability and more transparency on when orders would arrive. So we focused on ensuring that the new system linked the sales element of dealer interaction with the logistics and accounting of any transaction. The up-shot is we now have a totally linear and transparent CRM process that links every part of ordering, payment and logistics. Part of building this platform has been the introduction of new scanning technology that sees every item that comes into or leaves the warehouse scanned to the new system. This means we know exactly what we have of every item in terms of stock, so finding out if we have what dealers need is now effortless and it means that orders can be created and tracked in a much more efficient way. The handheld devices that scan the stock are not just linked to the CRM system; they give us delivery options when processing an order so we can pick the best choice for each shipment. The system then prints out the necessary delivery labels and communicates directly with the courier. The new system can then deliver text messages which updates dealers that their order has been processed and when it is due to arrive. Dealer/Installers reading this article should note that, to use this function, we will need your mobile number. If we don’t already have it, please contact us so we can obtain the

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ESSENTIAL PULSE CINEMAS

necessary permissions from you under GDPR requirements to use it. Our new system works equally well with a single order being paid for and shipped right away from stock, or a bespoke order that needs to be ordered from various factories, collated by us and shipped out to you; we now have total transparency and control and can deliver a far more efficient result for the dealer. We have only had the system up and running for a short while, but already we can see the efficiencies are going to be huge, not just for us, but most importantly for our dealers. Adding value to what we do is in the company DNA, so we are looking forward to dealers experiencing the efficiencies of the new system; get in touch if you want to know more or if you have any questions. Pulse Cinemas pulsecinemas.com

New scanners and better stock control will deliver big benefits to dealers

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AUGUST 2020 17


ESSENTIAL INVISION/AUDIOCONTROL

HOME CINEMA SORTED WITH AUDIOCONTROL AudioControl is available in the UK via Invision or CAVD, AudioControl offers a complete solution for building high-performance home cinemas. AudioControl offers a family of highfunctioning home cinema processors, receivers and amplifiers, all made in the U.S with a track record of 40 years in the market. AudioControl says it offers the latest features and functionality that gets home cinemas enthusiasts excited, but the brand underlines that it is the exceptional sound quality and overall performance that is its ultimate calling card.

MAESTRO SERIES PREAMP/ PROCESSORS

AudioControl’s newest generation of immersive preamp/processors are designed to enable installers to create systems that deliver the highest levels of precision, power and control. The Maestro X9 and Maestro X7 support 9.1.6 Dolby Atmos, Auro 3D, DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced, with 16-channels of balanced and unbalanced output. Both models offer a full complement of inputs including seven HDMI 2.0b inputs that support 4K UHD and HDR playback. The new processors also support Dirac Live room correction with Dirac Live Bass Control (DLBC) to overcome acoustic anomalies and deliver balanced, articulate bass throughout the cinema. The flagship X9 features the high-performance ESS Sabre 9038 Pro DACs that is designed to deliver high levels of detail, clarity and overall resolution. Users can enjoy intuitive app-based control, Google Cast, Airplay 2, aptX Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming connectivity options as well as integrated web-based configuration. All of the technology comes wrapped elegantly within a completely new industrial design that matches the AudioControl amplifiers.

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CONCERT SERIES AUDIO/ VIDEO RECEIVERS

AudioControl’s Concert Series of immersive audio/video receivers is comprised of three models; the Concert XR-8, Concert XR-6 and Concert XR-4. All three come with Dirac Live room correction and all of the popular surround formats that bring the cinematic experience to life. The Concert XR-6 and Concert XR-8 also add AURO 3D. Enthusiasts will also appreciate having six channels of user-configurable outputs, ideal for high-pass channels, additional subwoofers or height channels. The Concert Series AVRs feature an attractive industrial design as well as 16-channels of output, integrated web-based configuration, intuitive app-based control, Google Cast, Airplay 2, aptX Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming connectivity.

G4 SERIES AMPLIFIERS

AudioControl offers three G4 Series amplifiers that are ideal for home cinema applications. The Savoy G4 (7-channels), the Pantages G4 (5-channels) and the Avalon G4 (4/3/2 channels) deliver the high power that cinema enthusiasts demand for a lifelike surround sound experience. All G4 amplifiers are built on AudioControl’s unique Class H topology, which provides authoritative power and clarity without generating excessive heat. G4 Series amplifiers feature matching cosmetics to the recently unveiled Maestro AV processors and Concert AV receivers, providing theatre designers and AV integrators with the most advanced home cinema lineup engineered for every system architecture.

to their outstanding performance, efficiency and reliability, says the maker.

RS SERIES—THE ULTIMATE SUBWOOFER AMPLIFIERS

The AudioControl RS 1000 and RS 500 are billed as ultimate bass amplification solutions for any home cinema. The RS 1000 delivers 1000W from a 2U chassis into a 4 or 8-Ohm subwoofer, and the RS 500 delivers 500W from a 1U chassis into a 4 or 8-Ohm subwoofer. Both RS Series amplifiers deliver the ultimate control of any subwoofer system thanks to high power and rock solid stability, even into 2 ohms. Like many AudioControl products, RS Series subwoofer amplifiers accommodate the needs of integrators with IP and IR control as well as loop outputs with an optional high-pass filter along with a balanced and unbalanced input. These features, coupled with the adjustability of AudioControl’s DSP engine that puts graphic and parametric EQs, a crossover along with delay and phase controls at easy access for precise calibration and tuning, make the RS Series amplifiers a strong choice to power any subwoofer in cinema systems that demand the very best. Invision UK CAVD invisionuk.com cavd.co.uk

OUTSTANDING NEW DESIGN

The AudioControl G4 Series amplifiers feature balanced and unbalanced inputs along with an audio pass-through and highquality 5-way binding posts. Each G4 amplifier delivers outstanding power, performance and functionality from a sleek, compact chassis. The new G4 models deliver 230 watts at 8 ohms, 300 watts at 4 ohms, and 600 watts bridged into 8 ohms. The advanced Class H topology monitors input levels, maximising power efficiency and reducing operating temperature through the use of multiple voltage rails. AudioControl’s Class H amplifiers have become to the go-to choice for many discerning home theatre specialists due

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ESSENTIAL ONEAV

GET FOCUSED ON LASER TV!

Ultra-Short-Throw Projectors or ‘Laser TV’, is a new category of opportunity integrators should not ignore. OneAV is getting behind Laser TV, believing it to be a new, exciting and lucrative custom install category. Chris Pinder tells EI why. Post lockdown, many are tentative about a night at the cinema, live sports events remain spectator-free and with the weird vibe of social distancing in pubs, our sofas are quickly becoming the best place to enjoy movies, football, cricket, golf, Formula One or some unfathomably addictive series on Netflix. This is one of the factors contributing to Laser TV’s growing popularity around the world as more and more people want a cinema experience in their own home. Laser projector tech has also come on a long way recently – it’s now possible to create a cinema-like experience in a living room without an MTV Cribs-level outlay for less than the price of a TV. Don’t believe me? Read on. Oh and let’s get it out of the way. Adopt your best Austin Powers Dr. Evil impression and say it out loud. ‘Lay-zer-tee-vee!’ Come on! Who doesn’t want a frickin laser TV...!?

HOME CINEMA, BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT It’s often not possible to specially construct a ‘proper’, dedicated, purpose-built home cinema room and as cool as they are, a lot of properties don’t or won’t have them. Ultra-Short-Throw (UST) laser projectors, or ‘Laser TV’ as it’s been labelled by the manufacturers, has emerged to overcome this limitation. Laser TV isn’t here to pretend to be as good as proper ‘home cinema’ as CEDIA fellows understand it. Laser TV is here to either substitute or supplement the flat panel display and provide cinema screen size entertainment in multi-purpose rooms. Eliminating the need for dark rooms and lots of space, from one-room apartments, through mid-market, all the way to the luxury properties.

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A BIGGER (LITERALLY) BETTER OPPORTUNITY FOR INSTALLERS

With the need for installation expertise, in many scenarios, Laser TV offers a moredesirable solution for the end-user and with better margin potential, makes better business sense for the professional installer. With up to 120in of the laser-projected display, a well-designed, automated and integrated solution from a good installer will deliver more drama and wow-factor than even the largest 75in + OLEDs. Let me explain how…

IT STARTS WITH THE SCREEN, NOT THE LASER PROJECTOR

For optimum performance, a special UST ambient light rejecting (ALR) tensioned screen must be used. An automatic floor-rising electric tab-tensioned screen from market leaders Vividstorm (available from OneAV) that can be installed on or countersunk into a floor or furniture is what delivers that all-important ‘that’s frickin’ cool’ moment.

CLEVER SCREEN TECH THAT MAKES THE MOST OF THOSE LASERS

Three important screen material and surface technologies make Vividstorm’s 120in OPAL UST ALR automated floorrising electric tab-tensioned screen the best for Laser TV. Firstly, a special optical serrated sawtooth surface structure refracts the acutelyangled upward laser beam light from the UST projector outwards from the screen. Secondly, a light suppression filter combats unwanted environmental light. Stunning performance

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ESSENTIAL ONEAV

is achieved even in high ambient light such as daylight. Finally, the tab-tensioned design prevents wrinkles, curling or creases to make the curtain surface extremely flat, which is essential for unblemished image reproduction. Other screen sizes available include 92in and 100in, all with black or white casing and ambient light rejecting screen material. The screens also have a sawtooth structure for optimal light beam refraction, are tab-tensioned for pristine-flat surface and boast automatic floor-rising quiet high-torque electric motors that raise the screen smoothly. Trigger can be via 12v, relay, IR or RF.

INCH-FOR-INCH THE BEST VALUE

4K UST laser projectors are disrupting the market for TVs above 85in in size. It’s a range where prices go through the roof and sometimes even the logistics of fitting the TV through doorways become an issue. From my experience, most people after seeing Laser TV say they would gladly choose it over a big flatpanel TV. The VAVA 4K projector UHD ultra-short throw Laser TV delivers 6000 Lumens, a 3000:1 contrast ratio, has an 85% NTSC colour gamut and can cast a 120in sized image from only 7.2in away from the wall.

CONCLUSION

Consumers want big, bright, immersive video systems in their homes. They just do. They want to get the most from streaming blockbuster 4K movies and while playing their favourite video games. For many clients such as renters or apartment owners, the need for running long HDMI cables and power, not to mention installing brackets on the ceiling, is a non-starter. With Laser TV, installers can negate the mounting of the projector on a ceiling or wall, and significantly faster install time is achieved. Pardon the pun but with a UST laser projector install, there’s nothing standing between you and an amazing 4K UHD cinema experience for the client. It’s a projector that fits into any living room, not just saving space but also helping to minimise the impact of a projector. Sitting mere inches away from the screen it delivers a picture up to 120in in size, turns on and off right away and maintains its brightness even with years of daily use. OneAV is the exclusive distributor of two new-to-the-UK Laser TV category brands; Vividstorm projection screens and the VAVA 4K UST laser projector. OneAV is aiming to become your go-to specialist technology supplier for this new, exciting (and potentially lucrative) custom install category. Contact a OneAV Laser TV Specialist on 01684 576 348 or via team@oneav.co.uk. OneAV oneav.co.uk/lasertv

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AUGUST 2020 21


ESSENTIAL HABITECH

LET’S GO RACING When home networks are getting squeezed between ISPs at one end and IoT profusion at the other, the answer is multi-gig end-to-end, says Justin Martin-Lawrence. Water, heat, light and Wi-Fi. Over the last decade internet access has become the fourth utility for every one of your customers; life affirming, essential at work and play. It’s a 21st Century dependency mainlining on bandwidth, because an explosion of residential services from every smart gizmo on God’s green earth relies on ever-faster connections. According to legend, Karl Marx once called religion ‘the opium of the people’. Today it’s bandwidth. To accommodate the clamour, ISPs are upping their game with the help of a £5bn nudge by the government. Published in July 2020, the latest estimate from Thinkbroadband puts the ‘full fibre’ (Fibre-to-the-Premises) broadband share at 14.8%, while 22.1% of premises are within reach of ‘Gigabit’ (1Gbps) speeds. BT has announced that it’s upgrading ADSL customers to fibre FTTC free-of-charge. Sky Broadband is launching FTTP Broadband via Openreach with GFast tech. Virgin Media

22 AUGUST 2020

is extending its gigabit fibre services to seven major conurbations, and specialised ISPs such as B4RN, Hyperoptic, Truespeed and Zzoomm are offering up to 10Gig FTTP. While all this is going on at one end of your networks, the explosion in IoT device numbers is exacting a terminal stress at the other.

THE ‘IOT BOMB’

Tech pundits reckon that when Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) emerged in 2014, the average UK family owned four Wi-Fi devices. Today it’s nine, and forecasts predict it could be as many as fifty within five years. Mushrooming device populations are slowing connections almost to a stop because Wi-Fi itself is hobbled by half-duplex transmission: devices can only communicate in one direction at a time - like

a walkie-talkie with a ‘push-to-talk’ button. Everything proceeds at half speed and the process is slowed still further because many devices use persistent ‘always-on’ connections to await instructions. Today Wi-Fi 5 is running on ‘dirty air’ and its successor cannot arrive too soon. Sporting its own natty icon on portable devices, the new turbo-charged Wi-Fi 6 offers a fourfold increase in capacity, breaking the Gigabit barrier with a potential maximum speed of 10.53 Gbps. This is good news for Wi-Fi and bad news for wired Ethernet, which becomes the new network bottleneck. But if you’re looking in the right place, there’s a fix.

DID SOMEONE MENTION ‘MULTI-GIG’?

Sandwiched between rising connection speeds and the arrival of Wi-Fi 6 APs, the wired network would be feeling the pinch if it weren’t for the delicious talents of ‘multi-gig’. Multi-Gigabit technology, specifically the IEEE 802.3bz standard, was formally introduced as 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T in 2016, joining the existing IEEE 802.3ae-2002 standard for

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ESSENTIAL HABITECH

10GBASE-T. Multi-Gigabit Transceivers (MGTs) transmit and receive data using differential signalling, which allows faster switching, so the tech gives Ethernet headroom beyond Gigabit up to a splendid 10 Gbps over traditional Cat6/ Cat6a cabling, with the huge advantage of PoE, PoE+ and UPoE in support.

BRING ME POE!

For integrators grappling with the demands of burgeoning IoT ecosystems, Power over Ethernet is a silver bullet. It’s delivered as a common-mode signal from the supply of an enabled device (a switch for instance) over two or more of the differential pairs, or it can be injected into a cable run via a ‘midspan’ supply. PoE is a safer and more convenient way for designers to power a growing multitude of network

Ruckus’ new R550, R650, R750 multi-gig Wi-Fi 6 APs ensure effortless operation for phones, tablets and any number of orbiting smart things

hardware including small switches and splitters, cameras, APs and amplifiers. Of course there are variations within the breed created for different power requirements: standard PoE at 15.4 W, PoE+ at 30W; PoE++, 4PPoE, UPoE, HI PoE at 60W, and PoH/UPoE at 100W, so you’ll need to calculate the power budget available from your source. And be careful: not all switches deliver power as they should! Be wary of terms such as ‘half PoE’ (only half the ports are powered) and always be generous when specifying your PoE budget. For me, adequate PoE is as important to successful network design as hallowed bandwidth itself - and multi-gig gives you both!

10G END-TO-END, EXCLUSIVELY FROM YOU KNOW WHO

Transforming the potency of today’s networks, multi-gig is a no-brainer and the go-to tech for your upgrades and new designs. This is why we’ve assembled the most exclusive array of multi-gig enabled infrastructure and training available from a single CI disti. Spearheaded by the knowhow developed since the advent of our ProNet platform back in 2012, we’re flying the 10G end-to-end banner from a complete network design toolkit: firewalls, APs, switches, SDVoE, patch panels and cords, keystone jacks, plugs, bulk fibre and CAT, HDMI and AOCs, all supported and backhaul bottleneck free. And if you’re wondering why no other disti is waving the magic multi-gig wand, the answer is simple: they don’t have one. 100GBs interlinks? Nada. ‘Ludicrous-mode’ backplanes or PoH/ UPoE? No cigar. A technical team with the nouse to support all this? On your nelly not. Truth be told we’re miles ahead in our capability, product line-up and technologies. With Habitech at your side you can, for instance, chaperone your client’s multi-gig broadband via Draytek’s 3910 10Gbe Firewall/WAN aggregator and Watchguard 470/570/4600 UTM appliances to Ruckus ICX ZP-series switches, which deliver up to 10 Gbps and a massive 90W PoH per port. Deploy Ruckus R550, R650, R750 multigig Wi-Fi 6 APs to ensure effortless operation for phones, tablets and any number of orbiting smart things, and maintain data integrity end-toend with SCP’s peerless, ultra-competitive HNC CAT6 (specified beyond the 500MHz CAT6A standard), and superior 600MHz 6A UTP (we’ll even cut the bulk cable to a custom length for you via our new spooling service). Keep your network design 10G-capable from tip to toe by using SCP’s RJ45 field plugs shielded and unshielded; its easy-install ‘Simply 45’ RJ45 plugs designed specifically for SCP CAT6A, keystone jacks for CAT6A/7A; 1U, 24 port 6A patch panels loaded and unloaded, and new 6A colour-coded patch cords up to 5m. And while you’re pulling the best Ethernet through the walls, pull Cleerline’s award-winning

SCP’s CAT6 UTP and Premium HDMIs form part of the complete 10G end-to-end infrastructure offering from Habitech

Stronger, Safer, Faster (SSF) fibre alongside for the time (quite soon) when all network devices have fibre ports. Or deploy SSF with Cleerline’s Optical HDMI extender set, allowing uncompressed 4K HDR signals (and HDMI 2.1’s Dynamic HDR and eARC features) to travel across a colossal 1km! Take the signal to enabled displays using SCP’s premium high-speed HDMI cables, ATC certified and triple shielded for maximum EMI protection and signal integrity. Naturally your design will always be governed by the network budget and your client’s aspirations, but if you’re armed with the exclusive capability of our ProNet product range and end-to-end network training - arguably the industry’s most valuable skillset - we’re confident you’ll deliver way beyond expectations. Their need for speed is your invitation to drive, so let’s go racing. Habitech habitech.co.uk

Draytek’s 3910 10Gbe Firewall/WAN aggregator and Watchguard 470/570/4600 UTM appliances join Ruckus ICX ZP-series switches and WF6 APs in the peerless ProNet multi-gig lineup.

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AUGUST 2020 23


INSTALL PIONEER: KENNY KIM

MAKE IT SNAPPY!

SnapAV Vice President of Connected Products, Kenny Kim, talks to EI about his career, past, present and future.

How did you get into the IT/AV space? I’ve always been attracted to tech. I went to school in Silicon Valley, joined AT&T, and rotated through a number of roles searching for the most innovative parts of the company. That’s how I got into AT&T Digital Life. There I was exposed to smart home technology and a glimpse of the CEDIA/AV industry. After a few years there, I had an opportunity to meet John Heyman with SnapAV and the rest is history.

Tell us about your time at AT&T. What did you learn there that has proven to be the most useful at SnapAV? I started with AT&T in their Leadership Development Program, a two-and-a-half year general management training programme that rotates the participants through

24 AUGUST 2020

three management roles across the most fundamental parts of the business. My roles included leading a team of field technicians, call centre reps and network operations engineers. Upon completion of the programme, I took on strategy and product management roles across different parts of the business. This experience helped me understand the complexities of delivering a high-availability service to customers, how to navigate an organisation, how to develop and launch services and how to quickly learn a new role so I can deliver impact. These learnings have been invaluable for me at a dynamic company like SnapAV to constantly adapt and bring a service solution-oriented mentality to product development.

In the UK market, Control4 has a higher profile than SnapAV. How does the company plan to evolve SnapAV awareness?

Tell us about the launch of AT&T Digital Life

What is the penetration of OvrC in the UK right now and what is the company doing to drive uptake?

It was exciting to be a part of an innovative and autonomous business unit at its infancy. The industry was a bit of a mess at that time. There were a lot of venture dollars funding companies to build IoT hubs, manufacturers developing point-solutions and organisations creating new standards. In the midst of that chaos, AT&T had a simple conviction that most people just wanted a professional technician to install and support a smart security and automation system. AT&T Digital Life was created to address that need. I believe that still holds true today, whether it is in a relatively simple mass market solution like AT&T Digital Life or a sophisticated smart home delivered through CI professionals.

First, we have started making SnapAV products available through the Control4 dealer portal, so dealers can easily purchase them the same way they have been purchasing Control4 products. Next, we have trained our sales and support personnel on the SnapAV products so that dealers who have built relationships with the Control4 team can call the same individuals to receive sales or technical assistance whenever they need it. And of course, we are providing ongoing training for dealers to learn about the product lines and how they can make a difference for their businesses and customers.

Prior to the merger with Control4, SnapAV did not heavily pursue growth globally and, accordingly, did not have a strong presence outside the US. However, some dealers in the UK have actively sought-out SnapAV products and are actively using OvrC. We believe that a big driver for OvrC adoption in the UK is our recent announcement that OvrC is our single remote management platform for the future, including support for Pakedge, Control4, a large ecosystem of third party products and an end-user app. We are also helping dealers who have used alternative remote management platforms migrate to OvrC to simplify the transition.

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Laser TV. Deliver more drama and wow-factor than even the largest flat panel TV with a colossal 120� of 4K laser-projection, on a motorised vertically-rising screen.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

&

Contact a Laser TV Specialist today on 01684 576 348 or team@oneav.co.uk

.co.uk


MAKE NO COMPROMISES.

FULL IMMERSION HOME THEATER FROM AUDIOCONTROL INTRODUCING MAESTRO X and CONCERT XR SERIES PROCESSORS and RECEIVERS 9.1.6 CHANNEL | 4K ULTRA HD | DOLBY ATMOS® | DOLBY VISION® | DTS:X™ | DIRAC IMAX® ENHANCED | AURO-3D® | APTX BLUETOOTH® ENABLED

T: 01359 270280 E: sales@invisionuk.com www.invisionuk.com

T: 01628 56 33 44 E: info@cavd.co.uk www.cavd.co.uk


INSTALL PIONEER: KENNY KIM

OvrC had some recent updates, can you tell us a little more?

We announced that OvrC is SnapAV’s single remote management platform for the future and where we are focusing our unified remote management development team. The latest update is a significant release that includes hundreds of improvements that help dealers get their work done fast. Pages load twice as fast, we have optimised layouts so it’s easier to find information with fewer clicks and scrolling, more information is available at a glance, we show the last known state for offline devices, and we offer a fully-featured mobile app that empowers dealers on the go. And big news for Control4 dealers - we are integrating the Control4 ecosystem of products, starting with Pakedge. The new OvrC platform allows us to deliver site-based features so dealers can be even more efficient. The first on the roadmap will be wireless SSID management so dealers can fully configure and manage SSIDs across any number of access points in a system.

COVID-19 has placed a lot of emphasis on remote management and remote communication/ training. What’s the future here?

Remote management is essential for dealer success, but more importantly, connectivity is critical for customers. Some even call it the next essential utility. This pandemic has made that abundantly clear. Remote management helps dealers become profitable by minimising truck roles and increasing service efficiency, but it also enables dealers to minimise downtime for their customers and respond quickly to issues. Today, this is what customers expect of their service providers, and if dealers can deliver this type of service, it will set them apart.

Macro events like this will continue to happen. It is times like these that the strength of a dealer’s business is truly tested. Those dealers that had strong RMR (recurring monthly revenue) streams seemed to be more resilient during this recent pandemic. Integrating RMR with robust service operations in the business provides dealers with a great opportunity to generate recurring revenues.

Do you think the industry is currently leveraging the power of ‘connected’ products and systems as much as it could?

I would say that most dealers are not. Many think of the connected infrastructure of the home or business as a necessary means to delivering the smart system. That mindset is ingrained in the transactional business model of our industry. However, the connected infrastructure has the potential to help dealers unlock recurring revenues, allowing dealers to diversify their business and create more value. This transition to service-based business will happen in our industry just the way it has in the IT industry. It is a matter of when, not if. I think dealers could start to invest more into developing a strong service operation and consider it a strategic part of the business, not as a cost centre. Once dealers figure out how to efficiently and consistently deliver services to their customers, they could then start charging for those services to drive profitable growth.

What difference will 5G make to the industry?

A big generation change in technology like this will undoubtedly have a disruptive impact to all industries, things that are hard to even imagine today. Think of all that has changed going from 2G (Edge) to 3G to LTE! I don’t have a crystal ball, but here is how I think about it.

First, customer expectations will change as they experience almost zero latency and new types of services will be enabled that leverage low latency, higher bandwidth and higher speeds. Accordingly, customer expectations of what a smart home can do will be greater. Products will become smarter as devices leverage unlimited computer power in the cloud. This also means that hardware becomes further commoditised as lower cost devices deliver advanced functionality. The downward pressure on hardware margins is going to force dealers to create margin elsewhere. I expect that providing services and remotely managing customers’ systems will create new business models and become increasingly important for dealers.

What is your favourite product/ service offered by SnapAV right now? I’m biased, but it is OvrC. When dealers tell me how they’ve been able to increase their productivity, become more profitable, deliver ‘wow’ experiences to their customers and free up more time to spend with their families, it is extremely rewarding. There is no better feeling for any product manager than to hear that your work is having a significant impact on someone’s business and life.

What are your interests/hobbies away from work? Outside of work, my favourite thing to do is spend time exploring the world with my twoyear-old daughter. When time allows, I also love to travel and build wood projects in my shop. As a technology enthusiast, I also like to keep tabs on new innovations in various fields as I daydream about starting my own business one day.

OvrC is SnapAV’s big hope in the remote management sector

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AUGUST 2020 27


It’s official...

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ESSENTIAL CEDIA

DELTA FORCE Coping with COVID-19, AV companies assist the NHS in much needed equipment sources during the pandemic. Mark Bonner has been at the audio-visual and integration game since 1988, so the sudden and complete stoppage of work that gripped the UK when the COVID-19 pandemic hit was frustrating. “It was pretty awful seeing this unfold on television and not really being able to help,” he says. Then Mark, a co-founder of the firm, Delta Live (which is now owned by CEDIA member, L-Acoustics), got a call from a production manager that he knew from the commercial side of his business. Delta’s model is a blend of residential integration and live-event production, and the client who reached out wondered if the firm could lend some gear and expertise to Britain’s National Health Service, the NHS. As it turned out, hospitals there were in dire need of several hundred items that were sitting unused in Delta’s warehouse: walkie-talkies.

WHY WALKIE-TALKIES? Mark explains the problem these hospitals were facing, “Because of the precautions a healthcare professional must take when dealing with a positive patient in the intensive care unit, there’s a good 20 minutes of dressing and pressurising a room before anyone can come in and out. If a nurse needs to ask a physician a question or what have you, the process is interminable.” Phones are impractical given masks and visors, and hospital infrastructure doesn’t include such devices as two-way intercoms, so the walkie-talkies that roadies and sound techs use in a live-production environment were the perfect solution. “The day I heard that there was a need, I went over to the hospital in Hackney (a borough of London) and dropped off the first batch of equipment,” says Mark. “They needed a fair number of these — you might have eight full wards of people who are being treated.” Frequency management (using the right radio channels to prevent interference) was key, and Mark immediately realised that he had to create some kind of tutorial. “My technician shot a simple user video in about two minutes right

THE THREE MUSKETEERS

Mark left the supplies curbside, and then went to work expanding deliveries. “It was like The Three Musketeers. I had a transport manager who couldn’t work, a programmer who couldn’t work, and myself. Now we’ve gotten into a programme where we are delivering two or three of these shipments at the peak, on a daily basis.” Mark and his team have developed a contact-free experience for everyone involved — shipments are requested, and receipts are received digitally. “We ensure we don’t even contact one another in the warehouse — we’re never touching the same items.” Currently, Delta has served 20 hospitals with roughly 350 walkie-talkies deployed in the field. In addition to the hospitals expressing their gratitude, Delta Live has seen another benefit: customer response. “It’s been terrific to see our clients associating the name with this initiative. It’s really been gratifying,” says Mark. And Delta even produced a short video on the volunteer work they’re doing — which begs the question: How does one pull that off in a pandemic? “We shot the whole thing on an iPhone 11,” says Mark. “My wife is an art director, and my business partner, Paul Keating, has a friend who’s an editor.” To top it all off, Mark and his team were able to acquire some BBC footage outlining the usefulness of the devices. Mark comments, “It’s great that equipment which is currently gathering dust in our warehouse can be re-purposed to do something really important.” Between deliveries, he’s also been thinking about the length of time it may take for live events to come back and refocusing Delta Live’s attention to supporting integrators within the residential market.

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before I went to the hospital.”

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AUGUST 2020 29


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ASSISTED LIVING

What is Ambient Assisted Living?

INDEPENDENCE DAY Independence in everyday life is an important factor, especially for older people. Modern technology, so-called Ambient Assisted Living, can be a great support here and contribute to an increase in well-being. Here, Armin Anders, Vice President Business Development, EnOcean, reveals more.

Today, intelligent sensor technology can be found worldwide in smart homes, office buildings, modern building control systems and the industry 4.0. The networking of intelligent devices is playing an increasingly important role, made possible by the use of comprehensive sensor data. This data is used in functional buildings primarily to save costs and energy. In the smart home, the focus is more on the needs of the residents, on their comfort and security. Ambient Assisted Living belongs to the latter category, as the focus is more on safety, comfort and independence rather than on efficiency and savings. The megatrend ‘Ageing Society’ poses major challenges for the care sector. The world’s population is getting older and there are more people in need of care, but the number of available care personnel is not increasing alongside. As a result, healthcare for the elderly is becoming more expensive. In contrast, an increasing amount of people in old age also want to stay in their familiar living environment for as long as possible. Modern technology can help to support suitable solutions. Developments and innovations from the fields of building automation and smart home can make an important contribution here. Wireless sensor solutions based on the EnOcean

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wireless standard can be easily retrofitted and can thus help to improve the quality of life of people in everyday life, especially in old age. These solutions can also provide support, if not relief, for relatives and nursing staff.

SECURITY AND COMFORT AT HOME Movement sensors in mattresses and rooms, presence and fall detectors or flexibly mounted emergency call and control buttons provide the important and necessary information to enable safe and comfortable living in one’s own home even in old age. It is important that this support is integrated into everyday life as a matter of course. Another significant aspect is the simple and intuitive operation of the devices, comparable to smartphone apps. The smart home can be the right solution for this. The intelligent control of light, heating, blinds and other electrical devices increases the living comfort of the entire family. This can be easily and unobtrusively supplemented with helpers for older people. These could be sensors that record activity and well-being, for example. One advantage is that they only provide assistance when needed and in emergencies.

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ASSISTED LIVING

FLEXIBLY RETROFITTABLE RADIO SYSTEMS

An important requirement for such solutions is that they can be easily retrofitted, both in the home and in care facilities. This enables people in need of help to live as independently as possible in their familiar surroundings for as long as possible. Such flexible solutions are also advantageous for certain care facilities, but in the event of retrofitting, everyday operations must be influenced and disturbed as little as possible. For this reason, wired systems are not suitable for retrofitting, as the effort would be far too great to equip each individual sensor with a cable. In addition, a large part of the flexibility would be lost, since once installed, sensors would be very difficult to move to another location. Wireless systems clearly have the edge here: without being tied to cable locations, switches as well as smoke detectors, and sensors for presence, temperature, air quality and light are maintenance-free and can be flexibly installed exactly where they are really needed, even on furniture, glass or doors: e.g. a motion detector for light control on the bed frame or a touch sensor integrated in the mattress for light and heating control which also signals if the elderly person lies down for an unusually long period of time in the morning or leaves the bed unexpectedly at night. At the same time, such sensors can also be retrofitted into existing systems at any time.

OPERATION COMPLETELY WITHOUT BATTERIES

Many solutions that work without an external power supply have one major disadvantage: batteries generate the energy required for the switches and sensors. This has a negative impact on maintenance costs on the one hand and on the environment on the other. Batteries have

32 AUGUST 2020

to be checked and replaced regularly, which requires an enormous amount of work and effort with a large number of sensors. The disposal of batteries is also quite costly, as they must not be thrown into normal household waste due to their toxic and environmentally harmful content. EnOcean is taking a completely different approach here: the wireless switches and sensors gain and store even the smallest amount of energy from the environment. When a switch is pressed, the electromechanical energy converter inside converts movement into energy. This signal can be used to switch domestic appliances and lights on and off, for example. Smallest solar cells in the modules can use even low light intensities of 50 lux as an energy source. These can be temperature, CO2 and presence sensors, for example, but also solar-based window contacts or humidity sensors. However, sensors can also be operated without batteries if the light supply is too low: a temperature difference of just two degrees Celsius provides enough energy to operate and run a self-powered heating valve.

AUTOMATED SUPPORT IN EVERYDAY LIFE

Thanks to radio operation, these solutions can be adapted step by step to changing needs. Lights can be automatically switched on and off using presence detectors, and magnetic contacts on windows and doors help to automatically turn down the heating when the window is open or when everyone has left the house. When no one is at home, all electrical appliances such as the cooker and washing machine can be switched off for safety. Many older people have a strong desire to stay in their familiar surroundings for as long as possible. Various applications based on the EnOcean wireless standard can help make this a reality.

Advancing years should not mean compromising on lifestyle, but what is the right tech to use?

CONCLUSION

With the help of modern technologies, people can remain independent even in old age. These include easily retrofittable wireless sensors, which are becoming increasingly important in the Ambient Assisted Living sector and offer older people a high degree of independence and comfort. However, this form of support should not be imposed and should not invade the privacy of the individual (such as cameras). Sensor solutions based on the EnOcean wireless standard are particularly suitable for this type of application. Once set up and commissioned, the battery-free wireless sensors operate completely maintenance-free and provide reliable data for controlling and monitoring the health status of people in need of help. Relatives and nursing staff are thus informed accordingly. With the everevolving EnOcean ecosystem with interoperable wireless solutions, people in need of help receive the support they need for more comfort and security in their own homes, not only in old age.

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SMART THINKING

SmartRent ADDS A NEW OPPORTUNITY

EI takes a look at the proposition offered by SmartRent - a concept relatively new to the UK market which offers smart home technology to the rental sector. Making a big splash in the vast rental market in the US market, SmartRent is described as a robust, end-to-end smart home automation company that develops enterprise software, builds industry-specific hardware, performs white glove installations and provides 24/7 support and training in the multifamily industry. The team behind the venture, including SmartRent CEO Lucas Haldeman, were part of the senior management team at Invitation Homes, the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the United States (owning approximately 80,000 homes), so of course understood the needs of large-scale rental companies. The basic idea is that the platform is the technology bridge that saves property managers and owners money by giving them more visibility and control over their properties, while also providing residents an attractive package where they get to control all of the devices in their home via an easy to understand app. The SmartRent solution also offers complete community-wide access control through a seamless keyless experience asset protection using a variety of smart sensors that send alerts and notifications and property optimisation using automation and scheduling features. Residents can change the thermostat temperature, manage keyless credentials, turn lights on or off and more, all from the easy-to-use app. Phil Lamb, Senior Vice President at SmartRent and a recent contributor to the very first EI Live! Tech Talk Series, explains, “In the US we use our own installers employed directly by the company; however in the UK, we are rolling out a different model where we are looking to work with a few key installers.”

34 AUGUST 2020

The company’s technical approach is all based around the Z-Wave platform and uses a group of devices and products that all use the platform. For each project, the appropriate devices are chosen. Phil comments, “We are brand agnostic in many ways and always keep an open mind, but we do have strong opinions on which brands we like to use. Zipato is a big favourite for its ease of control and the amount of functions it provides for our target markets of build to rent developers. In fact the company liked the brand so much, it is actually now part of the group.” Obviously in a sector such as this with potentially at least a much higher turnover of residents than purchased properties, data security is a big issue. However, Phil explains that the company has poured huge resources into this area and residents can rest easy as SmartRent takes data, safety, privacy and security very seriously.

The company uses layers of security that include strong authentication practices, internal vulnerability assessments and consults widely with trusted third-party security organisations, as well as partners with expert security researchers and practitioners to provide the safest and most secure experience for residents.

Device activity data is deleted every 30 days and any resident generated data is completely deleted upon move-out. SmartRent also uses WPA/WPA2-AES security for connecting hubs to Wi-Fi networks. Phil also underlines that the concept is not just for new build clients, the Z-Wave approach means retro-fit is available in many instances. On a new build, the systems are usually fitted throughout as the project goes up or on the turn as people move in and out if it’s a retro fit project. Complete retro fit also becomes an option for projects like university campuses during summer holidays, for instance. So what are the benefits for the installer? Phil explains, “Our business model is based around licensing the system and to the landlord or building owner, so the lion’s share of the fee for the installation goes to the installer. The befit for the landlord is that they can control their buildings way more effectively and save money and the residents get very cool automated homes, giving the landlord a competitive edge.” The company is keen on the concept of ‘democratising the smart home’ that is providing the type of functionality, or at least some of it, that more expensive mostly owned properties have the potential to enjoy. Phil says, “Many of those renting who would like this type of functionality are currently denied often on cost grounds or the fact that they find the DIY automation market confusing and just not their bag. Our systems take loads of the pain of on-boarding decent Wi-Fi and smart home operation away by incorporating it into the building itself and so when residents move in all they have to do is download the app and they are good to go. Often B2C smart home products demonstrate a lack of genuine interoperability with other products and in some instances use a surprising amount of bandwidth. Our systems deliver ease of use to the occupant and significant market advantages and cost savings to the building owner. Get in touch if you want to find out more. SmartRent smartrent.com Phil.Lamb@SmartRent.com

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WIRING ACCESSORIES

THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY CRIMP CONNECTIONS Tim Harris, Technical and Support Services Manager of Cablecraft, discusses why it is important to achieve a quality crimp connection. In the ever-evolving installation market, some core requirements never change – the need for quality, reliable electrical terminations. Whether it be through the application of solderless crimp terminals or the use of cord end ferrules inserted into a terminal block, the fundamentals are the same. Correct wire preparation, terminal selection and the right tooling, are three of the five key elements required to create a quality crimp terminal. Documentation and trained personnel make up the five key elements of the crimping system. Matched tooling and terminals are required to achieve quality results that can be relied on. Correct tool and terminal selection at the point of design plays a vital role in ensuring that the job is done in the correct way first time. Without all the elements in place, errors can be made, resulting in wasted time, scrapped products and costly failures.

1. Wire preparation

A key element to achieving a quality crimp is wire preparation. Good quality, well maintained tools

will cut the conductor cleanly and avoid damage. Insulation material for cables can vary, so having the right tool for the job ensures that insulation is removed completely, and all the wire strands are kept intact. The temptation to use cable cutters should always be avoided and a specialist stripping tool should always be selected to complete the job. During the stripping process, up to 60% of strands can be removed or damaged, thus reducing the carrying capacity of the cable, whilst also reducing the mechanical strength of the joint. Whilst this is less of an issue with single core cables, any damage to the conductor can lead to problems with the electrical connection. Torn or ripped insulation can cause issues with the placement of the insulation support and wire barrel in the terminal. This is a problem, as correct strip length is key for positioning of the wire in the terminal barrel. Selecting the right design of stripping tool with the correct blade shape can greatly reduce the chance of mistakes being made and damage to the cable.

2. Terminal selection

Selection of a terminal can be based on varying different factors including price, application, ease of use, specification and availability.

No matter how tempting, not using the right tool for the job can end up being costly

36 AUGUST 2020

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WIRING ACCESSORIES

Selecting quality terminals from reputable manufacturers gives contractors the peace of mind that the equipment is fit for purpose. All terminals should have the manufacturers’ name and sizing stamped on the terminal, as this is vital for traceability and quality control after the terminal has been installed. Terminal suppliers should be able to provide technical data and drawings for all the terminals they sell and have recommended tooling to match each terminal. Insulation material and base metal needs to match the cable and time should be taken in selecting the correct product. While end ferrules are installed to contain the strands and are not the final termination of the cable, care still needs to be taken in the crimping of these products and quality manufacturers selected.

Crimp tools need to be maintained and kept in good condition. In many industries, tool calibration is required and is an essential part of quality assurance. To prolong the life of the tool, we advise they are calibrated on a yearly basis to ensure they are performing to the correct standard. Along with the manufacturer’s instructions and terminal data, calibration certificates form the documentation element of a crimping system.

3. Tool selection

5. Trained personnel

Terminals come in many shapes and forms, with many companies and suppliers to choose from. Whatever the size or shape the goal is the same – to create a solid mass of material and this is achieved through the crimping process. The correct matched tooling and terminals are essential to achieve this. Each tool has a set of dies which match the terminal in terms of size and form. The dies are designed to crimp the terminal to the correct size to ensure the wire barrel achieves the correct compaction and the insulation support is formed into the correct shape. Many tools come fitted with a terminal locator to help the user position the terminal in the correct place. Incorrect compaction through the use of unmatched tooling can lead to air gaps, which in turn can lead to overheating. The tools dies should also mark the terminal to state that is has been crimped with the correct size of die or the correct aperture in the tool head.

4. Documentation

Crimping systems were developed so that repeatable results can be achieved and quality results are ensured time after time. The BS EN 60352-2:2006 standard gives guidance on general requirements and test methods for quality assurance.

Trained personnel are key when creating a perfect crimp. We offer a full range of crimping solutions along with matched terminals and tooling, to achieve results that meet all the relevant industry standards. Crimp training courses are available and expand on the basics of the crimping process and quality control.

Following simple, but effective best practice delivers consistency and reliability

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AUGUST 2020 37


ESSENTIAL CABLES AND CONNECTIONS

CUTTING THROUGH THE CONFUSION Plans are still in place to show the 2021 Olympics in 8K

Kevin Cray, Technical Product Development Director CYP Europe, cuts through some of the cable confusion current in the AV market space. The AV industry has always been pretty good at implementing amazing new technology and then managing to confuse by altering the widely accepted standard in a bid to improve quality. Nothing sums this up more than the humble HDMI connection. Introduced as the ultimate in AV connectivity, the principle of a single connector that can carry digital audio and video signals was hailed as the ultimate back in 2002 when it was first introduced. Quickly adopted by AV manufacturers and consumers alike, it has become the universal AV connector across the industry. However, as video standards have evolved, so has the HDMI connector, or rather the cable that runs between the connectors. This means that although an HDMI 1.0 spec cable will fit the socket of an HDMI 2.1 compliant component, it won’t be able to deliver the full 48Gbps bandwidth required for full 4K UHD, as the 1.0 spec cable is restricted to a bandwidth of just under 5Gbps. Yes, you might well get a picture and even some sound, but certainly not the amazing images that full 4K UHD can deliver. To guarantee full 48Gbps data transfer, you have to use Ultra High-Speed HDMI cables, which feature their own certification.

38 AUGUST 2020

cable

So, for full 8K AV data transfer, we are going

certification programme, Ultra High Speed

Just

like

the

Premium

HDMI

to be, at least initially, limited to HDMI cabling

HDMI cabling also has a certification programme

and this will, of course, mean very limited

run by the HDMI organisation. If you wish to buy

distances for standard copper HDMI Ultra High

an HDMI cable for 8K/10K or high Hz rate 4K,

Speed cables.

then do ensure it has been certified, as anyone can make claims to a cable’s capabilities, but

So the future is fibre then?

only a Certified Ultra High Speed HDMI cable is

As bandwidths increase, fiber connectivity

guaranteed to work at bandwidths up to 48Gbps.

will become more and more common in

But what about long distance?

AV installations as common fibre types can already support 40GbE and even 100GbE in

As with any HDMI cable, even 8K Ultra High

networking environments. OM3 fibre cable is

Speed HDMI cabling is limited to the distance

the minimum standard needed to support these

it can preserve the high-bandwidth content,

higher bandwidths. Whilst at present HDMI

in this case up to five metres. To increase AV

fibre transmitter/receiver (TX/RX) systems are

signal distribution distance, in the past, we as

still being designed, it will not be long before

an industry have managed to rely on our most

you see HDMI fibre kits capable of transmitting

useful cable and connector, the CAT cable and

HDMI 2.1 8K/10K and high Hz rate 4K signals.

RJ45 connector. This was fine when bandwidth

In the meantime, I’d expect to see active

was less but, as things stand, to perfectly carry

8K fibre HDMI cabling come through this year.

8K signals, this is no longer the case. Whilst I’m

This will give all integrators some options for

sure AV Over IP and HDBaseT IC manufacturers

extending HDMI 2.1 signals beyond the short

are working on chipsets that can compress and

distances available with standard copper HDMI

transmit these signals over CAT, and in fact

cables. I am personally in contact with a few

intoPIX have already started selling their TICO

manufacturers planning for these cables and

lightweight compression chips, the kits are not

expect to see samples this quarter to push for

yet readily available.

release before the end of 2020.

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ESSENTIAL CABLES AND CONNECTIONS

What about 8K sources?

What does the future look like?

Presently we do not have any 8K HDMI sources so until these come through, most 8K is being used in specialist commercial applications.

A good example is the now

defunct 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which had 8K viewing areas planned around the world. This was only achievable because the wonderful NHK in Japan intend to have widespread 8K coverage and we can still look forward to that at the now 2021 Olympic Games. As we move into the second half of the year and with the coming of the new age of 8K games consoles, the residential side of 8K installations will begin to take off. Both SONY and Microsoft are stating 8K capabilities of their new games consoles and this will drive residential 8K installations.

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8K is here to stay, as the big TV manufacturers need to continually push evolution of their displays. Consumers are becoming more aware of 8K (the introduction of the aforementioned games consoles will increase awareness significantly!) so expect considerably more promotion to push 8K over the next couple of years. What of course the TV manufacturers and we as an industry need, is more 8K sources as, without further content at 8K, what will we really be watching on our 8K TVs? Streaming services (you know the one I’m talking about) have continued their rhetoric of more pixels are not necessarily better and HDR content is more important to improve the customer experience, so create better pixels, not just more of them. Perhaps this is governed by the relatively poor broadband bandwidth across the UK, reducing the opportunity for

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UHD data streaming? Either way, whilst I believe these services will eventually move to 8K streaming, I just do not see this happening anytime soon. But the main point of this feature is that although we might not be able to deliver the content quite yet, it won’t be long before we can. Therefore, we should all be looking to incorporate UHD bandwidth-capable systems (or at least fibre infrastructure) into new projects, as it won’t be long before we will need it.

AUGUST 2020 41


ESSENTIAL PROJECTORS AND SCREENS

THE BIG SCREEN HOW IMPORTANT IS GAMING AS A MARKET DRIVER?

Gaming is increasingly important for the home cinema market

Gaming is incredibly important, especially with interest around the launch of the new Xbox and PlayStation. Having a projector with input lag reduction is really important so that you get the best response from your controller. This can also be the difference between winning and losing in a multiplayer game.

DO WE NEGLECT OTHER TYPES OF BIG SCREEN EXPERIENCE, GROUP CHATS/FAMILY COMMUNICATIONS, SPORTS, USER’S OWN CONTENT? James Drummie, Product Manager at specialist distributor AWE, answers some key questions in the projectors and screens category.

GIVE US YOUR TOP TIPS ON SELLING AND CREATING DESIRE FOR THESE BIG TICKET ITEMS

When it comes to selling projectors, particularly the higher end products, it can sometimes be more about the experience than the technical aspects that make people want one. To do this, demonstration is key. At AWE, we have three dedicated cinema demo rooms that are used to show the projectors in the best immersive environment possible. We have a 3LCD Epson projector in one room, a lampbased Sony native 4K projector in the next, and in the Reference Cinema we have two Sony Laser native 4K projectors on show. Demonstrating the projectors alongside a fantastic audio system really helps with immersing the viewer into the content. It’s also worth having a few great demo clips ready to go – not everyone wants to see a mad car chase. Also, showing content they’re actually going to watch, like sport or streaming services, helps create desire. At the same time, we also need to communicate the high-quality specifications of the projectors we’re selling, to show customers the true value of the products. The marketleading Sony home cinema projector range, for

42 AUGUST 2020

example, features a wide range of models, which are designed to bring 4K detail to any home entertainment system. They produce true 4K resolution with Sony’s latest 4K SXRD panels for stunning cinema viewing and incredibly lifelike colour, and we need to communicate these technical aspects to the customer. For projector screens, customers do have decisions to make. If they want the sound to come through the screen, they require an acoustically transparent screen. If there is any ambient light in the room, they may want to go for an ALR (ambient light rejecting) screen. Do they want a 2.35:1 cinema shaped screen or a 16:9 TV shaped screen? Again, demonstration is important to show the benefits of each. We’re very lucky at AWE as we have all these options covered and can go through this during a demonstration.

HOW DO YOU OVERCOME OBJECTIONS TO COST OR INSTALLATION DISRUPTION?

Showing the difference between a £3K projector, a £5K projector, a £15K projector, and a £50k plus projector helps with this. The differences are visually clear. What does help is that most people who come in for a demonstration want the largest screen they can fit in their room, which means they need brighter projectors with the best 4K resolution. This by default makes a cheaper projector not an option.

We should be very aware of what the customer intends to use the room for – watching movies is just one element. We’re seeing home cinemas being used for watching all sorts of different sporting events, and now, in line with government guidelines following the pandemic, this is even more important as we can’t go and see them live.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN USE CASE SCENARIOS THAT ARE DRIVING CHANGE AND DEMAND WITHIN THE HOME AND LIGHT COMMERCIAL SETTINGS? Brightness is a huge factor. Sony’s flagship home cinema projector, the VPLVW5000ES, produces spectacular brightness (5,000 lumens), and new laser light source breakthroughs mean even more is possible whilst retaining colour accuracy.

HOW WILL THE SECTOR EVOLVE IN THE FUTURE? We’re going to see an increase in CLED (micro LED) and rollable OLED TVs, but only very high-end products for the foreseeable future.

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ESSENTIAL PROJECTORS AND SCREENS

GO BIG AND GO HOME! Enjoying live concert footage is another area consumers might not immediately associate with a home cinema

Carina Popescu, Marketing Communications Manager at Optoma, takes on our projectors and screens questionnaire.

GIVE US YOUR TOP TIPS ON SELLING AND CREATING DESIRE FOR THESE BIG-TICKET ITEMS

The technology within the audio-visual sector has grown more vast and varied year on year, and with this fresh innovation, a higher ticket price usually comes attached. Justifying this higher price is a must to sell and create a desire for these big-ticket items. If you take the laser ultra-short throw 4K UHD market, which I predict will overtake lampbased projectors and can shake the world of televisions, you’ll be hard-pressed to find such a discreet, minimalist solution that also gives the ‘Wow’ factor as it’s switched on. It’s a case of seeing is believing! Once you’ve laid eyes upon a solution such as a 4K UHD ultra-short-throw laser light source projector, that offers a whopping 30,000 hours of laser life coupled with an ambient light reflecting screen, you see the value for money it has compared to a television the same size.

technical team who treat the problem thoughtfully provides a quicker resolution.

HOW IMPORTANT IS GAMING AS A MARKET DRIVER WHEN COMPARED TO MOVIES?

Gaming in the projector sector has long been overlooked in favour of the home cinema experience. As an avid gamer, I could see the gap in the market. For me, I love first-person shooter games which see me going round to friends’ homes to play as a team, but I often found myself squinting to see the game when the screen splits – even on a 65in TV, it’s near enough impossible to play comfortably. The main stumbling block with projectors and gaming has always been input lag. It takes time between when a gaming system sends out

a signal to the time it is received by the projector - measured in milliseconds. I notice the difference in input lag of 80 to 8.4 milliseconds massively, giving me poor kill rates and having to press the ‘restart the mission’ option more often. When I found out we’d be launching the world’s first 4K UHD 240Hz gaming projectors, in addition to a long list of new projectors with gaming modes such as the short-throw projector which also supports 1080p 120Hz for low input latency of 8.4ms, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the projectors and show them off to my friends for a games marathon. There is no gaming experience like it – capable of projecting a 300in image, and with a gaming mode that optimises the projector for maximum contrast, vivid colours and reduced input lag, I’m gifted with silky smooth gaming, giving me a better chance of hitting my target earlier!

The wide array of sources available today deserve more than standard TV options

HOW DO YOU OVERCOME OBJECTIONS TO COST OR INSTALLATION DISRUPTION?

At Optoma, I don’t come across many objections to cost. We’re often applauded by both installers and end-users for our five-star quality and reliability while being the best value for money available in the market. Installation disruption is an inevitable aspect of the technology industry. How you manage and overcome these disruptions is essential. Honesty and open communication set the customer’s expectations and a dedicated

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AUGUST 2020 45


Contact the Invision Sales Team for more information

01359 270280 | sales@invisionuk.com


ESSENTIAL PROJECTORS AND SCREENS

When customers can’t be together, big screen group chats can make interaction more meaningful than those via PCs or phones

DO WE NEGLECT OTHER TYPES OF BIG-SCREEN EXPERIENCE, GROUP CHATS/FAMILY COMMUNICATIONS, SPORTS, USER’S OWN CONTENT?

User’s own material has always been a point of desire for consumers. For budding photographers and content producers who want to display their work as they intended it to look, I would recommend looking for projectors which are capable of

reproducing the Rec.709 colour gamut, the international HDTV standard to guarantee accurate reproduction of cinematic colour. Group chats and family communications have come to light more recently. The USB-A port has been a blessing for video conferencing! In my case, my uncle and his family are based in the US. We’ve been able to power an HDMI dongle to cast our Facetime family session on a big screen - saving the usual hassle of crowding around a mobile phone. When it comes to sport, it isn’t a coincidence that we see sales increase as big sporting events approach. Many projectors now incorporate a

Cost can be an issue, so how do you overcome objections?

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‘sport mode’ in their home projectors. The mode optimises the projector to increase brightness and provide the user with vibrant colours to create stunning larger than life big-screen projection for every second of the big game. The world of technology is forever changing, and consumers’ wants and needs are often the driving force behind these changes. It’s no longer enough for projectors and screens to only hit one aspect of the market, because humans are not one faceted. Big image solutions need not be either.

There has never been more high-quality content for today’s projectors and screens to exploit

AUGUST 2020 47




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ESSENTIAL CASE STUDY: LAIRDS

THE BEST CAR SIMULATOR EVER? EI knows how many petrolheads we have as readers, so we thought it would be a good idea to get Mark Laird, Managing Director of install company Lairds, to give us an exclusive tour around this awesome car sim AV project. For obvious reasons this is one of our favourite projects. Not only working with amazingly talented people but we are into our gadgets… need more be said? When you are absolutely crazy about Formula 1 what do you do? When you are a hardworking 16 hour a day businessman what do you do? Fuel your passion! Rev it up a bit, and power in! Our client’s playground, den, entertainment spot, chillout area, and memory palace has been meticulously designed by one of the most talented people you will ever find. This project was built inside a barn that had been an integral part of our client’s business

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for a number of years, so the memories were ingrained. With friends who are the best tradesmen in their field they set to work to create this masterpiece. Each and every detail is a memory. The images on the wall, the cleverly converted kitchen units, to even the paint on the floor. Our task was to bring it together with innovative ways to use the technology at our disposal. The car simulator was always on the cards, but the extras just brought it slap bang up to date and helped put the icing on the cake.

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AUGUST 2020 51



ESSENTIAL CASE STUDY: LAIRDS

HOW DID WE DO THE SPACE AV?

For the first floor of this amazing place, the car simulator and AV needed to have top quality sound. With the room audio it would have been a disappointment to have horrible echoes and slaps with the construction of the room. We got our heads together and designed a more intimate solution. Studying the size of the room and acoustic specifications of a number of speaker solutions, we settled on Sonance 4.5in speakers evenly spread throughout the room powered by a Sonance amp. It is the age-old conundrum. When you are working with commercial clients, the amount of speakers required becomes a more in-depth conversation. If you can imagine a room with 20 people sitting, eating, talking, with four speakers, the volume would have to be higher for the music to be audible. Normally by that time, the 20 people won’t be able to hold a conversation because to each of them their voices may be drowned out. Adding to the quantity of the speakers will allow for that volume level to be lower and the coverage to be greater in the room. This results in a comfortable background music level and the ability for the company to converse freely.

RETRO MAGIC

With the even, comfortable coverage in the room, we decided to add some magic to the mix. Our client had searched high and low for a good old Wurlitzer music box. With a room full of speakers, we thought it would be a shame not to take advantage. So, with a bit of jiggery pokery and a couple of Sonos units, we included the Wurlitzer not only as a source but a separate zone for the room for those more intimate retro moments. Just picture the Fonz and you’ll know what I mean…

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The space is full of memories, so had to be treated with respect and reverence

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AUGUST 2020 53


ESSENTIAL CASE STUDY: LAIRDS

THE CAR SIM

Multi Zone and Car Sim Audio taken care of, now onto our focus point. The custom built, Formula 1 Simulator. Running the industry’s go to racing simulator, iRacing. There are a lot of companies out there putting massive price tags on simulators. We aimed to bring the absolute best specification to our client pushing the budget to its limits. Sometimes customer satisfaction is more important than profit. How did we make this car simulator and space AV shine? We started with the latest and best components and built the core system from scratch. The latest GeForce RTX 2080Ti and an Intel Core i9 10900k overclocked to the MAX!! Solid State Drives and a nice 128GB of memory thrown in for good measure. Liquid

54 AUGUST 2020

cooled, air filtered, all built into the freshly built simulator platform. We added a rumble seat, surround sound system and the stunning Fanatec Racing wheel system. There is plenty of room for upgrades too, as the F1 reclining seat and chassis is perfectly capable of being mounted to the D-Box Motion frame with minimal disruption. We have the multi-screen setup, and using an UltraHD video Matrix system we have a fourth screen available for the ‘crowds’ to view the action whilst having a chilled beer or two. There is also the ability to add more screens or projectors to the system as and when required and with the zoned Sonance speakers, the engine sounds are stunning!

All of this amazing car simulator technology is the platform for iRacing, the world’s number one online racing platform. Developed as a centralised racing and competition service, iRacing organises, hosts and officiates online racing on virtual tracks all around the world. And with their technology, on this platform, it looks absolutely sublime!! Our client also has the comfort of knowing that we are there if needed for upgrades, remote support using secure access systems and a wee bit of calibration now and again when needed. These kinds of projects are the core of our business, taking technology and fulfilling our clients’ dreams. Lairds lairdsav.com

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Love design? Meet Barco Residential. Together with our partners, we create Architectural Digital Canvases that enable the most immersive entertainment Learn more by contacting us at residential@barco.com to request your free digital copy of our Architectural Integration book.

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ESSENTIAL CASE STUDY: LAIRDS

Essential Kit List

Chillout zones meet full throated AV and racing experiences

Custom Built PC Intel Core i9 10920X 12C/24T Watercooled & Overclocked to 4.4GHz ASUS ROG STRIX X299-E GAMING II, Intel X299 chipset 128GB Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 2 x Watercooled 11GB EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti BLACK EDITION SLI 2TB Samsung 970 EVO PLUS PCIe M.2 SSD 4 x Sony Bravia 42in Screens Wyrestorm HDBaseT Extender Set Fanatec CSL Elite F1 Set Soundblaster X G6 ButtKicker Rumble Simulator Kit Multiple Low Frequency Transducers built into the podium Custom Build F1 Chassis and podium Oculus Rift Sonance Sonamp Digital Amplifiers x 3 Sonance Visual Performance 4” Speakers x 20 Sonos Connect Amp x 2 Sonos Connect x 1 Wurlitzer Jukebox

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AUGUST 2020 57


Introducing Arc

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L-ACOUSTICS

LIVE IT LIVE AT HOME Re-produced with the kind permission of L-Acoustics, EI presents a conversation with L‑Acoustics Founder Dr. Christian Heil on the company’s most recent creation, home audio systems based around pro audio technology

WHAT DOES L‑ACOUSTICS CREATIONS MEAN BY HIGH END PROFESSIONAL AUDIO?

This definition, specific to L‑Acoustics, explains the meeting of two worlds: the world of professional audio where our origins lie, and that of high-end audio. To the latter, we now wish to add our offer, bringing our innovative concepts and our sonic signature, characteristic of live performance.

WHAT DOES L‑ACOUSTICS BRING TO HIGH END AUDIO?

High end is generally characterised by a sensitive and delicate approach to audio, and attention to details that are less central to professional audio. Manufacturers in high end tend to neglect the pure performance objectives which constitute the essential metrics of the pro sound world which are linked to its extremely challenging environmental conditions. For example, directivity control, spectral linearity in the beam width, frequency contour stability as a function of SPL, power handling in relation to the signal, achieving distortionfree full range sound at high SPL, the sweet spot, and the optimal coverage zone are all

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concepts that are largely absent from the high end sector. The underlying suggestion seems to be that sound quality is purely subjective, a simple matter of speaker brand or the hardware creator’s artistic signature. But sound is science: verifiable, quantifiable, objective. The pro audio sector has to meet complex criteria to satisfy a wide audience in venues where the acoustics are often poor. The sound designs are rigorous because in a venue where 20,000 people attend a live concert, it is as if 20,000 unforgiving microphones are measuring and bringing their conclusions on the sound quality, right from the first note.

YOU CLAIM THAT THE DESIGN PROCESSES OF PRO AUDIO ARE MORE RIGOROUS THAN FOR HIGH END, BUT HOW IS THIS AN ADVANTAGE FOR RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS?

The reason why a growing clientele is naturally gravitating toward pro solutions comes from the fact that the characteristics of high end; delicacy, sophistication, and design, do not meet the needs of those who have complex and largerthan-average living spaces, often with imperfect acoustics or architectural constraints, or a high reverberation rate, resulting in a cavernous or echoing sound. Nor is the current offer suitable for those who want to party with friends, with a robust, reliable, and enduring sound.

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In fact, the marriage of pro and high end audio that we offer with L‑Acoustics Creations meets the requirements of discerning music lovers, experts and sound engineers alike who seek true sound. This requires exceptional performance and convincing sensory perception.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SENSORY PERCEPTION?

For us, designers of professional sound systems, the essential prerequisite is to meet the specifications of objective performance as I have succinctly described above. In general, sound design is the synthesis of these performances modelled specifically for an environment, such that the sound system and the room together form a sound space that has been optimised for a given audience or public, within the framework of identified applications (speech, classical, rock, electronic music, etc.). These characteristics are objective and measurable. Sensory perception is the subjective factor to which I alluded previously. It only comes into consideration once all the performance parameters are in place. Sensory perception gives credibility to what we hear and elicits emotions because we find the sound true and realistic, forgetting the loudspeakers which disappear behind the sound content in its spectral, dynamic, and spatial dimensions. Our sonic signature incorporates both objective characteristics, through performance, and the more subjective criteria, through perception.

AUGUST 2020 59


L-ACOUSTICS

YOU ARE NOW OFFERING PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTS TO CUSTOMERS WHO ARE NOT PROFESSIONALS? ISN’T THAT A LITTLE COMPLEX?

Yes and no. We offer a carefully chosen selection of professional products, but these products are optimised for private use. The loudspeakers and amplifiers have been selected for their objective and perceptual performance, then packaged as multi-purpose systems, each of which has a natural use scenario. The systems are presented in a range called Archipel, in 2.0 or 2.1, 5.1, atmospheric, or custom configurations. Originally designed as professional loudspeaker systems, all Archipel components have been selected, refined, and sometimes re-designed and tuned for private use without compromising any of the original performance characteristics. The Ibiza system, built around Kara II which is unanimously popular with star DJs, is the most sophisticated system in our Archipel offering. Thus, each Archipel system is designed as a turnkey package with factory presets, and connects easily to the usual home Hi-Fi environment. We go as far as recommending third-party products for streaming, video, and upmixing, in order to help the customer find their way through the jungle of formats and streamers on the market.

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS CHANGE OF COURSE FOR L‑ACOUSTICS? IS IT A PIVOT STRATEGY LINKED TO COVID-19?

Firstly, this is not a change of course. The heart of L‑Acoustics activity remains the professional sector and live performance. It is an integral part of our DNA, an exciting and passionate field. In the same way that Formula 1 serves the wider automotive industry, touring puts audio products and new technologies to the test and places innovation at the very heart of production and artists’ creativity. L‑Acoustics’ mission is to enable audio professionals and artists to elevate the listener experience through innovation and product design excellence. We remain steadfast in our focus on shaping the future of sound as the leader in premium professional sound reinforcement. L‑Acoustics Creations allows us to fulfil our stated mission by introducing the exceptional performance of pro audio into a new user environment: the home. Our affinity for the residential sector started several years ago and since that time we have been taking a holistic approach. Rather than focusing on a single product or technology, our approach has emphasised the transformation

60 AUGUST 2020

of the living space by reconsidering the architectural environment within a framework for sound. We’ve embarked upon an outreach campaign with architects and designers to help them understand that the space in which we live is not only visual and tactile, but also alive with sound. From this came the introduction of “Sound Spaces” immersive hyperreal spaces that you can discover on this site. That said, our current focus on L‑Acoustics Creations Archipel Sound Systems is not entirely removed from the COVID-19 context. During this devastating period for the entertainment industry, it quickly became obvious that music, celebration, and the human connections they make were being sorely missed by people of all origins and from all walks of life. The frustration of confinement created the desire to experience emotion, to feel the communal atmosphere of concerts, celebrations, and parties. As things start to gradually improve, we have witnessed an irresistible urge to meet again around a meal, a glass of wine, and music. Of course, we are unable to bring about an immediate return of live music. But we can and did decide to quickly implement what we had originally planned to do by the end of 2020: make pro audio available to the private sector so that the party could begin again, with music that thrills us and makes us feel more alive!

HOW DO YOU PLAN TO SUPPORT THE INDUSTRY?

L‑Acoustics is first and foremost committed to supporting the people in the profession who are close to us and with whom we have lasting relationships; our customers, our suppliers, and our employees, all of whom we want to help and protect as much as possible. As part of the launch of the L‑Acoustics eStore and L‑Acoustics Creations Archipel Sound Systems, we have opted for wider support by offering our professional users, sound engineers and sound designers the opportunity to offer friends, relatives and contacts discounts on any online purchase of a system. All purchases directly benefit the referring partners during this challenging time for the sector. Some of the people buying our systems will even have the pleasure of meeting one of these expert sound engineers who thrill the public and carry the sound of their artists, venue after venue, concert after concert, come rain or shine. These workers, who remain in the shadows while making artists shine, are also severely impacted by COVID-19 confinement. We are honoured to collaborate with some of the industry’s leading sound engineers as Ambassadors for this new initiative. L-Acoustics l-acoustics.com

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Hi-Fi sound quality in a CI package. Multi-award-winning, High-Resolution 24bit/192kHz audio processing with MQA decoder built-in Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz, Deezer, Napster Amazon and Spotify streaming. Control 4, Crestron, Lutron, ELAN, RTI, URC, Push, and Roon integration Works with BluOS App, Amazon Alexa and AirPlay 2 Simple control and system expansion Multi-Room Streaming with CI features

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PRODUCTS

THE HEART OF A HOME

Acoustic treatments Improving the quality of sound in any room. Artnovion’s considerable achievements are driven by a passion for the very best acoustics, performance and the company’s desire to deliver an amazing customer experience every time. With a huge range of solutions for both residential and commercial installations, including unique diffusers, absorbers, insulation and bass treatment products, Artnovion offers a wide-range of products dedicated to improving the sound environment in any location. Experience what it is that makes Artnovion so different, by visiting rgbcomms.co.uk

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NAD Electronics is shipping the M33, a BluOS enabled DAC/amplifier that can serve as the heart of a reference whole-home system. In its simplest form, the M33 (priced at £3,999 MSRP) is a high-performance streaming amplifier that can also be combined with other players in a BluOS ecosystem of wirelessly networked music players throughout the home. Unusual in a class of products often associated with complexity is the M33’s intuitive operation, courtesy of the 7in touchscreen colour display combined with BluOS. NAD considers it the most advanced network streaming and multiroom operating system available. BluOS integrates hardware and software and supports the new standard for High Res streaming, Master Quality Authenticated (MQA). BluOS also supports over 20 free and paid subscription services as well as supporting locally stored music libraries. Operable with the BluOS app, the supplied remote control or through hands-free control with any Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device, the M33’s front panel doesn’t actually need to be touched. To expand the multi-room locations, adding additional rooms is said to be both easy and affordable. Dirac technology comes as standard with corrections possible up

to 500Hz and an upgrade to the full bandwidth is available for a modest fee. Supplied with the M33 is a precision microphone to measure the room at and around the listening position. Each of the five Dirac memory profiles can store a unique room measurement or different frequency target curves to suit a particular musical taste or genre. The M33 also supports Dirac’s advanced ‘Bass Control’ feature with two independent subwoofer outputs. In its standard form, the M33 is very complete with a wide range of in/outputs, BluOS, Dirac, HDMI eARC. The M33 also comes with two MDC slots that allow for further expansion. The unit can also access other services which deliver high-quality audio such as Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz. Music services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Slacker, TuneIn, nugs.net and many others are also supported. NAD nadelectronics.com

The product is compatible with Crestron, Control4, Lutron, KNX and the Roon music platform

VIDEO STREAM INTEGRATIONS GET FLEXIBLE WITH WYRESTORM NHD-300-TX Habitech has announced the exclusive availability of the Wyrestorm NHD-300-TX to UK CI integrators. Featuring multiple output channel encoding and adjustable stream properties, the NetworkHD NHD-300-TX is a 1080p AV-overIP H.264 open standards encoder that is ideally suited for flexible video stream integrations. Designed to be as flexible and user-friendly as possible in the widest range of live streaming scenarios, the NHD-300-TX is particularly well suited for the easy sharing of lectures within or beyond schools and universities, services within or from places of worship, or product and marketing presentations to global agencies – for example. It generates HDMI source video streaming that can be configured for a wide range of standard transport protocols and offers compatibility with H.264 stream players, recorders and video servers. Supporting HTTP, RTSP, RTP, TCP, RTMP, HLS, UDP, Multicast and Unicast streaming,

the NHD-300-TX makes it easy to live stream events to a broad range of third-party hardware and software solutions such as VLC, Wowza and OBS, as well as popular platforms including YouTube Live, Facebook Live and Twitch through native options in a web UI. Equipped with configurable EDID up to 1080p video resolution and output scaling, the NHD-300-TX will achieve 1080p HD video distribution and low latency transmissions without the need for expensive network infrastructure. By combining standard H.264 compression and established network streaming protocols, transmissions can be decoded globally and locally by a wide range of smart TVs, phones, tablets and web browsers. The NHD-300-TX is also easy to install and configure and can be powered via PoE. Habitech habitech.co.uk

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62 AUGUST 2020

New options from the Wyrestorm NetworkHD family and Habitech

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Accessories for Sonos Move SM-WM Wall Mount for Sonos Move Suitable for use indoors or outdoors UV resistant silicone rubber protects the speaker High grade-steel construction

SM-FS Floor Stand for Sonos Move Bespoke design securely holds the Sonos Move and the charging base Positions the speaker at ideal height for seated listening Includes adjustable carpet spikes and rubber feet for wood/tiled floors

Available from Exertis: 01256 378 550 or Alltrade: 0844 225 2700


ProofVision “Making it work in challenging conditions�

Watching 4K TV in direct sunlight for an out of this world experience.

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PRODUCTS

HARMAN LUXURY AUDIO RECEIVES A CITATION HARMAN’s Luxury Audio Group (LAG) has announced the addition of the Harman Kardon Citation series to its portfolio of audio brands. With immediate effect LAG assumes full responsibility for the distribution and marketing of the Citation series across the UK. The Citation series, launched in 2019, blends smart technology with an unswerving attention to aesthetic detail, says the maker.

Featuring industrial Scandinavian design, including premium blended wool fabrics from Danish textile house Kvadrat, Citation models have been created to deliver a dynamic listening experience, with options to use the wireless speakers individually or to harness multi-room capabilities and build multiple configurations around the home. The Citation line includes multiple countertop speaker options, HDMI-equipped soundbars, a

Harman Kardon Citation is now available from HLA

powered wireless subwoofer, surround speakers and powered speakers. All Citation speakers offer wireless capability and models integrate Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth, Chromecast built-in Google Assistant and hi-res audio support built around powerful amplification. Upcoming Citation line model launches include the Oasis, a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker which features Hey Google, DAB/DAB+ radio, a voice-controlled alarm clock and an integral wireless charge-pad, making it a good partner for use with the latest smartphones. Also due is the Harman Kardon Citation Multibeam 700 soundbar. This compact model uses MultiBeam surround sound technology with room calibration housing seven drivers, featuring HDMI connectivity and coming complete with a full colour LCD display. The Citation Multibeam 700 can be partnered with the Sub S – the line’s new compact, wireless subwoofer capable of powering 100W. Another new arrival is the Citation 200. This neat, portable ‘wire-free’ design comes with a docking cradle, enabling up to eight hours playback time from a single charge. HLA harmanluxuryaudio.com

LEAK SPRINGS FIRST PRODUCT SINCE 1970s British audio brand, LEAK, has returned with its first products for more than 40 years. The new LEAK Stereo 130 is an integrated amplifier featuring state-of-the-art circuitry nestling within a classic LEAK exterior, while the LEAK CDT is a matching CD transport. Featured here, the Stereo 130 is a descendant of a LEAK classic, the Stereo 30 integrated amplifier, which arrived in 1963 as the first commercially available all-transistor amplifier. The Stereo 130 is designed to form the heart of a high-performance, multi-format audio system – ready to deliver vinyl, CD, Bluetooth-streamed and USB-stored music, through all manner of speakers and headphones.

A high-quality, low-noise, JFET-based MM phono stage welcomes turntables, while analogue line-level inputs and optical, coaxial and asynchronous USB digital connections accommodate external CD players, computers, network streamers and TVs. Hi-res PCM (up to 32-bit/384kHz) and DSD (up to 11.2MHz/ DSD256) files are supported. The Stereo 130 also recognises the convenience of streaming music from a phone, tablet or music player over aptX Bluetooth. At its core is a Class AB power amp that draws on many decades of amplifier design experience. A 200VA toroidal transformer is followed by 2x15000uF reservoir capacity, helping the amp to maintain control of the music whilst

enabling dynamic range. Headphone users are well catered for thanks to a dedicated amp stage with current-feedback circuitry, its gain bandwidth and high slew rate. The ES9018K2M Sabre32 Reference DAC chip handles digital-to-analogue conversion, complemented by specially devised circuitry including op-amps selected for their synergy with the ES9018. The layout of the Stereo 130’s digital and analogue circuits has been carefully applied, with independent power supplies feeding all critical stages. Leak leak-hifi.co.uk

The LEAK Stereo 130 is available with or without a real-wood walnut enclosure, at an RRP of £799 and £699 respectively

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AUGUST 2020 65


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PRODUCTS

DIMINUTIVE DIGITAL DENON New from Denon is the versatile CEOL N11 DAB. Building upon the success of the previous CEOL iterations, the CEOL N11 DAB adds DAB+/DAB radio to an arsenal that already included Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, as well as HEOS BuiltIn technology. Denon Home speakers can be added to multiple rooms and controlled with the HEOS app. The CEOL N11 DAB is capable of streaming via Wi-Fi, Ethernet, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth and USB, giving users the choice of a computer, mobile device, NAS (Network Attached Storage), or the internet as the sources for music. In addition to internet radio or music streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Music HD and Tidal, listeners can also tap into the sounds of DAB+/DAB digital radio stations or analogue FM/AM radio. And not forgetting physical media - there’s also a built-in CD player. The CEOL N11 DAB offers high-fidelity sound; a Digital Processing Amplifier incorporates on-board digital EQ processing, tuned to optimise the sound from the Denon SC-N10 two-way speaker system. These speakers have been crafted not just to complement the CEOL system in looks, but also to equal it in sound. Each speaker houses

a high-quality 12cm woofer/midrange driver and a 3cm high-definition tweeter to reproduce sound with clarity and weight, as well as what the manufacturer is calling a ‘perfect tonal balance’. As with previous CEOL designs, the CEOL N11 DAB packages audio technology in a compact casing with striking industrial design. An illuminated touch-sensitive control panel

adorns the top of the unit for intuitive control, while an OLED display offers clear playback information from across an average-sized room. The CEOL N11 DAB is available in ‘sleek grey’, ‘eloquent white’, and ‘understated black’. Denon soundunited.com

CLEARWAYX SPEAKER CABLE STRIKES A NEW CHORD The Chord Company’s most decorated speaker cables, Clearway, have been made even better thanks to an upgrade to the AV cable specialist’s recently launched XLPE insulation technology. ClearwayX is a replacement for Clearway and introduces a number of sound quality benefits over the original design. ClearwayX makes improvements to the critical dielectric (insulation) by upgrading to XLPE. Cross-Linked Polyethylene (XLPE) introduces benefits in phase stability over previously used materials, bringing noticeable sound quality improvements during the company’s testing. XLPE-insulated conductors are built from multi-strand oxygen-free copper and are arranged in a twisted-pair configuration to reduce interference. The two conductors are further protected with a layer of soft PVC in order to correctly space the shielding in relation to the conductors and to minimise any mechanically induced noise. To increase performance further, highperformance shielding is specified: ClearwayX features two contra-wound high-density foil shields that, combined with the twisted-pair configuration, provide a level of shielding that is effective to high frequencies.

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Doug Maxwell, Chord Company’s Sales Director, says, “We’re delighted to make our multi-award-winning Clearway speaker cable even better for 2020 with our XLPE technology. The new ClearwayX has qualities that would normally be associated with considerably more expensive cables, and priced at just £15 p/m, it is both an affordable and highly effective upgrade for music lovers wanting to get the best from the equipment they already own.” ClearwayX is the latest in a line of highperformance Chord Company speaker cables to benefit from the introduction of XLPE technology. The move to XLPE follows the company’s successful implementation of Taylon (its proprietary phase-stable insulation material) in the flagship Sarum T and ChordMusic speaker cables. XLPE has since rolled out to several products across a wide range of price points. The Chord Company chord.co.uk

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ClearwayX is available now priced at £15 p/m.

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PRODUCTS

MARANTZ CELEBRATES MAKING THE EIGHT Marantz has launched the SR-Series, comprising the SR5015 AV Receiver and the AV Amplifiers SR6015, SR7015 and SR8015. Designed to deliver home cinema and listening experiences, the 8K-ready AV receiver line is designed to work with any source, including home theatre, vinyl and streaming media. Like all Marantz products, the 2020 SRSeries AVRs are extensively tuned by sound acousticians at state-of-the-art facilities. The lineup consists of the SR5015 featuring seven channels, with each 180W supporting Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, followed by the SR6015 with 9ch and 185W – adding IMAX Enhanced certification. The later one already features 11.2 channel processing and opens the possibility to extend the setup by an external stereo amplifier. The same counts for the nine channel 200W SR7015 with its second display behind the aluminium trap door and the well-known Auro 3D format added to the list. The flagship SR8015 comes with 11 channel 205W amplifiers built in, 13.2 processing capabilities, DTS:X Pro support and a single board amplifier design, toroidal transformer or copper plated chassis for a flagship performance.

The Marantz SR Series will be available in September apart from the SR7015 which is available now

Marantz marantz.com

ATC GETS ACTIVE The products are available now and are built to order

ATC has announced the availability of the SCM150ASLT, described as a luxurious marriage of world-class transducer and electronic design engineering, conceived to deliver extraordinary levels of clarity, neutrality, transient response and effortless power delivery. ATC says the three-way system comprises flawlessly engineered SCM150ASLT speaker towers incorporating the latest ATC designed and built drive unit technology, combined with an ATC P6 power amplifier. SCM150ASLT drivers including the new 25mm neodymium soft dome SH25-76S super dome tweeter, the 75mm soft dome SM75-

68 AUGUST 2020

150S super dome midrange and the SB75-375SL super linear bass driver are driven directly by the six dedicated channels of the P6 dual-mono, three-way power amplifier, housed in an elliptical billet aluminium chassis, machined and finished to complement the quality of the cabinets. Manufactured to the highest standard by ATC’s own cabinet makers, weighing 116kg and at approximately 1.4m tall, each speaker enclosure is finished in selected European crown-cut walnut veneer with a high-gloss polyester lacquer and detailed with a stainless steel badge, input panel and bespoke limited edition plinth, PVD treated to create an exclusive nickel-like appearance. Deploying proprietary drivers throughout, the three-way system uses ATC’s new SH2576S tweeter, featuring both upper and lower suspension for greater operational precision and lower distortion; the latest evolution of

ATC’s signature soft dome midrange design, the SM75-150S, and the company’s low-distortion SB75-375SL Super Linear bass driver. Combined, they deliver a response accuracy of ±2dB between 60Hz-17kHz and ±6dB from 25Hz to 22kHz across a wide horizontal dispersion and at a maximum SPL of 117dB. The rear-mounted input panel features a single LEMO aerospace-grade 10-pin connector. The P6 is a high-performance Class AB dual-mono power amplifier designed and built by ATC to provide dedicated amplification and optimally matched active crossovers for the SCM150ASLT. It features a total of six channels: 2x (200W LF, 100W MF, 50W HF) for a combined output power of 350W/side. Generating a signal-to-noise ratio of more than 105 decibels its ultra-low noise discreet design, paired with three-way active crossovers with phase equalisation, offers clear and detailed audio reproduction. ATC atcloudspeakers.co.uk

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