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issue: September 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Product Review
Smart Appliances


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Flip-Up Home Control

Crestron Electronics calls its new QM-FTCC-TPS the first flip-top touch panel for home network control. It mounts flush onto a tabletop to conceal all cables, and opens to reveal the a.c. power outlet and computer connectivity such as VGA, audio, and LAN cable connections. The 3.6-in, active-matrix color touchscreen offers a customizable user interface for controlling audio, video, lighting, screens, and other devices. The 18-bit Isys graphics technology produces 3D graphics, dynamic text, and full-motion animation with WAV file audio feedback. The ten programmable pushbuttons are translucent with white LED backlighting and engravable faceplates.

The unit disengages the touchpanel controls when the lid is not fully open. Inputs and cabling are hidden beneath the table surface and stowed within the controller compartment. Excess cables drop below the box and out of sight through silkscreen-labeled, grommeted holes in the bottom plate.

Signals leaving the controller are converted to Crestron’s QuickMedia™ transport and transmitted on a single CresCAT™ cable, which uses a standard RJ45 connector. Two gated microphone inputs are included, using terminal block connectors below the table surface.

Crestron, based in Rockleigh, NJ, U.S., says complete MediaManager systems can be configured easily for a variety of applications using its SystemBuilder™ software. www.crestron.com

A Hub for Home Media

Digital Entertainment Centers from HP were introduced with support for ATSC high-definition TV so users can tune and record over-the-air HDTV. The digital entertainment centers also include LightScribe direct-to-disc labeling technology.

According to Palo Alto, CA, U.S.-based HP, its all-in-one digital entertainment solution was engineered with the power of a high-performance PC to allow one device to help personalize enjoyment of TV, movies, music, photos, and videos. Consumers use one remote control to record and pause live TV, play DVDs and home videos, access music libraries, display digital photos, burn CDs and DVDs, and surf the Web. The device is designed to integrate with existing audio/video equipment, and the connection of an HP Digital Media Center Extender allows media to be controlled and enjoyed throughout the home.

The front-panel 9-in-1-memory card reader enables transfer of digital photos, and the remote control can be used to create an image slideshow.

The smart appliance is equipped with five video out connectors, DVI-D, component video, VGA, S-video, and composite video output ports. A 14-day programming guide, for use with the built-in personal video recorder, is a free download with a broadband Internet connection. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound is supported via coaxial RCA or optical toslink connections.

Supported audio playback formats include MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, and PCM, and the unit plays audio CDs, DVD-video, and WMV HD DVD movies. It provides progressive scan DVD movie playback at 480p. Network support includes 802.11 b/g integrated wireless receiver and it has a 10/100/1000 Base-T Gigabit Ethernet port. The FM tuner has pause and replay capabilities.

The unit comes with a wireless, lap-size entertainment keyboard with integrated trackball mouse. Processing power comes from an Intel Pentium 4 530J

Network Your Video

Panasonic’s new network camera has a built-in Web server to allow remote video monitoring via a network or the Internet on any Internet-enabled device, such as a PC, PDA, or compatible cell phone.

Mike Timar, national marketing manager of Facsimile and IP Products, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company (Secaucus, NJ, U.S.), says the camera also offers a two-way audio feature, making it ideal for monitoring a home or business from anywhere in the world.

The BB-HCM381A Network Camera offers 640 x 480 live video at up to 12 frames per sec or 320 x 240 video at 30 frames per sec. The camera is also equipped with an SD memory card slot for image recording.

The compact camera can be placed anywhere an Ethernet (10/100 BaseT Switch) connection is available. Images automatically upload to its built-in Web page for browser viewing. For easy access to the video, the network cameras use embedded software that creates a personal, permanent, password-protected Web address on the free Viewnetcam.com service.

The BB-HCM381A can connect to two optional security devices such as motion sensor or smoke detector, and can be programmed to e-mail an alert when an alarm is triggered. It can also be connected to a door opener and relay to grant authorized access to visitors via remote control. www.panasonic.com

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Panasonic Industrial Co.
 

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