Archive for March, 2008

Control4 announced its new controller

control4 hc500

Control4 has added Linux-based, ZigBee-compatible home automation/media networking controller – HC-500. It’s positioned as the mainstream controller choice in between Control4’s low-end HC-300 and luxury HC-1000. The primary goal of producing of HC-500 is a media server, intended for large home theaters requiring extensive I/O connections for device control. However, it also will coordinate lighting, temperature, video cameras, and manual controls such as blind- and garage-door openers. The HC-500 sprots a 160GB hard drive which is, in my opinion, extremely small even for modern media center. Additionally it’s equipped with two USB ports, one Ethernet port, four serial ports (DB9), analog and digital audio I/O jacks, and ZigBee and optional WiFi adapter (Control4 chooses ZigBee because it’s an open standard, unlike Z-Wave, and has more bandwidth. However, support of Z-Wave is gonna be added as well).

The HC-500 can be controlled via on-screen GUI on TV, a various touchscreens or web interface. Using Windows-based Composer Home Edition application, users can customize the system according to his/her requirements.

The HC-500 is shipping now and tagged at $1500.

[via LinuxDevices]

Do not miss HADesigner Workshop!

A web/telephone based workshop, which will be held on the 29th of March, at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time was announced on the LinuxMCE site. It is scheduled for two hours. It’ll cover following topics:

  • Orbiter UI Theory and Implementation
  • About Inherited User Interface Design
  • An explanation of the main UI targets currently in use
    • UI1 Horizontal 3:4 (used for TVs and horizontally oriented orbiters such as tablets.)
    • UI1 Vertical 4:3 (used for PDAs)
    • UI2 Horizontal (used for the UI2 TV displays)
    • Symbian 60 (the variation used to describe the mobile orbiter displays)
    • SmallUI (for The Cisco 7970), as well as a small mention of skin variations
  • Loading and looking around in HADesigner
  • DesignObj manipulation
  • Children of DesignObjs
  • Grouping DesignObjs
  • Attaching events to DesignObjs (for buttons, etc.)
  • Using orbiter’s Goto Design Object for basic testing
  • A mention on assigning to screens, and using ScreenGen. can’t go into detail.
  • A mention of the other common designobj types… Arrays, Datagrids, and Desktops
  • Discussion on Skins
  • Other Discussions that may result.

To be productive, please, setup HADesigner according to this wiki article and read that forum topic to configure audio and video from the workshop on your PC.

HAI ships new line of video surveillance products


Home Automation, Inc. or HAI started to ship its new surveillance system. It includes a Network Digital Video Recorder (NDVR) and two high resolution cameras, along with various accessories.

NDVR sports 4-channels which allows to connect up to 16 cameras. It can be used stand-alone to view video via its embedded web server or used in conjunction with an HAI home control system where cameras can be viewed on HAI’s family of touchscreens, over the Internet or smartphone.

I like the ideology of HAI. It produces devices which can be used together with HAI home automation system as well, as stand-alone or with third part smarthome software.

[via CEPro]

Panasonic makes investments in Z-Wave


Yesterday Panasonic joined to the Zensys’s investors. This means that the next generation of Panasonic A/V devices will possible use Z-Wave to transmit commands instead of IR or RF. As a bonus we’ll have a possibility to control whole house using just one remote and a simple way to integrate A/V equipment into one home automation solution.

Except Panasonic the list of Zensys investors includes Intel Capital, Cisco, Bessemer Venture Partners, Palamon Capital Partners and Sunstone Capital.

[via CEPro]

VDR 1.6.0 is gonna be used in LinuxMCE

Yesterday I heard a good news. LinuxMCE development team decided to use the latest stable release of VDR instead of 1.4.7. Right decision indeed. VDR 1.6.0 includes a lot of improvements like support of UTF-8, better integration with CAM, better implementation of functionality to decode HD signal. With support of UTF-8 it shouldn’t be any problems with displaying of Russian EPG on the on-screen menu and showing correctly Russian names in the recorded file names. Which is not possible with version 1.4.7 without UTF-8 patch. Improvement of HDTV support is also important because many people want to watch HD on their wide screen TVs.

The first version of LinuxMCE 0710 Beta 4 (maybe it’ll be Beta 5) with VDR 1.6.0 will be available in the beginning of April. Hope it’ll include some improvement for VDR on media director as well.

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