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Five Things to Know About Lighting Control

Lighting control is more than just a light switch.

5 Things to Know About Lighting

First off, unless you’ve been exposed to advanced lighting control at a friend’s house or in a dealer’s showroom, you probably don’t even know what the term refers to. For most people, lighting control consists of on/off switches and dimmers, placed at the entrances to rooms or on lamps. The truth is, lighting control can be a whole lot more than that. We’ve rounded up the top five things people don’t know, but should, about lighting control (and we’ve thrown in a bonus item too).

From the “Soon To Be Related to Home Entertainment” Department

Later this year, Hewlett-Packard researchers say, they expect to deliver to the U.S. Army a working prototype of what they're calling a "Dick Tracy wristwatch" - a lightweight, wearable device that soldiers in the field can use to view digital maps and other data on a flexible plastic screen that won't shatter or crack like glass. The device will be able to run on the power from a small, flexible solar panel that can be part of the wristband. Researchers say HP's prototype could be one of the first in a new wave of products incorporating flexible electronic displays that can roll up like a newspaper. Can you say "magic disappearing home theater screen"?

"You can start thinking about putting electronic displays on things where you wouldn't ordinarily think of having them," said Nick Colaneri, a scientist and director of the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University. Flexible plastic displays may be developed to provide tablets, smartphones and other portable computers with big screens that weigh less and are far more durable than today's models, said Carl Taussig, director of advanced display research at HP Labs in Palo Alto. Taussig's team is working with plastic film that is both lighter and thinner than glass, and which can be stored in rolls. Their method resembles the way newspapers are printed from giant spools of paper. The display requires little power because it has no backlighting and uses electricity only to create a new page.

Denon Announces Major Hardware and Firmware Upgrade

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3Di Pass-Through, Audyssey and Dolby Upgrades Added


Denon Electronics is offering owners of its flagship AVR-5308CI A/V receiver and AVP-A1HDCI MultiMedia preamplifier a major hardware and firmware upgrade that will provide full 3D pass-through capability, as well as Audyssey MultEQ XT32, Audyssey DSX and Dolby PLIIz.


"We are very excited to bring these leading-edge features to owners of our flagship products, noted Jeff Talmadge, Director, Product Development & Systems Integration, Denon Electronics. "Early adopters who purchased these components nearly 4 years ago bought them with the confidence that they would experience the very best home entertainment for years to come. This upgrade opportunity is yet another example of how Denon is committed to ensuring that our customers are ‘future ready' and remain at the leading edge of all the latest performance-enhancing technologies."

SurgeX Protects Premium 240V Components

SurgeX, of Zebulon, N.C., manufacturer of AC power products that combine surge elimination with power conditioning, has unveiled its XN240, the only 240 Volt NEMA surge elimination product on the market as of this writing. The XN240 is designed to protect larger products, projectors and video display panels that require 240V service. The XN240 unit, housed in a NEMA box, is hardwired as an in-wall subpanel at the service entrance or the equipment room, offering a solution for AV systems where rack space is at a premium.
According to Surgex, there are currently no other solutions for sensitive 240V gear currently on the market, meaning that these expensive devices are left without required protection. When the panel/projector is connected to an outlet fed through the XN240, the SurgeX unit will protect and condition the AV component from the branch circuit. 

How to Select Your Installer Part 1

The custom installation industry was born out of real needs. The technologies and advancements show no sign of abating. Custom installers have seen periods akin to the Gold Rush as well as volatile times, which have reflected the economy's severe downturns. Stalwart, long-term integrators have disappeared while a plethora of new ones have emerged. Presuming you don't own a tool belt and have no real installation experience (programming your phone doesn't count), you will need the expertise of a good custom installer. See the Checklist below to help you make the best selection.

Tributaries® New HDMI Cables Perform Over Long Distance

As a consumer, you might not be aware of the critical role cables play in your system, especially when sending HD signal over significant distance. Consider your cables as the final components, responsible for preserving pristine signal quality. In that light, it's big news that Tributaries® has unveiled its new line of cables - HEC HDMI with Ethernet The new models conform to the performance requirements consistent with all the new HDMI v1.4 upgrades. Additional improvements on the connectors and the cables provide easier installation and improved signal transfer over long distances. The new HEC cable has one extra conductor in the number 14-pin position, previously unused on the HDMI connector for the dedicated Ethernet Channel.

LALED Releases First LED Lamps Compatible With All Lighting Automation Systems

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Manufacturer LALED of Lafayette, LA, has introduced its built-in dimming circuitry allowing for simple integration into any lighting system. LALEDʼs dimming circuitry is built into each LED lamp allowing for simple screw-in installation without the inconvenience of blinking lights found in competitors' similar LED recessed lights. There is also no need to rewire the house for external LED drivers. LALEDʼs drivers are compatible with all digital dimmers and automation systems on the market and are among the first to function as a stand alone dimming light with digital dimmers such as Lutron Radio RA, Maestro, Crestron Lux, Crestron InfiNET, Vantage, Leviton, and many more. Most digital dimmers are unable to handle LED lighting and malfunction when LEDs are its only load.

LALED has 40% of its manufacturing in Houston and will continue to move up to 80% of its manufacturing to the United States over the next two years. Now, if the manufacturing plant was located in LA (Los Angeles, not Louisiana) we could ask the perennial question: "How many Californians does it take to change a light bulb?" Answer - First, they have to want to change....

To learn more, click here:

What’s Next After 3D? Appear in Your Own Movie

If you guessed "4D" to the question above, you might not be far off. Companies like Phase Space are working on a technology, which allows actors to wear sensor suites and translate their actions, real time, into animated characters. To do this level of work for commercials and movies - a la "Avatar" - typically costs between $1,000 and $10,000 a second. PhaseSpace's solution costs about $10 a second. Says author, Rob Enderle: "While in its beginning stages, the concept of people being able to enter the movies they watch, or eventually being able to create 3Di movies could dramatically alter both what we watched and how we interacted with it. This technology may be applied to gaming via a head-mounted controller and voice-alteration." Imagine "virtual cameras" which allow the director to walk around, look at the tablet, and see into the movie world from all angles, making for intriguing participatory experiences.


The Next Big Thing: Crowd Sourced Movies and Immersive HD Games

According to Enderle, it isn't hard to imagine that an immersive game, properly cut and directed, couldn't actually be an interesting movie. When you combine the ability to immediately translate real actors into high-definition, animated, photo-realistic characters, in realistic, real-time-rendered environments, and view them all in real time, you have the potential to bend gaming and movies in a way that we may not be able to tell the difference.


To watch a sample, click here: 
To read the complete article by Rob Enderle, click here:

Bye Bye Battery

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Did you ever dream you could dump your batteries and pull electricity from the air? Electrical engineering researcher Paul Theilmann is working on power-scavenging "freegan" sensors to collect unused radio frequency energy from the air and use it instead of batteries.

His first foray is into environments where batteries are hard to replace and directed, radio-frequency energy is difficult to deliver. Cell phone towers and radio transmitters emit plenty of unused energy but collecting it is tricky. Theilmann's work enables his sensors to run on weaker, wireless signals. One of his innovations is a rectifier that converts wireless energy to direct current (DC).

High-Quality Video Streaming in Congested Networks

According to members of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and staff at Princeton University, ever-increasing video programs-all of which compete within limited Internet bandwidth-are deteriorating the quality of the video. This is something every computer user has encountered.

One of the solutions proposed is "Content-Aware Distortion-Fair (CAF). This algorithm allocates available bandwidth during periods of high congestion by applying a frame-drop distortion metric, which maximizes video playback. When sharing resources-such as bandwidth, the video clips can help each other to get a fair quality-of-service or less-perceived distortion (i.e., lazy sequence helps out busy sequence).

The Streaming Media Systems Group, a collaboration between Hewlett-Packard Labs and Stanford University, is also working on an advance in streaming technology called "Rate-Distortion Optimized" (RaDiO). The goal: to maximize video quality at the receiver end while overcoming frame loss and buffering delays.

 To read the Princeton White Paper, click here and bring your calculator: 

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