Integrators Discourse on Distributed A/V
What does the installation crowd say it wants from manufacturers when it comes to distributed audio/video gear?
The quick answer: Simplicity, standardization and deeper levels of interoperability among brands.
And the good news for installers is that suppliers, with each succeeding product generation, are moving swiftly in those directions.
Eric Wachenschwanz, lead technician at Memphis, Tenn.-based Phoenix Unequaled Home Entertainment, yearns for an across-the-board simplicity along the lines of one of his favorite brands in the field, Control4. “For lots of customers,” he says, “you install equipment and they live with it, but they don’t understand it. With the Control4 stuff, though, no matter how big the system gets, it still controls the same way.”
Wachenschwanz adds that there are other systems Phoenix uses for audio and video distribution, including AMX’s step-up solutions, which afford his team additional flexibility and functionality.
As far as future innovation from manufacturers, he says he yens for more wireless solution choices—particularly as the retrofit market grows in proportion to the new-build slump. “I like ZigBee,” he says. “You can use it as repeaters. We’ve also been working with Bluetooth solutions. We were dealing with some control issues we had with a projector, and we found a Bluetooth device that would allow us to control the projector. It was interesting to find that. So it would be really cool if we could get some more Bluetooth stuff involved with what we do.”
Donald SooHoo, vice president of purchasing for Paradyme Sound & Vision in Sacramento, Calif., says that the last two years in the evolution of distributed A/V have been pivotal in moving the product category forward. SooHoo, whose company regularly works with NuVo, Crestron and Escient, says that “the most important trend for us was systems with two-way communication between the keypad and control system. With the content that’s being played in homes now—XM Radio, music servers—it’s important to have two-way communication, so the user knows what’s playing.”