Sony enters the Home Automation Market with an AVR. Ho hum.

Excuse me if I sound slightly sarcastic. I love Sony, their ideas, innovation and at least a few of their products. This announcement showed up in my inbox today: “Sony ES Receiver with built-in full Control4 automation”. Being the control freak that I am, I followed the link to Sony’s site and found out…wow. So, you can control all your A/V devices, lighting, environmentals, and do it from your phone? wow. (Can’t even bother to capitalize that one, and certainly on exclamation point!!!) What’s the big deal?

Welcome, Sony, to the already pre-existing world of Home Automation. We’re glad you finally made it, now take a seat at the back, sit and learn.

Here’s the link…have a look, and while you do, mentally substitute “Sony” and “Control4” with “iRule”.

Frankly, this kind of thing anything but new. The first time I turned on a light from a computer was 20 years ago. About an hour later I did it over a dial-up phone line. A couple of years later I did it by voice command.

Today, Platinum Control based on iRule does all of the things Sony and Control4 do and a few things more, like integrate Sonos control, Lutron lighting, Centralite lighting, X-10 and Insteon lighting, thermostat control, video cameras, door access, and basically control anything else that runs on electricity and even some that don’t.

The thing is, Sony provides a control processor built into an AVR. Nice touch, but unnecessary. iRule doesn’t need a control processor at all, just a couple of inexpensive interfaces, or just one if you only are controlling a single room system. When we integrate with Centralite Lighting control, there’s still no need for a lighting control processor, and no expensive repeaters anywhere in the house. Your scenes and presets stay inside the dimmers which talk to each other and create a mesh network. You can even shut down iRule and run your lighting functions and scene presets stand-alone. No special wiring either, it all drops right into existing switch boxes.

Who needs a controller? Oh, and by the way, we NEVER see the blue circle of death.  Sorry, Control4, we don’t have that feature.

Not even going to talk price here, except to say Platinum Control beats them all.

Welcome, Sony, and hello again Control4. Enjoy the empty seats at the back row.

What’s Hot a CES 2013? Ole´ it’s OLED! And Ultra HD.

Here’s a quick look at the what’s Hot at CES this year.

All I can say about OLED is “finally”, and not very enthusiastically. OLED was first brought to my attention years ago as the tech that would win for displays. The enthusiast was my friend Craig who told me at the time that OLED panels would one day cover entire walls and display art, take the place of paint, wallpaper, and lighting. I’d be happy with an OLED TV. But no, it took years…and years…and at CES this week…Bang! OLED is huge.

Why should we care? If you’ve followed display tech, you know that Plasma with it’s actual lighted pixels has been hard to beat, specifically by it’s prime competition, LCD. The reason is that while each pixel on a Plasma display emits light, the LCD only passes light through it, and that light comes from some for of back light system, traditionally a fluorescent panel, but now LEDs. Enter the OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display where again each pixel emits light. It’s like Plasma without the heat and power. It’s like LCD but without the difficulties in calibration. It could, in fact, be the winning display tech for flat panels. And it’s out at CES.

All major display manufacturers have shown OLED screens, and from all reports, they look great.

Then there’s Ultra HD, the new moniker for 4K display. Again, why should we care? If you sit at any distance from the screen your mother would approve of, you couldn’t theoretically see any point to 4K. But that’s not the world we live in, and Mom may be watching a CRT, so, well, WE care. More pixels is better, right? I frankly don’t know! I’ve seen 4K, it looked great. I’ve seen the 4K/2K comparison Sony does. I wasn’t blown away. And where do we get 4K stuff to watch? If you think a download takes time now…Hah!

Anyway, my complaining aside, all major display makers are showing Ultra HD screens at CES too. And some are HUGE. Samsung shows a 110″ Ultra HD panel with smaller units too. The also showed their new take on 3D tech…using one TV to show two different programs at once (secret: use the 3D glasses and you only see the one you want, and hear with built-in glasses, bet they sound fan-darn-tastic).

LG has had an 84 incher since last fall, and now added 55″ and 65″ sets to their Ultra HD lineup.

Sony showed their Ultra HD TVs at 55″ and 65″ with a new-fangled OLED 56″ TV.

No need to go on much, you get the idea. Watch for OLED and Ultra HD at…well…Platinum Home Theaters!

Other tech at CED included more attempts at automated touch-screen remote control…most of Ex-Pen-Sive! And most of them still as lame as ever, like we need more of this: Replication of hand held remotes on your iPad! Oh, come on! If it didn’t work in reality, it won’t work virtually either! But we don’t care, anyway. Our Platinum Control based on iRule still beats everything out there in price, operability, and user experience. Can’t believe it, but you can pay 5 to 10 times as much and not get something as usable. Ok, I’m biased, but I’m also incredibly self-serving and objective. When I find something better, we’ll do that. So far, the gap is widening, not closing. No idea why technology has to complicate life, when iRule can SO simplify it.

There are also a lot of DIY control system projects out there, including a lot of folks doing their own iRule systems. That’s great! It moves the technology forward. But if you want the function and just can’t get your head around a huge DIY project, you don’t have to. Platinum Control is that system…done…right. Give us a call, we’ll bring over the demo and prove it.

Stay tuned from more from CES!