Reviewed: Invision Home Technology Showcase 2014

posted on Sunday, 18th May 2014 by Steve May

Wyrestorm  Events  Invision UK  JVC 

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It's difficult to imagine a more dramatic location for the Invision UK Home Technology Showcase 2014. London's RAF Museum offered up a gauntlet of historic aircraft for the hundreds of CI and AV professionals who paid the show a visit over its two-day span.

The event, now in its second year, was larger and full of surprises. A wall of curved OLED panels from LG greeted attendees with astonishingly dynamic images. Nearby, JVC was holding demonstrations of its current generation of D-ILA e-Shift3 projectors alongside Sunfire audio gear. The brand confided to Inside CI that new hardware was due to be launched in October, although JVC events and brand manager Ian Perkins admitted he as yet had no idea what was incoming. Interestingly, this year will see the brand's popular DLA-X35 entry level projector dropped from the range, as the company concentrates on the DLA-X500 model and up. "High-end projectors drive the brand forwards. It's our flagship technology," enthused Perkins. He also revealed that it would be sharing its London premise with owners Kenwood from September. Does this herald a move to joint JVC-Kenwood branding in the near future? Watch this space...

Wyrestorm had a large presence at the show, unveiling its new MX-0404-PP-KIT Pro Plus HD matrix with ultra slim receivers, as well as offering the first look at an 8x8 matrix 4K compatible matrix. Also on show was a range of low cost Express line of HDMI switching products, shortly to be bolstered with the inclusion of a low cost DAC.

Ice Cables

Attracting considerable interest at the event was the new HDMI with Grip Lock from ICE Cable (pictured above). "Our patented grip lock system on the connectors can resist about 15lbs of pull force," explained CEO Brian Rizzo. "When you plug it in, it snaps in real tight. Installers are guaranteed a good connection and that will eliminate service calls about HDMIs popping out."

The cable features a small head, just 21mm x 10mm, and is capable of delivering 1080p 60Hz up to 30m. "We also supply both custom and retail packaging," explained Rizzo. "When guys are doing £500K jobs they're not pulling the customer's HDMI cable out of a ziplock bag." The locking cables are available in 1, 2, 3, 5, 7.5, 10. 15, 23, and 30m lengths. Repeater chipsets are built into the longer 15m upwards lengths. "It's hard to do something different in HDMI, but this is a patented feature. It truly is a differentiating factor."

Niles presented an impressive selection of in-wall and in-ceiling architectural loudspeakers (below), both functional and high-performance, while security specialist Lilin showcased its IP product range, including cameras and Network Video Recorders. Offering installers handling larger projects enormous security reach was the versatile NVR Touch, capable of recording 16 channels of HD IP video at 25Fps.

Niles Close

Audio outfit AudioControl used the event to present its two new 4K-capable AV receivers, alongside its compact Rialto 400 amp/DAC. "It's incredible how much Sonos is happening in the UK at the moment," commented CEO Alex Camara. "Sonos does a great job or streaming and the whole customer experience - but it's a little underpowered and for dealers the margins are a little challenging. So what we have here is a matching 2x100w amp incorporating a high performance Wolfson DAC, high performance amplifier cards, digital analogue inputs and AccuBASS circuitry. It's going down really well." Camara said the brand has been warmly received in the UK since stepping up its distribution operatrion here. "We're focused purely on the CI channel, we don't sell through retail or on the Internet," he said.

One of the more extraordinary stands came from Cambridge-based Janus Technology. Specialists in app development and control software for all the key automation protocols, including AMX, RTI, Elan and Control 4, Janus works both with manufacturers and custom installers direct. "If an installer is working on a large, complex installation, perhaps for a high new worth individual, we can write a completely bespoke user interface for them," explained owner Richard Caton, citing a project for a Russian oligarch. "This can also incorporate full biometric control." A demo interface with fingerprint reader was on hand. "It's a completely new development," he said. Caton added that Janus also does iOS and Android programming and lists Naim Audio amongst its clients. "One of the more recent things we're doing is working on a bespoke Android app for a hotel. We can provide any form of bespoke integration. While we've been mainly involved with residential work, we'd certainly like to do more commercial."

For more on the Invision UK Home Technology Showcase 2014, fire up our gallery below. For video reports from the event, visit our Inside CI TV channel here.

For more on Invision UK's product range and services, visit our partner page here.

Also read:
CI dealers flock to Invision Technology Showcase

Wyrestorm outs 4x4 HDBaseT matrix with slim receivers

RTI debuts multi-zone cool power hi-fi distribution amps

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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