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Virtual CEDIA Expo 2005 Report
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2005 CEDIA Expo Report

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Thomson Consumer Electronics

Thomson is the name behind a number of popular brand names, such as RCA, but it was under their Acoustic Research lineup that we discovered the ARR1540, a unique touchscreen remote control that was apparently released some months ago without fanfare.

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The ARR1540 continues in the tradition of large, horizontal iconic LCD remotes but mixes in a few interesting frills that manage to set it apart. First, it’s a 15 device remote with full learning capabilities, along with a “smart” preprogrammed code database, 10 macros with 25 steps each, 6 timers, plus a TV sleep timer. But what’s most interesting is that it also comes with a built-in atomic clock that automatically synchronizes with the NIST radio transmission, and even has an indoor temperature sensor (so now you’ll know just how much heat the projector puts out over two hours). Who says your remote need only control audio/video devices?

On the physical side this remote control is a large and unusually wide model, best suited to lap or tabletop use. The LCD touchscreen is fully backlit and measures 4.5” wide and 2.25” high and has a total of 40 soft keys, 31 designated for device controls. The hard buttons on the right side of the screen include volume, mute, channel and last channel recall, 5-way menu cursor plus four surrounding keys, power, and three other buttons used to navigate the remote.

Unfortunately the folks at Thomson had neglected to bring along batteries so we were unable to see the remote in action. The ARR1540 is available now and has a list price of $179.

Logitech Inc.

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Although we were expecting to see the previously leaked Harmony 890 and 520 remotes at this year’s CEDIA, we were instead treated to a model we had not yet heard of: the Harmony 890 Pro. The biggest difference between the 890 Pro and the current 880, on which the 890 design is based, is the inclusion of RF capabilities so that you can control equipment that’s out of the line of sight.

But this isn’t just the normal run-of-the-mill RF-control-of-IR-devices that we would expect on a remote control, instead Logitech has integrated the Z-Wave system, a new RF protocol that’s designed to standardize RF communications for lighting systems, climate control, security systems and so on. The 890 Pro will be able to communicate directly with RF lighting devices supporting the Z-Wave standard. Otherwise the 890 Pro includes the same features as the 880, including direct control of IR equipment, a color LCD screen, rechargeable lithium ion battery, online setup and the company’s exclusive Smart State Technology.

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