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Virtual CEDIA Expo 2005 Report
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2005 CEDIA Expo Report

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It’s been so long since Harman/Kardon released their Take Control TC-1000 touchscreen remote that we’d all but given up on the company ever releasing another standalone control. So it was a great surprise this year to discover, while paging through their press release overview before the show opened, that they had indeed finally resurrected the Take Control name with a completely new product: the TC 30. So off to Harman’s booth we went!

A quick glance at this new remote immediately tells us what the TC 30 is: an OEM version of the Logitech Harmony 520 case with the Harmony 880’s innards. This is actually a good thing, since the 520’s form represents a complete break from former Harmony designs, while the 880 series represents their premium technology. So users end up with the best of both worlds: an innovative high-end look, with the technology to match.

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Since the TC 30 is based on the Harmony concept it is naturally an activity-based remote that supports a maximum of 255 devices and 15 activities. It also has a USB port and is programmed online via their huge database of preconfigured ready-to-use devices. Or, users can use traditional infrared learning if preferred. The TC 30 includes a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack and cradle, color LCD screen with 8 surrounding hard buttons, plus numerous other well arranged buttons including a 5-way cursor control.

Although I would probably have preferred to see Harman come up with an original entry in the remote market rather than utilizing existing concepts, the TC 30 is nonetheless a particularly attractive combination of features that will remain unique to Harman/Kardon. The TC 30 is expected to be available in October at a list price of $299.

Remote Technologies Inc.

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RTI is expanding their handheld remote control lineup with the new T4 Universal Controller, a 6.4” color LCD touchscreen remote based on the K4 in-wall touchscreen. The new T4 features full 640x480 resolution combined with a 400MHz 32-bit processor for smooth custom buttons, graphics and animations. The company’s TheaterTouch Designer software will be used for programming.

In addition to the vibrant screen, the T4 also has 13 hard buttons including volume, channel and a 5-way menu cursor control. Interestingly, the front and back panels can be replaced to match the surrounding décor, and the hard buttons can be changed in color or even removed completely if desired. The unit shown at CEDIA had an exceptionally good screen and seemed to operate fast, but was larger, heavier and thicker than expected, seemingly more suited to tabletop rather than handheld use.

Also, somewhat ironically, this in-wall-control-turned-handheld can be converted back into an external wall mount with the optional EM-4 expansion module, which adds dual analog video input, VESA mount and power-over-Ethernet. The T4 will retail for $2,499 and should be available before the end of the year.

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