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Integra Adopts Ethernet Standard for Distributed Audio
02/04/03 - Distributed audio systems have been one of the major forces driving the growth of the custom installation industry over the past decade, but a lack of standardization, and the difficulties of integrating audio and control signals throughout a whole home has made it complicated, and difficult for busy installers to stay abreast of new developments. Now Integra has completely redefined the way custom installers centralize and distribute audio in consumer's homes with their revolutionary Net-Tune system. Rather than designing yet another complicated system of wiring and system control, Integra has created a system that is completely compliant with Ethernet, the universal standard for home PC networks. Using this all-digital infrastructure, Net-Tune provides improved audio quality, simplified wiring and system setup, seamless integration with home PC networks to deliver internet radio, and a straightforward dedicated music server for a centralized music library."The Net-Tune platform continues Integra's commitment to provide installers with solutions using the latest in control and convergence technologies," states Integra Product Manager Eric Harper. "With the growing popularity of IP-based control systems, Integra's industry-first home theater receivers with native TCP/IP control are perfectly suited for these applications."Ethernet setup and protocols are already familiar to many installers, so Net-Tune requires very little new training and equipment to implement and configure. Net-Tune can be used with any Ethernet-compliant wired or wireless transfer medium, including Cat-5 cable, PC wireless systems, phone lines, and even power lines. This means that every home that installers work on is already structurally prepared to use Net-Tune. All audio and control signals in Net-Tune are transferred entirely in the digital domain, eliminating the signal degradation that inevitably occurs in conventional systems as remote locations get further from the central source, or 'server.' Signals at remote zones are received and decoded by inexpensive and easy-to-use clients, which are available in several forms. The simplest client is the NAC-2.3, an executive mini-system type unit that can be used to drive a pair of speakers, or serve as a source to a pre-existing stereo or home theater system. Integra also offers built-in client functionality in two of its acclaimed home theater receivers, the DTR-7.3 and DTR-8.3. Consumers can run as many as a dozen clients simultaneously, and completely independently, over a single network. The source for a Net-Tune based system is the NAS-2.3, a high capacity hard-drive based dedicated audio server. The NAS-2.3 features an 80 Gigabyte capacity for over 1400 CDs worth of audio stored in the popular MP3 format. The server can store music at multiple MP3 bit rates, or as uncompressed PCM files for exact reproduction of compact discs. Consumers merely load a CD into the built-in tray, and select the track(s) that they want stored, and in what format. When a new CD is copied, the server automatically accesses Gracenote's online CD database, either via computer network or the unit's internal modem, to retrieve and store artist, album, track, genre, and even cover art information for nearly any CD. The NAS-2.3 has a suggested retail price of $2,000. The NAC-2.3 has a suggested retail price of $500. The DTR-7.3 and DTR-8.3 have suggested retail prices of $1,300 and $2,200 respectively. All these Net-Tune system components are all currently available.
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