Habitech’s recent Techfest open days initiative revealed a serious up-grade to the company’s demonstration facilities and also a focus on delivering towards the top end of the market.
The most striking thing about the new demonstration facilities are the two cinemas, one completely new and the larger existing cinema offering a complete upgrade.
Habitech was particularly keen to underline its new exclusive deal with U.S cinema design company CinemaTech. In its home market of America, the company has an impressive track record of providing a complete design service including seats and acoustic treatment for some of the most high-profile cinemas in the country and is now bringing some of its services to the UK via Habitech.
Currently, CinemaTech will be giving UK installers the benefit of its complete design service and acoustic treatments, as of now it can’t offer its cinema chairs due to UK fire regulations being different from the U.S, however the company confirmed to EI that it was working towards resolving this.
This will be a welcome addition as installer feedback on the chairs is that they are very good.
However as of right now visitors can experience the CinemaTech design and acoustic treatment effect in both Habitech’s cinemas.
In the brand new Sonance Reference media room cinema, a bespoke design has been created using CinemaTech’s reflecting, absorbing and diffusing panels, arranged on a sub-frame to generate optimal acoustics, and then decorated/covered with a custom mix of design features and finishes.
This cinema delivers a discreet 7.2.2 Sonance Cinema Reference speaker system, driven by ARCAM processing and Sonance amplifiers. The Projecta HD Progressive 1.1 Contrast Perf acoustically transparent vinyl projection screen, which has been developed with microscopically smooth surface consistency for resolutions up to 16K, is a strong partner for JVC’s new 8K e-shift DLA-NX9 projector which inhabits the cinema.
Clearly making a pitch for the high-quality media living room part of the market, this new cinema is impressive, a very natural and relaxing experience with the system not being too over powering, but still offering a strong performance, all designed to look and feel like a living room.
Timmi Thorsen, sales manager at the company underlined that it’s the company’s ambition to really focus in on this type of area offering a high-quality media room experience into this expanding part of the market.
Timmi also told EI that a new London based cinema experience is being worked right now which the company hopes to have ready in February of next year, more on that when we get it.
Habitech has also refurbished its 14-seat flagship theatre with CinemaTech treatment and recalibrated the systems, including the resident fully-discreet Wisdom 9.4.4 system to demonstrate compelling home cinema detail and dynamics for larger more dedicate cinemas. This cinema has now reached its full potential and delivers a strong demo environment for dealers.
Another up-graded demo space in this part of the showroom offers a chance to experience CinemaTech’s custom wall panels surrounding Sonance VP 46/66/86 in-walls. Around a TV, the LCR channels of a discreet Sonance Soundbar – soon to be available in 55/65/75 and 80in widths – are accompanied by rear in-ceilings, making high-quality low-profile AV straight-forward to install.
Also in this room, the IS4 3-way Invisible speakers generate hidden full-range audio detail from behind a thin layer of plaster on the back wall.
One of the less obvious highlights of the event and certainly of this area, the new Wisdom P2M and P4M point-source on-wall speakers are now joined by the slender S10 sub design, which at only 4.5in (116mm) deep can be used in freestanding upright, down-firing or up-firing positions, sliding discreetly under sofas for instance.
These on-wall designs have real musicality to them, great fun to listen to and a really strong mix of Hi-Fi sensibility meeting CI design.
Elsewhere, and reflecting the breadth of Habitech’s product offering, TechFest guests were introduced to Legrand’s MyHome_Up plug-and-play automation system. Aimed primarily at MDU developers, it delivers control over lights, heating, security, AV, blinds etc without specialist AV programming and installs using standard wiring techniques and DIN-rail modules.
Although MyHome_Up is designed with app control in mind, it’s from Legrand, so on display at TechFest was a selection of complementary wired fittings and styles, available from a large range to help customise control around the home and buildings.
Wyred for AV
Around the corner, a full panoply of 10G-and-up networking technologies was displayed on the WyreStorm wall, created as a walk-through step-up guide, starting at HDBT (via its latest H2X matrix), through AVoIP via WyreStorm’s NHD400/600 tech, to its CAB HAOC-10 18Gbps Active Optical HDMI links. And on the wall opposite, all the bass options from Sonance in the form of discreet in-wall and in-room models. The prize for the most colourful display downstairs had to go to the Yamaha MusicCast wall, showcasing the design and integration versatility, as well as the famous audio quality of this established alternative to the S-word.
Next-gen network tech
Upstairs, Dahua’s new facial recognition software for its 5000 series NVRs was being trained on the TechFest reception area with interesting results. Designed to bring exceptional new capability to the current range of Dahua cameras, the new algorithms not only distinguish between known individuals (VIPs) and strangers, the system is able to log their facial expression as well.
Adding to the latest network tech on offer, Habitech introduced the next-gen Ruckus R730 802.11ax Wi-Fi Access Point together with the ICX 7150 range of switches. Available in 12, 24 and 48 port 10/100/1000 Mbps models with 1/10 GbE dual-purpose uplink/stacking ports, and full PoE/PoE+ support, the new switch line-up will unite all wired and wireless network infrastructure under the Ruckus name to deliver faster and rock-solid networks. Also trailed for availability in 2019, the Ruckus Cloud and Virtual Smartzone services allowing fully-remote network management.
Commenting on TechFest, Habitech’s Jonathan Pengilley, says, “With the new training and demo rooms revealed at Techfest we aim to maximise the value of the time you spend with us. I’m proud of everyone who has worked so hard to create a brilliant new platform for our value-added service to CI and I’m absolutely delighted with the turnout at Techfest: we’ve seen the right people and given all their feedback, created the best impression.”