Yesterday the Home Theater, Tomorrow the Whole House!
Hello again from URC! You’re reading the third edition of our new monthly e-newsletter, Control the Universe.

This month, we again show that URC is more than just remote controls. With products like the KP-4000 In-Wall Network Keypad, the MRX-1 Network Base Station, the PSX-2 Personal Server and URC Lighting by Lutron, URC is branching out into whole home entertainment and automation control. And wait until you see what we have coming later this year!

We’ve highly appreciated your feedback and suggestions, and we look forward to reading your impressions of our latest issue. Please continue to send your thoughts to us at editor@universalremote.com! Your feedback will make this newsletter a better information source for all URC dealers.

Remember, too: This is your newsletter. We invite you to be a part of it! Suggest an article idea, offer to contribute a column, give us an interview, inform us of your business success stories, or tell us about a cool installation or installer. We’re open to any and all of your ideas!

As always, we hope you enjoy Control the Universe, and we hope you pass it on to your co-workers. Even better, encourage them to sign up themselves at www.universalremote.com/newsletter.

Our best wishes for a great May. It was a long winter for many of us, so springtime this year is more welcome than ever!

- Your friends at URC
Residential Systems Reviews the URC MX-5000
Dennis Burger of Residential Systems has reviewed our MX-5000 remote, and he liked what he saw. Dennis calls the MX-5000 “a rocking device that combines many of the best aspects of touch screen remotes (customizable graphics and simplicity of operation) and hard-button controllers (not having to constantly look at the remote to operate it) in one beautifully built package.” Dennis lauds the MX-5000’s “brilliant ergonomic design and two-way Wi-Fi functionality.” Thanks Dennis!

Residential Systems also ran a peer review of the MX-5000 by Dan Paulson of Paulson’s Audio & Video, who says the MX-5000 cures the dreaded “fat finger disease” so common among touch screen users. Thank you, Dan!

Check out the review here!

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Product of the Month
URC Lighting Control by Lutron

If your last installation did not include URC Lighting Control by Lutron, it could be that you’re still in the dark about dimmers. Here are the top five reasons why you should add this trick to your bag:

Native Control
URC remotes control the dimmers and switches directly via RF. No additional parts are ever needed. It’s so simple that there is no excuse for not being able to dim the lights from the comfort of the couch.

Easy Operation
Homeowners can change the lighting scenes as often as they like, all by themselves. No truck rolls or late-night visits are required. In less time than it takes to speed dial the installer, the homeowner can reset lighting scenes using a simple press-and-hold operation.

Scalable Solutions
URC offers a flexible entree into installing lighting control. Build a small system, one dimmer at a time. And if local regulations limit access to high voltage to licensed electricians, you can install a URC lamp dimmer; it simply plugs into a wall outlet.

Your Customers Will Love You for It
Your clients will enjoy all of the benefits of lighting control: reduced energy usage and associated energy costs, improved security and the ability to create comfortable ambiance. Dimming a light by 25 percent results in an average savings of 20 percent in electricity, and extends the life of an incandescent bulb by a factor of four.

More Revenue for You
Add two dimmers and one switch to the average install and you’ve just put an extra $200 or more in your pocket. That beats a poke in eye. And experience has shown that a customer who starts with lighting control in one room soon wants dimmers and switches all over the house.

URC Lighting Control is backed by two of the biggest names in the business—URC and Lutron Electronics—both relentlessly committed to quality, reliability, service and support. Click here for more info on URC Lighting Control by Lutron!

Be sure to check local ordinances regarding license requirements before installing any high voltage device in a customer’s home. Read and follow the included installation directions, and observe derating requirements when ganging.

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See Our New Cable Remotes at NCTA’s The Cable Show!
You know us for our sophisticated residential and commercial control devices, but did you know that URC is the control behind the nation’s largest subscription broadcast providers?

Supplying the cable and satellite industries is an important part of our business. So once again, we are exhibiting at the National Cable & Telecommunication Association (NCTA) Cable Show, to be held May 11 to 13 in Los Angeles. URC will be greeting attendees in Booth 753 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

This year, URC will show three of our newest cable remotes, including one that’s never been shown publicly before. The brand-new remote, the UR2-DTA, is specifically designed to operate Digital-to-Analog converter boxes, which many operators have rolled out as temporary solutions for reclaiming bandwidth. Typical OEM remote controls for these installations commonly only operate the converter box. The UR2-DTA is an efficient two-device remote that is specifically intended for use with a Digital-to-Analog converter and a television set.

The world's leading cable and subscription broadcast providers rely on URC for their remote control needs. URC understands the rigorous household demands that can be placed on cable or satellite set-top box remote controls, and manufactures its products to meet the highest standards. URC matches its superior manufacturing and quality control with advanced programming features to enhance the user experience.

If you happen to be attending The Cable Show, please stop by and see us!

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See you at InfoComm! (Booth C5586)
InfoComm is the largest information communications tradeshow in the world, and is renowned as the only professional AV B2B show in the U.S. Last year, 29,000 AV professionals from more than 80 countries attended, and from all indications, this year’s show will be even bigger.

Who should attend? Any dealer or installer who currently derives a portion of their income from commercial installations—or would like to.

When and where? Las Vegas Convention Center, June 5-11 (trade show exhibits are open June 9-11). URC is exhibiting in Booth C5586.

Why bother? Commercial AV vertical markets (education, boardroom and hospitality in particular) offer great opportunities for right-minded custom installation professionals. Want to expand your business model? InfoComm is a great place to start.

Why is URC exhibiting? URC has outgrown the family room and is staking a claim in the boardroom. Our Network Keypad Solution, the KP-4000 Network Keypad coupled with our MRX-1 Network Base Station, is perfectly suited for commercial installations. But the biggest reason we exhibit is to talk to you—the custom AV installation professional.

More information about the show is available at www.infocommshow.org. Stop by our booth if you’re attending!

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Learn and Earn with the NEW URC University!
The best training in the industry just got better with the launch of our new online educational center: URC University!

At URC University, you can track your training progress, take self-paced classes, sign up for webinars, even sign in electronically for live events! All of your learning experiences will be documented, creating a transcript that provides an archive of your completed courses. Certificates of completion are easily downloaded for any and all completed courses, and remain available any time in your transcript. You’ll find course materials in one place, and you can easily download handouts, manuals and related items.

And how’s this for even more incentive to attend URC University? You can earn BlueBucks by successfully completing the quizzes that are offered for all of our self-paced classes. Like frequent flier miles, BlueBucks can be accumulated and redeemed for gift cards at hundreds of national retailers and restaurants.

You can access URC University via the URC Control Room. So visit our online campus soon and get certified for our Network Series online. And stay tuned for more, as we’ll continually be developing new courses and training tracks for URC University.

URC: The industry’s best training keeps getting better!

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URC Talks to CE Pro about HTSA
URC’s Doug Cole, Lars Granoe and Scott Srolis attended last month’s HTSA spring summit in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. CE Pro asked for their thoughts on the event. Check out the interview here!

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Julie Jacobson, editor-at-large of
CE Pro and editor of Electronic House
Know Your Industry Journalist
In this new feature of Control the Universe, we’ll interview a prominent custom installation industry journalist, in the interest of helping you get to know them better beyond their bylines.

This month, we kick off with Julie Jacobson, editor-at-large of CE Pro and editor of Electronic House. Julie is a tireless chronicler of (and advocate for) the custom installation industry whose frequent articles and blog posts on CEPro.com stir some great debates. Julie also maintains a frequently hilarious personal blog. Without further ado, here’s our Q&A with Julie!

How did you become a part of the custom installation industry?
I started my professional life—after Chuck E. Cheese and all—in marketing at Arius, which was then the number-two security distributor after ADI. CEO Ken Moyes and I thought our dealers needed to expand beyond security, so we formed a division called Home Systems Plus. In addition to distributing home control products (Xantech, X10, Leviton), we provided training at about $850 for two days. Dealers ate it up.

Ken stumbled across this cheesy little magazine on the newsstand called Electronic House and thought it would be a great brand for us. He called the publisher, bought the magazine, and sat on it. When Arius was sold, Ken asked if I wanted to run the magazine with him.

“What would I do?” I asked.

“I guess you would be the editor and I would be the publisher.”

“What do editors and publishers do?”

“I dunno, we’ll figure it out.”

And we did, eventually. The original EH editor, Lisa Montgomery, is still with us. We launched CE Pro (then HA Pro) shortly after starting EH Publishing in 1994.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a CE Pro editor?
Trying to write meaty stuff without ticking people off. Believe it or not, I really try not to tick people off. If I think something may be too harsh, I’ll run it by my colleagues first.

What does your average day look like?
I’m a morning person so I get up early—like 3:30 this particular morning to wrap up this piece and head to the airport.

I check about 40 RSS feeds through iGoogle to catch up on tech news, then get to writing. I hate writing, I truly do.

Then there’s interviews, and teleconferences, and EH brand meetings, and editorial planning, and making PowerPoints...

I work closely with our salespeople, after they stop yelling at me for not writing enough about their clients. We do this thing at EH in which anyone who sells something—big or small—sends an email to the entire staff. That’s a lot of email but it’s great for morale and I for one get a huge kick out of it.

I like to post at least a couple stories online every day and promote them on Twitter (@juliejacobson). I’ll check cepro.com and electronichouse.com non-stop for comments. I’m also addicted to Google Analytics, checking our site statistics throughout the day. I also check remotecentral.com and integrationpros.org several times a day, mostly to see what terrible things they’re saying about us.

And, yes, I’m usually still in my pajamas until early afternoon when I’ll do the stationary bike or take a jog during the 10 days of Minnesota summer.

I get about 400 emails per day and I’m terrible about responding. Sorry guys. If these pesky PR people would just leave me alone...

I often punctuate the day, when I’m not traveling, with visits to dealers, and we have a group of CE Pros in the Twin Cities that meets every month. I recommend it.

Today, I head to Chicago for a day to visit with Abt Electronics and M&K.

What was your favorite CE Pro story of all time?
Great question! Of course, I like the ones that get picked up by Slashdot and deliver tens of thousands of page views, but my favorite of all time was “Circuit City Firedog Employees Defy Cargo Pants Rule,” an exclusive investigation into just what makes up cargo pants. To that, “Brian” commented, “Are you serious? This was worthy of an article? Is this what you guys do around there? Get to work.”

The most controversial story I ever did, generating 219 comments, was “Who Owns the Code? CE Industry’s Dirty Little Secret.” It was a strong story that needed to be written. As editor of Electronic House, I was getting lots of calls from distraught homeowners who learned that their $100k Crestron systems would have to be rebuilt from scratch. I was embarrassed for the industry.

Unfortunately, in the original version of the story, I was completely insensitive to one Chicago integration firm that went out of business (about which I got all those consumer calls). I probably will never forgive myself for that.

What do you like to do in your spare time (assuming you have any spare time)?
Hypothetically, if I had spare time, I would like hiking—the real woodsy stuff. I already hiked coast-to-coast across England and I’d love to do the Appalachian Trail.

And, hypothetically, if I weren’t such an old fart, I’d love to play recreational Ultimate Frisbee, which I still did until about five years ago. I was a superstar in my day.

I’ve been married 10 years to industry guy Duane Paulson (www.sequeltechnologies.com) and we’re still annoyingly in love (we Skype each other all day, OK?) and just like to hang out. I’ve got two great stepkids, Nick (24) and Maggie (20) who, whenever we all get together, it’s a blast.

Duane and I love our Sundays. He picks up the NYT. We sit on the couch or outside and read, read, read. I work on the crossword puzzle literally all day. I really suck at it but it keeps me off the streets.

Tell us about your personal blog.
The subtitle of JulieJacobson.com is: “That Julie ... Something's definitely wrong with her.” Does that say enough? It is irreverent, sometimes dirty, and nasty to people and policies I don’t like.

Oh yes, it’s funny and features some great industry caricatures you have to see to believe.

What is the biggest threat to the custom installation industry, and how do we confront it?

Arrogance is a biggie. Many pros can’t fathom doing anything except uber-custom theaters and automation systems.

I know dealers making great money on products like Sonos, and I know several very high-end integrators who have started divisions around more cookie-cutter systems.

Our industry needs to move beyond the old business models and explore new opportunities, which was the theme of EHX Spring in March and going forward. After EHX, I’ve heard from many dealers who now want to learn more about home health technology, digital content, retrofit and more. That’s good.

And to me, this is one of the biggest threats of all: the inability to set consumer expectations. They have to know that custom electronics require upkeep, and that they will have to pay to maintain their systems, in most cases. So many customers blow their wad on a fancy system and don’t realize how much effort may be required to maintain it. The result? They get ticked off, stop using the system, tell all their friends, and never do it again.

Also, our industry must figure out this recurring revenue thing. Integration businesses are worth nothing if they cannot prove to have an engaged customer base.

Finally, we really need to learn how to sell services when there’s no such thing as margin anymore.

In what ways must the custom installation industry improve?
Stop whining, already. There is no such thing as protected brands anymore. If dealers spent as much time on their business as they did complaining about their vendors, we’d all be better for it—except cepro.com, which gets a lot of traffic from the disgruntled.

And, of course, read cepro.com at least twice a day and you will be blessed with riches.

We’ve got a great future. I’ve said for 16 years that plug-and-play would never undermine our business. More and more devices can be integrated today, and that makes things much more confusing and complicated, regardless of how “easy” they may be to install.

What’s your opinion of URC?

Obviously, I’m a huge fan and I like the shorter name, which is so easy to spell. The name change is even more dramatic than when X-10 changed to X10.

I won’t comment about the products, which are great. URC simply has one of the best dealer support programs in the industry, with online tools, training and more.

URC has been a great friend to me personally and to EH Publishing, always helping us out in a pinch.

Plus, you guys are fun, and good sports when I crush you at bowling.

What is the most compelling current URC product?
I’m a handheld, hard-button kind of girl so the MX-5000 is my favorite. The new KP-4000 definitely fills a gap in the URC line... keep ‘em coming. Finally, whatever you do with Autonomic Controls, like two-way Apple TV, is good for me!

I do think URC needs a software solution that works with iPhone, iPad, whatever. Certainly you could build the hardware to get from the device to the TV.

How can URC dealers get involved with CE Pro?

Thanks for asking. We editors love talking to dealers. Everything we know comes from CE pros. We might not get back to you quickly, but please just pick up the phone and call, or shoot us an email. And if we don’t respond the first time, do it again. There’s no such thing as too much nagging. Just ask Jon Sienkiewicz.

We hope you’ll visit cepro.com often. It might be easy to miss, but there is a “comment” section after every article and it can get pretty controversial.

You can subscribe to our RSS feeds and email newsletters. Also, please join our Facebook group (bit.ly/ceprofacebook), follow us on Twitter (@ce_pro and @juliejacobson) and join the CE Pro LinkedIn group. We don’t spam to those groups, but we’ll use them to solicit input for stories we’re working on.

Also, remember that we publish Electronic House magazine and the related Web site, so we can get you some good consumer exposure. We’re always looking for good installs, especially ones that have professional photography.

We live for dealers. Don’t be a stranger.

What’s new at CE Pro?
I’m most excited for the industry’s first virtual trade show, CE Pro Live, June 17. I’ve seen the demos and I think it’s one of the coolest things EH Publishing has ever done. Don’t miss it!

While other publications seem to be cutting back on editorial resources, we’re hanging tough. We just hired a chief technology editor (cool title, huh?), Stephen Hopkins, who comes from the DIY world. He’s a young guy, an engineer, and a geek, just the way we like ‘em.

Other than that, we’re working hard to dig out of the recession and so far 2010 is looking good for us... as I hope it is for URC and its many faithful dealers.

Thanks for this great opportunity.

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Mike Capolino & Mohammed Benfaida
URC Team Members of the Month
Here at URC, teamwork is more than just a buzzword—it’s a way of life. This month, we shine the spotlight on the URC warehouse team.

Led by Michael “Cappy” Capolino, the warehouse team is responsible for all shipping, receiving and inventory control at URC. They also handle all incoming returns (RAs), special projects (like kit making) and international freight traffic.

Clockwise from top center: Michael Capolino, Darnell Webb, Jimmy Repetti, Darren Webb, John Riverso, Mohammed Benfaida, Matt Crevani, Stephen Carollo
Cappy started his career at URC in June 2005. A graduate of Boston College with an undergraduate degree in English, Cappy also owns a Master Degree in Humanities from NYU. Cappy enjoys spending time with his family, watching sports and reading novels. An avid comic book collector, his collection numbers more than 10,000 pieces.

“It’s the people that make URC special,” says Cappy. “Everyone works very hard to get things done and to overcome obstacles.”

Mohammed Benfaida, who joined URC as part time employee in 2004, is the dean of the warehouse crew. Born in Morocco, Moe has two children: Sabrina, 11, and Adam, 17. He enjoys visiting New Roc City (a 1.2 million-square-foot entertainment/retail/residential complex in New Rochelle, NY) with his family and eating couscous with cheeseburger sauce. Moe enjoys working at URC because of the camaraderie. “All of my friends are here,” he says. “We have a good atmosphere.”

The tireless efforts of Cappy, Moe and the rest of the URC warehouse team make our business and yours happen every day. We thank them for all they do, and that’s why they’re URC’s Team Members of the Month for May 2010!

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Your Peers
Ian Watson
Programmer, Audioshop

Ian Watson knows his way around a few programming languages. Beyond the usual suspects like C++, he’s even spent time in the field of factory automation, programming robots. Ian recognizes a good programming environment when he sees it.

Now, as a programmer with Ottawa, Ontario, custom/retail hybrid Audioshop, he gives URC’s Complete Control Program (CCP) very high marks.

“I like the fact that, with CCP, I can see everything in front of me,” he says. “Everything is right there for me. If one remote is going to virtually be a duplicate of another, it’s easy to drag and drop, cut and paste. Over an extended period, CCP is going to save us a lot of time.”

Ian is thankful that CCP now provides one unified programming environment for all URC devices. “When I’m working on a laptop, I have limited screen space,” he says. “So being able to work from one program is great. I don’t have to keep hopping from one piece of software to the next. I don’t need to have all of these standalone pieces of software open and available.”

Ian says CCP allows him to draw on his past programming experience. “CCP is more like a traditional programming language because I can use ‘if/else’ statements,” he says. “The ability to do ‘if/else’ instead of variables made CCP more intuitive for me. CCP is easy to use, and it’s logical.”

CCP also was easy to learn, says Ian. “The CCP learning curve is not steep. It’s just a small penalty in terms of time to learn it. I went to the URC web site and did the tutorials. Then it was trial and error, with one or two calls to tech support. I got a couple of remotes under my belt with CCP, and it took me maybe a half-hour longer to program those first couple of remotes than it did before. But after that, it was off to the races.”

Ian says CCP is particularly powerful for whole home control. “With CCP, I can have the whole house laid out in front of me. With an MSC-400, when doing smart macros, it’s easy to drag things in, and it’s easy to copy macros over to all of the devices in the installation. It wouldn’t have been as easy before, that’s for sure.”

Overall, Ian is a big fan of URC remotes as well as CCP. “I find URC products to be good to work with, and robust,” he says. “We don’t see them coming back in for returns.”

Currently, Audioshop sells a lot of MX-980s, but Ian is particularly intrigued by URC’s Network Series, which currently consists of the MX-6000, MX-5000 and KP-4000. “In June, I’ll be installing the MX-6000 and MX-5000, which will be my first chance to work with those,” he says. “As URC gets more into the 2-way stuff, it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.”

URC wishes Ian and his colleagues at Audioshop the best in 2010 and beyond!

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Your Business
By Glenn Gentilin
URC Regional Product Specialist

URC has long been the leader at resolving the issue of “coffee table clutter.” Now we’re tackling the problem of “wall acne.” What ties it all together is the uniform user interface we (and by extension, you) can provide the homeowner.

Consider the walls in a typical high-end house. You’ll see thermostats, volume controls, light switches, alarm and audio keypads and more. Some houses have door-phone and weather station interfaces. In a house with multiple zones of HVAC, there are multiple thermostats. Each audio zone has a VC or a KP. And every room has light switches.

Our in-wall KP-4000 Network Keypad presents a unique solution. It enables you to give your clients one place to go to operate all of the systems in any given room. More importantly, it enables you provide your clients a consistent, uniform interface.

Right now, everything they operate has a different physical unit, and each company has its own interface. With the KP-4000, you decide what the screens look like. You can make each system operate with the same basic layout. This allows you to “brand” the interface, which is important, since the customer then refers their friends to you instead of to the manufacturers of the individual subsystems.

The KP-4000, together with its companion piece, the MRX-1 Network Base Station, provides ample opportunities to grow the scope of both your existing and new jobs. This unique combination allows you to deploy a single point of control to many systems in the house for your client.

Let’s start simply and grow from there. At present, you are distributing audio throughout your customers’ houses. Maybe you’re just running Zone 2 from an AVR in the family room to a distribution amplifier, and installing VCs in each room. Or maybe you have a separate system that delivers room audio throughout the house, with some sort of button pad or touch screen keypad in each zone. Either way, the KP-4000 provides greater functionality than those conventional interfaces.

With a single-source system using volume controls in each room, installing a KP-4000 in certain key areas allows the clients to turn their systems on and off and control their sources. By adding an IR-controllable volume device (for instance, one of the Aton products) you can even replace the VC in each of those rooms. All you need is a Cat-5 wire.

Since the KP-4000 is connected to the home IP network, you get all the rich content provided by our 2-way apps, such as internet news, sports, weather and stock market reports. Plus, the KP-4000 displays cover art and metadata from network sources such as our PSX-2 Personal Server, iTunes, Media Player, XM/Sirius, Rhapsody and Pandora. Add an MRX-1 at the head end and you can provide control over all of the other sources in the system.

What if you’re installing multi-zone distributed audio systems? Replace each system keypad in every room with a KP-4000. This does many things for you. First, it adds a level of cost to the system, and that’s good because it also adds content that’s easily sellable to the client. So not only do you make more money on each job, but you also add a robust feature set for your customers, mounted on the wall, right in front of them, where they see and use your branded interface every single day.

With an MRX-1 at the head-end, you operate the system controller using either IR or RS-232, and you enjoy more complete control over the sources. For cost-conscious customers, install KP-4000s in certain high-traffic zones (kitchen, master bedroom, basement) and use the proprietary system button pads in auxiliary zones. The key point here is that wherever you install a KP-4000, you give your clients more features, and gain access to the other systems in the house. No matter what brand of multi-zone products you normally install, use a KP-4000 to control everything and your customers will enjoy a consistent interface.

Think about Mom waking up in the morning and going to the KP-4000 on the bedroom wall to see what the weather’s like. You could even program the remote to turn on the music softly, raise the lights, and access the weather feed, all at a specific time each morning. Down in the kitchen, Dad can quickly check the news or stock market futures, turn up the lights and air conditioning, and turn on the local TV before heading out—all by using a KP-4000 that’s easily accessible, right there on the wall. Once everyone is up and out, Mom hits one button that turns off the TV or music, sets back the HVAC, and turns down the lights.

Add an MRX-1 to all of the other A/V systems in the house, and any KP-4000 can operate equipment in other rooms as well. Imagine it’s dinner time, and the kids are in the basement or bonus room, playing video games. At dinner time, Mom turns off that TV from the kitchen KP-4000, making it abundantly clear to the kids that dinner is ready. Then, without leaving the keypad, Mom turns on the kitchen TV and sets the channel. She may even use the web browser on the KP-4000 to find a dinner recipe.

URC is continuously adding more 2-way control interfaces. Keep checking the URC Control Room for updates. Many applications currently are in development. They all work together to give you even more content to provide on the KP-4000, your client’s one-stop control location.

With the KP-4000, your client’s house instantly becomes a whole lot smarter and more convenient—and it’ll be all thanks to you.

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Hank's Absolutely Free Tip of the Month
By Hank Eisengrein
URC Regional Training Manager, East

Use the PSX-2 for more than just music and movies

When URC introduced the PSX-1 in 2008, it was our first source component, as opposed to something that was used to control other sources. Our current PSX-2 has more functionality and control options than any other interface out there now.

In my extensive travels, many dealers tell me just how much they like using the PSX-2 in their customers’ systems. Its 480p component GUI (both on the TV screen as well as the screens of our 2-way remotes) is excellent, and its 280 discrete codes allow for greater control and customization for iPods, iPhones and iTouch. At $400 retail, the PSX-2 is an affordable addition to every system.

Just as I spoke about the concept of adding URC lighting to every sale two months ago, I feel there are strong reasons for using the PSX-2 in every installation as well.

In this month’s article, I want to put forth two very important principles for generating happy customers and additional profit with the PSX-2.

Take advantage of the PSX-2’s ability to charge “iBatteries.” Consumers are very aware of the battery lives of their iPhone/iTouch/iPod/iThing devices. With the PSX-2, you can design an area in the home where your customer can charge those batteries. This ability of the PSX-2 to serve as a charging station will prove important to your customers. Now, as a dealer you can offer your customer a place to always charge the battery, along with playing music and video from those very popular handheld devices. So use the PSX-2 in every system to create a “charging station” for the customer to use every day.

Even better, use the supplied metal bracket to dock two or more PSX-2s together, creating charging stations for multiple family members in the process. Consider providing “His” and “Hers” PSX-2s in the master bedroom suite. Down the road, you can even propose adding more bedroom units for other family members, and also in guest rooms. For very high-end clients, carry this idea over to ski or summer house applications.

Design the PSX-2 to become a “content transfer station” for your customer. In the Software Downloads section of the dealers-only, password-protected URC Control Room, you’ll find a tab for 2-Way Software. In that section, download the PSX Link software. It’s free for URC dealers, but it also can become an added profit center for you.

How? Well, you can charge the customer to configure a computer along with the PSX-2 in order to transfer iTunes content from the computer to the PSX-2. The easiest way to explain this is that the user no longer needs to “hook up the white wire” to the iPhone/iPod/iTouch from the computer.

So remember: Present the PSX-2 as both a charging station and as a content transfer station, in addition to being a high-quality source component. It will help you create stronger relationships with your customers while making you more money. It will set you apart from your competitors who sell on price alone.

If you’ve never tried the PSX-2, buy one today. You’ll see just what makes so many of our dealers so happy to use this URC product. And you’ll see just why Julie Jacobson called the PSX-2 “one of the richest iPod servers on the planet.”

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Consumer Conversation
By Debra Sharker
Director of Sales, URC Consumer Products Division

URC is more than custom remotes; we also offer remotes for consumers, the cable industry and OEMs. As Director of Sales for Consumer Products, my focus is on our high-value line of consumer IR remotes, which are available through major retailers and programmable by end users.

As a custom installer, you might think that our retail remotes are irrelevant for your business. That’s not true. In fact, our line of retail solutions offers installers and small dealers the perfect “under-$30” answer. When you need something simple for that extra room (like a kids’ room or guest room), I encourage you to check out the solutions in our entry-level IR line. You also may have a family member or friend who simply needs to replace a broken IR remote, but still demands high quality and convenience. Our consumer remotes are a terrific option for that scenario as well.

This month, we introduced a new consumer product: our Super Remote SR3. At a retail of only $17.99, URC targets several markets with this great-looking device:
  • Seniors. The Super Remote offers a large numeric keypad and bigger buttons with control of only three devices.
  • Those with arthritic hands. The Super Remote’s rounded body shape with curved sides is easy to hold and lightweight, and its soft touch keys do not require much pressure.
  • Aging baby-boomers. They want easy-to-see buttons plus a bit of technology; they also insist a remote be simple to get up and running, with no PC or internet requirements.
The Super Remote comes with batteries, is preprogrammed and learning, and offers backlit device keys. What sets the Super Remote apart are its advanced features, which are so intuitive for the consumer to set up, yet so compelling at $17.99 retail. These include:
  • A simple macro for total system ON / OFF. It’s really easy to program in a few steps.
  • Four Favorite Channel buttons that can hold five channels each.
  • My Button. This unique feature begins the viewing experience at exactly the channel the user wants, for example, a cooking channel or a sports channel.
Yes, these are all macro options, but the consumer calls them fun features! The consumer wants the ability to program these macros quickly, easily and with a simple manual.

URC delivers more than just remotes. We deliver the total experience.

See our Consumer Products Line at our site or contact me at dsharker@universalremote.com.

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Tech Tips
By Joe Salvatore
URC Technical Support Manager

If you work with network communication protocols, you’re bound to find yourself in a situation where you need to network two devices together in the absence of a network router, hub or switch.

Because our IP-capable KP-4000 Network Keypad is designed to live on a network, it must be programmed using a network connection. The KP-4000 specifically requires an assigned IP address for 2-way information exchanges with IP AVRs, HVAC systems and media on PCs and iPods. A router supplies the IP addresses, while a hub or switch provides extra Ethernet ports to enable the addition of multiple KP-4000s to the network for multi-zone whole house control.

What’s so significant about a network hub or switch? They act as a crossover point when using standard Ethernet cables. That is, they’ll allow the transmit wire and receive wires of two cables to successfully link internally in the hub, solidifying a handshake between the separate devices. Without the use of a hub or switch, a standard Ethernet wire is rendered useless from device to device, as the wire will be sending or transmitting a signal to a transmit port as well as a receive signal to a receive port. For a real world interpretation, try pumping water through opposite ends of a garden hose simultaneously. Or imagine two trains chugging on the same track towards each other. You get the point: No matter what the transmission speed of the network is, a transmit wire will never communicate successfully to a transmit port.

But what if you don’t have a router, hub or switch handy?

Enter the crossover cable. As the name implies, the crossover cable crosses over the transmit and receive wires right inside the cable sheath itself, allowing for a direct network connection to occur without the use of a router, switch or a hub. So, on one end, a crossover cable will appear to be a standard Ethernet cable, with the usual TIA/EIA 568B color wiring scheme of white-orange, orange, white-green, blue, white-blue, green, white-brown and brown. On the other end, however, the first and third wires will be crossed, as well as the second and sixth. The crossed end would appear, from left to right, as white-green, green, white-orange, blue, white-blue, orange, white-brown and brown. It doesn’t matter which end of the crossover cable is connected to the PC, since network ports on most devices are wired the same unless otherwise specified.

A crossover cable can be especially useful to you during several URC product configurations. For example, you can upload a program file to a KP-4000 directly from your PC without using a router. In addition, you can do a quick firmware upgrade to a PSX-2 back at the shop before going to the jobsite. In either situation, make sure that both the PC and the URC product are configured with a static IP address. In addition, the KP-4000 (or PSX-2) must use the same Subnet Mask and Default Gateway settings as the PC.

OK, so your wire crimping cronies don’t refer to you as the “terminator” when it comes to making your own Cat5 cable. Don’t sweat it, because crossover cables cost nothing in comparison to the time it may take to terminate and test your wires. In fact, most installers find it more practical to keep several on hand for quick connectivity and worry-free networking. A typical 25-foot crossover cable will cost about $10 on average. Sure, it’s an additional cost, but not so much when you consider that troubleshooting homemade cables left behind by a previous installer could very well cost you something more significant: your sanity.

For further support on this tech tip, please email us at techsupport@universalremote.com.

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Install This
By Jeff Wagner
URC Technical Training Manager

Another iPad story? Really?

According to the latest statistical analysis, everyone in America should now own an iPad. Apple fan boys ordered them as soon as it was possible. Mainstream consumers rushed to stores to secure one after they discovered all the crazy programs the thing can run. Homeless people use them to display “Will Work for Food” messages.

The big question here at URC, however, is this: Is there a worthwhile iPad app for CI professionals?

Clearly, the iPad suffers the same limitations as does the iPhone as a controller for home systems (although it is more difficult to lose between the couch cushions). For example, it lacks the ability to run more than one application at a time, it must constantly reconnect to Wi-Fi, and an incoming phone call takes it out of service as a controller. Press the “Pause” button and be prepared to wait while the iPad refreshes its network connection. Yikes. These flaws underscore the need for a dedicated control system.

But CI professionals can still put the iPad to very good use—and not only as a darned good cafeteria tray. The built-in capabilities of an iPad can be harnessed to increase the size and scope of every job you do. In fact, the iPad could be the best up-sell tool ever made.

One particularly useful feature of the iPad is its ability to display videos. Some dealers are creating videos and slide shows of existing jobs they’ve done; the iPad enables those dealers to quickly display YouTube videos, along with manufacturers’ canned product demos, right in the customer’s home. Since YouTube provides a cost-free storage location for any videos dealers and manufacturers would care to make, CI pros can easily create their own “Best Of” product demonstrations and display them for their customers on the latest “it” product out there right now.

Using the iPad YouTube app, you can quickly switch from one web page to another, so you can create a menu of videos, websites, etc., and access them in the correct order to support your sales pitch. The iPad’s color, motion and sound will prove very attractive to your customer.

Installers can also access the huge library of demonstrations that manufacturers have created and uploaded to YouTube. URC’s YouTube channel features a number of short and to-the-point videos that demonstrate our lighting solution, music servers and more.

Do you currently use a photo album to show potential customers pictures of your previous installs? Now you can load a zillion digital images onto an iPad and scroll through them on the fly. It’s a great way to show off your best work to potential clients.

With an iPad in hand, a custom installer gains the ability to show every customer—even the recalcitrant cheapskate—every product and technology in the CI arsenal. Combine that with some simple Sales 101 knowledge, and every install will potentially grow by 10, 20 or even 50 percent!

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Under the Hood
By Robert Durbin
URC Technical Training Manager

I get this question all the time from dealers and experienced installers: How do I move a device from the main Watch or Listen page?


    
In this example, Page 2 of the Watch pages is where I hide the devices to which I don’t want the client to have direct access. But wait: I accidentally added the HDTV to Page 1 of Watch! How do I move it to Page 2?

I can’t use the Edit Pages step in the programming menu. It only works within devices; it doesn’t work on the Watch or Listen pages.
If I try to cut-and-paste or copy-and-paste, I’ll make duplicate devices or delete my original device, which will create all sorts of problems.
So here is the solution: Use Page View.
Select both Watch Page 1 and 2 in the tree view and they will open as below.
Now you can just move the device from Page 1 to Page 2 on Watch with no problems. Just select the HDTV in Page 1, hold down the mouse button, and move it to Page 2.

Below shows selecting the HDTV:
Now just drag it to Page 2
Here’s what Simulation View looks like now:
    
Problem solved! See you next time, Under the Hood!

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In the Classroom
By John Martin
URC Online Training Manager

Here at URC, we pride ourselves on the training we offer, be it live or on the web. In this article, I’ll explain how to get the most out of every URC webinar.

1. First things first: Plan ahead. In our line of work (custom installation), it’s very easy to get sidetracked and to forget what we need for the class—or that we even have a class scheduled. URC webinars are scheduled Tuesday through Thursday, starting at 10 a.m. EDT and at 2 p.m. EDT, and are always one hour long.

2. Do multiple employees wish to take a webinar? If so, you don't need multiple computers. Connect one computer to a projector and speakers, and everyone can participate.

3. If you’re taking a class that focuses on programming remotes or learning the software, use a second computer so you can follow along with the instructor. It's a lot easier to learn by doing than by listening.

4. If you’re taking a class that’s presented as a PowerPoint, log on to the URC Toolbox (via the URC Control Room) and download the PowerPoint file. That way, you’ll have a permanent reference, as well as the perfect place to take notes.

5. Remember that you have the ability to ask questions during the webinar. It's a good idea to have some questions ready so when the instructor opens the session to Q&A, you’re prepared to fire away.

6. If you wish to speak to the instructor (instead of typing in the question), use a regular phone or, better yet, connect a microphone to your PC so the instructor can un-mute you.

7. Never forget that you’re not the only one taking the class. Be considerate of your fellow classmates. Everyone is here for the same reason: to learn. Please hold your questions until the instructor opens it up for Q&A. The class is only one hour, and sometimes multiple questions can prevent the instructor from getting to the heart of the subject.

8. Don't worry if some particular subject was not covered in the webinar. This is one reason why we have several webinars every week. GoToMeeting, the company we use to broadcast our webinars, sends each attendee a thank-you note that includes the instructor’s email address. Feel free to email your questions or comments to the instructor so he or she can plan ahead for future webinars.

9. If you’re looking for a more customized webinar for your shop, or want to learn about a subject that we don’t ordinarily cover, contact your local URC Sales Manager to find out what arrangements can be made. We’re here to help!

10. From my side, I ask for just one thing: If you sign up for a webinar, please attend it. I know, I know: Things happen. But please follow through on the commitment you’ve made.

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URC Tool Box
App of the Month
URC Calculator KP-4000
Written by URC’s own Anders Constantin, this FREE app will turn your KP-4000 Network Keypad into a 4-function calculator. Anders, who works as part of URC’s product development team, has also created calculator apps for the MX-5000 and MX-6000. They’re all free and you can download them from the URC Tool Box today. And while you’re there, check out the downloadable Training Files, including the very popular Top 10 Networking FAQs.

To access URC Calculator KP-4000 and many more apps in the URC Tool Box, log on to the URC Control Room.

Haven’t checked out the Tool Box yet? What are you waiting for? Do it today! Just log onto the URC Control Room and click “URC Tool Box” on the left side of the home page.

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Video of the Month
URC Lighting by Lutron is easy to specify, sell and install. Even better, it’s easy to program. URC’s Mitch Klein shows you just how easy! Click Here to view the video.

We have plenty more videos on the installers-only URC Control Room site. Not a URC Control Room member yet? Shame on you! Click Here to join.

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URC Complete Control Partner of the Month
CONTROLWORKS

URC dealers are quite aware that the PSX-2 Personal Server is the most robust, versatile and powerful 2-way iPod dock on the market. When coupled with URC Network Controllers (MX-5000, MX-6000, KP-4000), the PSX-2 provides an extraordinary user experience with full metadata, cover art and browsing capabilities that exceed any other dock’s capability. This has created a growing demand for interfacing with other control systems, including numerous requests from Crestron dealers.

This month’s Partner of the Month shout-out goes to ControlWorks, a top notch third-party Crestron Programming firm. Jim Felderman and his team have created a module that will enable a 2-Series Crestron processor to control the PSX-2 via a combination of TCP and UDP.

The module enables browsing of an iPod’s contents on a touchpanel in a configurable list form; the ability to browse or manage the PSX-2’s jukebox; shuffle and repeat controls; playback transport controls; and more! The module package includes the unencrypted module, a sample SIMPL Windows program, a sample Xpanel and detailed help file.

Crestron dealers know the amount of effort required to create a module as complete and complex as ControlWorks’ new offering. Dealers can buy this module once, for a relatively low fee, and use it in as many projects as they want.

Kudos to ControlWorks for such a tremendous effort and offering! Click here to download your copy NOW from the URC ToolBox!

http://www.controlworks.com/

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International News
Hallo aus Europa,

Nun sind schon wieder 5 Jahre vergangen das wir unsere Zusammenarbeit mit Universal Remote Control begannen. Inzwischen betreuen wir die internationalen Kunden in England, Europa, Afrika, Asien und im Nahen Osten.

Es macht uns sehr viel Freude mit dem URC Team zusammen zu arbeiten, sowie auf persönlichen und auf geschäftlichen Gebiet. Die eingeführten Produkte, der technische Support und die persönliche Unterstuetzung von Lars, Jeff, Eric, Doug, Jon und vom Rest vom Team, machen die Geschäfte sehr angenehm. Wir (und unsere Kunden) begrüssen sehr gern das URC Team aus den USA um uns zu helfen bei Schulungen oder auf internationalen Messen wie die ISE Amsterdam und die CEDIA UK.


Hallo vanuit Europa,

Het is al weer 5 jaar geleden dat wij van BMB Electronics BV onze samenwerking zijn gestart met Universal Remote Control. Inmiddels zorgen wij voor de internationale URC klanten in Engeland, Europa, het Midden-Oosten, Afrika en Azië.

We vinden het ontzettend leuk om met het URC team te werken, zowel op persoonlijk als zakelijk gebied. De producten die geïntroduceerd worden, de technische support die we krijgen, en de persoonlijke support van Lars, Jeff, Eric, Doug, Jon en de rest van het team maken het zakendoen erg plezierig. Wij (en onze klanten) zien het URC team graag overkomen uit Amerika om ons te helpen bij training sessies of op internationale shows zoals ISE, Amsterdam en CEDIA UK.


Hello from Europe!

More than five years ago, we at BMB Electronics BV started our business partnership with URC. Today, our partnership spans taking care of our mutual international customers in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia!

BMB is a family-owned, family-managed business with our head office in the beautiful Dutch countryside, in the small town of Veen, North Brabant. The facility houses our sales office, technical services, warehouse and training facility.

We really enjoy working with the URC team, both personally and professionally. The products themselves, the technical support, and the personal support we get from Lars Granoe, Jeff Wagner, Eric Johnson, Doug Cole, Jon Sienkiewicz and the rest of the team make doing business with URC very enjoyable. We (and our customers) enjoy spending time with the URC team when they join us to help out and conduct training sessions at international shows like ISE Amsterdam and CEDIA UK.
The BMB Electronics Team (L-R): Gert, Cees, Gijsbert, Wout, Jan, Michel, Renny, Yvette, Peter, Willem
Our next URC training event will take place May 7. Installers from all over Europe and the Middle East (even the URC Distributor for Australia!) will fly into the Netherlands to join us at our HQ and learn all about URC products and programming. Of course, there also will be time for some interactive discussions about the products and technologies during coffee and dinner (and perhaps a little fun over a few Heinekens later in the evening too). We are looking forward to showing our visitors our new demo room, which features multiroom products from Niles and ReQuest, light control from ebode, and speakers from Atlantic Technology and Amina. Obviously, all these products are being controlled via URC’s MX-6000!

Cees van Wendel de Joode is our URC trainer and specialist. Cees, who joined our team in 2007 as Area Sales Manager for the Benelux, also fills the role of trainer and product specialist at our HQ for URC. Cees has 15 years of business-to-business sales experience, and worked most recently as an account manager for a car fleet sales company. Said Cees, "When I started at BMB and joined this experienced team, I was new to the custom install business, so getting the opportunity to become a URC trainer was really great. Although there have been a lot of new product introductions over the past few years, URC have been clever to keep the programming really easy and intuitive, while still offering many integration possibilities.”

Cees is married and lives close to BMB HQ in the nearby town of Wijk en Aalburg. In his free time, Cees is a thrill-seeker on his mountain bike, and likes to sample a good scotch whisky (but not both at the same time!).

We hope to see some of you on May 7! And we’ll keep you posted through Control the Universe on other upcoming URC-related international activities.

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Upcoming Events
Stay up-to-date with our training and events schedule for May. Click Here

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Links
Contact the editors of Control the Universe: editor@universalremote.com
Visit the dealers-only URC Control Room: www.urccontrolroom.com
Visit the main URC site: www.universalremote.com

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Wish I’d Said That
“I violated the Noah rule: Predicting rain doesn’t count; building arks does.”
- Warren Buffett

“Indecision may or may not be my problem.”
- Jimmy Buffett

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