March 08, 2010
| by Steven Castle
Life can be peachy on a motor-yacht.
But if you want to go to sea with all the comforts of audio/video and control systems, plan carefully. All systems on board need to be protected from salt air and moisture, prewired properly and not take up much space.
The 85-foot La Belle Yvette makes waves not only with several LCD TVs, 11 zones of audio and five Xbox extenders, but with a retrofitted Lifeware control system by Exceptional Innovation and a DigiLinx audio system from NetStreams.
The Windows-based Lifeware system can be operated by RTI remotes, an iPhone or an iPod touch - from anywhere on the yacht. “Whenever I want to run Lifeware, I just pull my iPod touch out of my pocket and away we go,” says yacht owner Frank Smith.
With the touch of an iPhone or iPod touch, the Smiths can put the whole boat on party mode and send music everywhere - or they can pipe music to the deck while they’re ensconced in the master stateroom, for example. Their music and movies are loaded to any of three media center servers on board.
The Lifeware and NetStreams systems are big improvements over the yacht’s previous control and audio systems that required regular reboots and took up precious rack space. For example, NetStreams’ digital amps tuck into tight overhead spaces in each zone. In addition, the iPhone and iPod control helped eliminate the need for several touchscreens.
And Lifeware’s on-screen TV control comes in very handy. “If you’re offshore and it gets rough out, it’s hard to push those [touchscreen] buttons accurately,” says Don Pretlow of Elite Yacht Services in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which installed the new systems.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates