Accessing and selecting media stored on your home network is almost a must these days if you want a full entertainment system experience. More receivers and Blu-ray players are handing you access to PC files, but for whole-home command over everything—including other potentially networkable systems like lighting and energy management—you’ll need something more robust.
That’s where URC (the artist formerly known as Universal Remote Control) is coming into play with its new Network Keypad System, which includes the KP-4000 touchscreen and MRX-1 base station designed to facilitate control of “virtually anything on an IP home network—including A/V components like multizone A/V receivers, energy management devices, PCs, iPods and whole-house lighting—via preprogrammed, drag-and-drop 2-way modules,” according to URC.
For connections and two-way control of iTunes (Mac- or PC-based), for example, the KP-4000 will be able to display iPod-like metadata such as cover art, song title, artist and album info.
Other RSS feeds will be able to keep homeowners in tune throughout the house with the latest news, sports, weather and stock info, while URC plans on adding modules for climate, energy management, IP cameras and security panels.
For installers who program the touchpanel, the KP-4000 is sure to make controls simple on homeowners as one-touch macros can employ up to 255 steps. Plus, it won’t matter exactly where media such as music files are stored—a My Music module combines iTunes files with Windows Media Player content (which also enables you to play FLAC lossless tunes) for robust distributed audio and playlists.
With the MRX-1 base station, the KP-4000 can deliver commands to IR, RS-232 and relay components to enable controls over motorized projector mounts, TV lifts, and drapes and shades, for example.
The KP-4000 runs for $599 MSRP, available in white now and later black or light almond; the MRX-1 has an MSRP of $399.
The MRX-1 rear panel:
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.