Alltrade 2014 Tradeshow Highlights Signal Distribution, Home Automation and Custom Installation AV

The Alltrade tradeshow celebrated its growing popularity with a new venue, new product launches and record numbers of visitors. With a...

The Alltrade tradeshow celebrated its growing popularity with a new venue, new product launches and record numbers of visitors. With a growing business shift towards AV and custom installation products, leading aerial and satellite distributor Alltrade opened the doors to its 2014 tradeshow at the end of October. Moving from a Sussex venue to the prestigious Epsom Downs racecourse to attract more of the company’s London and Home Counties based customers, the show’s new venue provided a great backdrop for an event that majored on new technologies for signal distribution, home automation and custom installation AV. A wide range of exhibitors attracted over 200 trade visitors to the show, with an ever greater presence of the custom install community. “Our distribution products have caught up with 4K over HDMI, and this sector of our business continues to grow 50 percent or more every year,” commented Steve Simper, MD at Alltrade. “The technology remains at a premium, putting real value in for installers, yet the demand is high as many customers want to future-proof their installation investment. We have been selling HD distribution products for over five years but it's taken this amount of time to educate the installers that this product is easy to install and easy to set-up.” Since the first Alltrade tradeshow, the company has been focused on moving quickly with evolving markets and offering its customer cutting edge solutions. This has seen a business shift from traditional aerial and satellite business into AV, home cinema and custom installation from simple multi room audio for domestic homes to major commercial AV and security systems. In addition to the UK’s most comprehensive TV signal distribution portfolio, the company has become a Silver Partner for D-Link’s range of wireless communications products, has a strong portfolio of racks and cables, and is an official distributor of Sonos products. “We are seeing exceptional growth in streaming audio products as the concept is now much better understood by the public,” adds Steve. “Our Sonos business is growing 100 percent year on year. It's an entry for people to stream and control their entertainment wirelessly and it leads many consumers into wanting home automation products.” Steve admits that it is still early days for home control and automation systems in the mass market, yet the potential is huge. The company has become one of the UK’s official DemoPad distributors and regularly runs DemoPad installer training programs at its Sussex HQ. Exhibiting at the tradeshow, the real beauty of DemoPad for installers is that it naturally leads customers to an up-sell of home automation products that can be incorporated into the system at any time. For new build, renovation and retrofit projects, Alltrade now offers a complete solution for home AV and automation, from the aerial of the roof right through to the end-user interface of the most complex multi-room, home automation custom installation. This could be seen clearly at this year’s Alltrade tradeshow with exhibitors from every step of this chain showing new and innovative products. New product highlights: Triax has been a major sponsor of the Alltrade tradeshow since its inception and this year showed of its latest HMX 5Play HD range. This line-up feature 4K compatibility, PoE support and HDBaseT for distribution and control over long cable runs. Matrix products for 4x4 and 8x8 are available in addition to a small receiver unit, a receiver outlet plate and transmitters with local HDMI and Ethernet outputs. Antiference is also a regular at the Alltrade event and this year unveiled its Trucolour 4x4 Matrix Kit. This uses HDBaseT-Lite for Cat5e/6 cable runs up to 70m and is 4K and PoE (Power over Ethernet) compatible. It offers remote access to installers, for interrogation and updates without a site visit, and its consumer friendly features include the ability to be operated from the users’ original TV handset. DemoPad used the tradeshow to unveil its new Centro C, a compact and low-cost IP gateway for use with the company’s IPad-based AV and home automation control software. The Centro C joins the larger Centro 8 in DemoPad’s growing hardware line up. As 4K displays arrive in consumers’ homes, accessories such as CYP’s SY-4KS HDMI scaler may be needed to convert signals to 4K Ultra HD resolutions or, crucially, to downscale 4K signals to 1080p for integrating into AV distribution systems where non-4K compatible TVs are also in use. B-Tech showed its BT7860 wall and pole-mounting bracket for the Apple TV media streamer. As well as for home installation, it’s particularly useful for the education sector because of the increasing use of iPads in schools and colleges and the need to securely lock down peripherals such as the Apple TV. Staying with innovative mounting solutions, Sonos accessory specialist Flexson showcased its new VinylPlay turntable. This enables Sonos owners to stream directly from their vinyl records or make digital backup copies to their media server as they play. For homes requiring discrete in-ceiling speaker installations for multiroom music Hoody has expanded its innovative fire-hood range to include custom size and shaped hoods to order. Global Invacom used the tradeshow to demonstrate its outstanding SwitchBlade. This is an innovative new FibreIRS multiswitch series using a modular, single-PSU system and attractive, space-efficient design. The aesthetic design is very consumer friendly and each modular unit offers an optical input plus radio and UHF TV, with 8 or 16 outputs per module. Ideal for blocks of flats or commercial optical signal distribution, the system supports up to 32,768 user points within a 10km radius from just one dish. The company also showed off its new TVlink products. Also focusing on innovative AV distribution Televes demonstrated its data over coax system that allows data networks and IPTV distribution to be retro-fitted into buildings with Coax cabling already in place. Also majoring on switching technology, Johansson displayed its 9830 unit, a 4x2 SAT>IP multiswitch, which enables unencrypted satellite channels to be distributed to up to eight users on wired and wireless home networks. The TV channels can be watched on connected computers or mobile devices using a SAT>IP compatible app. At the consumer end of Alltrade’s business tradeshow regular Linsar demonstrated a space-saving 24in LCD TV with a stand that acts as a soundbar. It’s also Bluetooth compatible for audio streaming from computers, smartphones and tablets. As its name suggests, the X24-DVD also comes with an integrated disc player. And if installers require a high quality component to upscale content, the brand new Philex Thor Image Enhancing HDMI cable includes an advanced 10-bit Marseille Networks video processor to upscale images from 720p or 1080p to 4K Ultra HD. Any standard definition sources are upscaled to 1080p and the 4K output is certified to meet Technicolor’s picture quality benchmarks.

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