In my two-source/two-room test setup, I left Neo and Morpheus settling their differences a la Blu-ray while I queued up Flags of Our Fathers on the Toshiba HD DVD player and settled into the bedroom for some surround sound enjoyment. The opening scene of the attack on Iwo Jima was visually spectacular, but the battle scenes really came alive with help from the Canton speakers and Rotel AVR set to Dolby Digital. The wall-rattling explosions and rapid machine gun fire were spell-binding and made the quieter, gentler battle going on between Neo and Morpheus in the next room seem serene by comparison.
The only wrinkle was that the NetStreams touchscreen controller wouldn’t read the Rotel AVR’s IR code, meaning I could control some but not all of the Rotel’s functions: specifically, the Rotel’s volume control did not respond to touchscreen commands. However, the controller did recognize the IR code of a Marantz AVR subbed in to check volume-control functions, and the NetStreams engineers have promised programming updates to create a fix for Rotel-family receivers.
According to a CEDIA rep I talked to recently, homebuilders in key metro locations around the country are averaging three home theaters per house at new construction sites and including full-house wiring as part of deal, which means CAT-5e cabling is already being routed throughout many homes to control lighting, heating, air conditioning, and security. Now, custom installers can just as easily add NetStreams IP-based devices to the network to create powerful distributed A/V systems. You can distribute uncompressed HD video and high-quality audio to multiple rooms via your Ethernet network, and without the annoying time delays that plague other systems. NetStreams has achieved breakthrough status by being the first company to offer IP-based video, but it does come at a price. Then again, having an installer to wire your home for A/V doesn’t come cheap either. TPV