Review (February 2010)
By Kevin Nakano
RTI Corporation offers a wide range of custom controllers for users that demand high performance. Their products are sold exclusively through a network of trained dealers and system integrators to ensure customers get exactly what they need for their complex A/V systems. In addition to their full line of handheld controllers, RTI also offers several in-wall controllers designed to complement their popular handheld models with aesthetically pleasing looks and powerful functionality in a single unit. This review will cover RTI's flagship K4 In-Wall Controller that features a color TFT LCD touchpanel for flush-mount installations in walls or cabinets. The K4 includes a 6.4-inch full VGA resolution (640x480) panel, a powerful 400MHz 32-bit processor, 32MB of memory, stereo speakers, and an infrared receiver. The K4 is the first standalone touchpanel with infrared control, video monitoring, and Ethernet connectivity. It provides a self-contained system for controlling audio/video components, lights, or other electronic systems in the home without the need of a separate remote processor. The K4 can also stream MJPEG video from cameras and control advanced products such as the Escient Fireball media servers through its ethernet interface.
A removable terminal block is also available for manually wiring the power and IR data interfaces. Up to 350-feet of standard CAT5 cable can be used to power the unit as long as a dedicated pair of wires are used to carry V+ and Ground separately. This terminal block also has interfaces for Power Status (0-20VDC), Aux Status (0-20V), Relay Control (Vsupply at 100mA max), and Trigger Out (Vsupply at 100mA max).
The MRP-64 supports up to six in-wall controllers, four independent IR output ports, three voltage trigger outputs, three voltage sense inputs and an IR signal input. The unit supports the ZM-24 Zigbee 2.4GHz Module for full two-way wireless communication with the newer handheld controllers. In addition, the IR signal input can come from an IR receiver or an RM-433 RF Antenna Module, making it compatible with with all RTI in-wall and handheld controllers as well as industry standard IR repeater systems. The two bi-directional RS-232 ports require no special programming since the drivers are preprogrammed and developed as part of RTI’s Integration Partner Program. The unit is powered by a high-efficiency universal (100-240VAC, 50/60 Hz) power adapter capable of producing 12V at 5 amps.
The latest version of Integration Designer is excellent and as easy to use as earlier versions of the software. Integration Designer gives installers complete control and flexibility in the design of the controller screens and command functions enabling the user to fully customize the look and feel of the controller. RTI has a rich set of bitmaps in their library with several professionally designed GUIs and a number of predefined button shapes. In addition, a set of editing tools are provided for creating custom graphics for the display. Infrared codes can be added to any button by a simple drag-and-drop process. The Macro Editor provides a simple interface that allows any button in the system to launch a series of complex multi-step actions with programmable delay times. Periodic firmware and software updates are available to installers to support new features and product releases.
The software keeps a list of the last set of remotes codes used at the top of the queue when selecting a new remote from the database. This makes it convenient for the installer to recall the most commonly used remotes that have been recently accessed. Installers can build a rich library for their favorite controllers making it easy to build on existing systems that they have already designed and invested in.
Programming the K4 In-Wall Controller and MRP-64 Multi-room Remote Processor is made simple with RTI's powerful Integration Designer software. The software is so intuitive and stable that little training is needed to get up and running. RTI even offers online videos to help installers get started for the first time. We have been using this software for many years and in all that time the program has never crashed on us.
RTI offers many options to enhance the system's capability and these are available based on those who need it. The best part is that the system can expand in time as needed by the user. Installers will become addicted to the user-friendly Integration Designer software which allows them the flexibility they need to create powerful and complex systems completely customizable for each and every client. The best part is the time invested into the IR database and custom screens can be used for other customers. I am always finding ways to improve our system even while this review is being written.
The K4 In-Wall Controller is by far the best we have seen from RTI and it is not surprising that they have executed it so well. They have a good track record and their products have always worked as advertised. We have reviewed many of their controllers and remote processors over the years and we continue to be impressed with the features and performance that the new products have to offer. If you are considering a multi-controller (hand-held and/or in-wall controllers) system that is fully integrated, you should definitely talk to your local RTI dealer. You will not be disappointed.
- Kevin Nakano
Projector: Anthem LTX-500v 1080p D-ILA Projector
|Review - At a Glance|
RTI - K4 In-Wall Controller
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