News & Press

iRule and AIN Group/GE Home Technologies Announce Partnership to Provide Universal Remote Controls, Apps and Software to AiN Group Dealers

Through a joint agreement with iRule, AiN Group managing partner of GE Home Technologies will offer systems, product, software and applications to dealers installing home automation and home entertainment for their clients.

Detroit, MI – October 1, 2012 – iRule, an industry leader and innovator for home automation and entertainment control, and AiN Group/GE Home Technologies, the country’s largest low voltage integration dealer network, today announced that they have entered into a partnership. iRule is now the primary universal remote control and home automation software and applications partner for the AiN Group/GE Home Technologies. AiN Dealers will be able to purchase products and software direct from the Detroit-based company starting today.

“We’re excited to partner with AiN Group/GE Home Technologies to bring our simple yet powerful control solution to the integrators that make up the AiN Group” said Itai Ben-Gal, iRule’s President and CEO. “The caliber of companies in the AiN Group is second to none and we look forward to empowering these installers with cutting-edge, cloud-based control for their client’s homes-faster, cheaper and easier than their competitors.”

“iRule is an innovative, progressive company that offers an exceptional, cost-effective, allencompassing solution for AIN Group dealers and their customers. Partnering with iRule adds ingenuity and integrity to our established, impressive portfolio of some of the most recognizable brands in the industry” said Stan Matysiak, President, AiN Group/GE Home Technologies. “We are excited about this partnership and the significant opportunities it will provide for both the AiN Group/GE Home Technologies and iRule.” said Matysiak.

About iRule: iRule was founded by A/V enthusiasts Itai Ben-Gal and Victor Nemirovsky when they were looking for an easier way to control their home theater system. It offers a solution to accommodate several components and eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remotes with limited uses.

iRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infrared (IR), RS-232, or Ethernet-enabled audio/video gear, as well as lights, heating/cooling, shades, security systems, garage doors, sprinklers and others, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. iRule runs on iOS and Android devices and features a fully-customizable interface that allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need. Visit www.iRuleatHome.com to learn more.

About AIN: Authorized Integrators Network (AiN Group) offers the building industry THE only complete, one-stop shop, low-voltage program. Enhancing homes and workplaces with a comprehensive line of electronic products from the most recognized brands in the world today, the AiN Group assists their clients in meeting what has become a universal demand in the residential and commercial marketplaces—integration of the newest, most consumer demanded products coupled with state-of-the-art low voltage installation and service.

AiN Group is also the power behind GE Home Technologies, a residential building program of unprecedented brand leverage and competitive pricing packages. AiN Group and GE/Interlogix have simplified integration for the builder by presenting all low-voltage systems in a single, turnkey program. Learn more about becoming an AiN Dealer at www.aingroup.com.

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We’re excited to announce that iRule version 1.4.0 for Android is now available for download!

We know everybody’s been really anxious to get their hands on the new version of iRule for Android, so we’re excited to announce that it’s now available for download from Google Play and our website now!

New Features in iRule Version 1.4.0 for Android Drawers Drawers are now available for Android!

Drawers offer a solution to two issues. The first is faster design by instancing or “punch-through” as it’s sometimes called. Create a page, add some buttons and commands, then “re-use” that page anywhere in the remote by “pinning” the Drawer open. For example, configuring source and volume buttons on the sides of a tablet layout previously required configuring each page where the buttons were used. With Drawers, there is no need to keep defining and redefining links and input commands for each page; simply configure the buttons once in a Drawer and re-use the drawer anywhere you need the links and buttons.

The other issue Drawers help resolve is that of screen real-estate on small-screen devices which typically require “hunting” around the remote. For instance, in the “Watch TV” page, there is no room for input selection and volume and mute buttons. With Drawers, you can add an “overlay” or sliding sheet that be swiped out from the side of the screen to add functionality even though screen area is limited.

Feedback Tokenization: Some devices output feedback strings which included changing values or lengths, making simple parsing impossible. Feedback tokenization solves this problem and allows for much more powerful feedback display.

Physical Button Volume Control: The use of physical buttons for volume control are now enabled. Make sure your device

HTTP SOAP Command Support: SOAP support facilitates control of devices using this protocol, including Sony Blu-ray players and others.

IR and Relay Feedback: IR and relay feedback from Global Caché hardware is now supported which enables the feedback from sensors on the Global Caché Gateways.

Dimmed-Screen Tap: Tapping a dimmed screen will now wake the screen only; not trigger a command. This makes the behavior consistent with iRule for iOS.

Username/password Fields in Network Gateways: Network Gateways now include username and password fields for more intuitive configuration, eliminating the need to create more complicated strings for device URL’s with embedded username/password. This capability also better supports devices using the Telnet protocol. Send empty username/password when for network gateway.

Other Changes and Fixes

• Added a Sync button in Settings panel layout for easier syncing.

• Fixed empty feedback code (without value) that breaks sync feedbacks.xml

• Fixed a connection issue with RS-232 serial models of iTach devices.

• HTTP/Network Gateway passwords are now masked.

For more information on this new version and more, visit the Release Notes page, the Support Community, or the Support Center.

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Crain’s 40 Under 40

ITAI BEN-GAL, 35

President, iRule LLC

• Biggest achievement: Bringing his product, which allows consumers to use a smartphone as a TV remote, from concept to market.

• Current goal: Keep improving the product and satisfying customers.

When Itai Ben-Gal was building out a home theater that he describes as a “labor of love,” he was interested in getting a universal remote system installed but found it was too expensive.

Lucky for him he was unable to afford the quoted work because out of that happenstance was born the idea for his Detroit-based company, iRule. The iRule is a universal remote app that is compatible with iOS systems used on iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

It is available in more than 50 countries through dealers or can be purchased from the iRule website and installed by the customer.

Ben-Gal, an engineer from Israel, and business partner Victor Nemirovsky, the chief technology officer of iRule and a software developer from Russia, established the company in 2009. For the first year, they crafted the product and worked out technical glitches.

Version 1.0 was released in February 2010, and Ben-Gal said he and Nemirovsky thought of it as a side project. But by the end of the year, the company had revenue of $115,000, and they realized it might be bigger than they’d planned. It also received a boost with funding from the venture capital arm of Compuware Corp.

This year, iRule is on pace for $1 million, and the company now has 10 employees.

A major hurdle Ben-Gal encountered was preparing the product for dealers instead of individual customers. The company had to focus on how to make the product work for larger installers and developed the right tools to make that happen.

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iRule Releases Version 2.5 Of Its Universal Remote Control System

DETROIT — With its second major software update this year, iRule has released Version 2.5 of its cloud-based remote control system.

This new version is designed to work on iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.  An updatedAndroid version will be released later this year.

IRule allows one device to replace multiple remotes with touch-screen controls for nearly any household device that uses a remote.

“As we continue to fine-tune iRule, we’re looking at ways to not only control devices, but making the controls simpler, faster and more efficient,” said CTO Victor Nemirovsky. “We’re committed to being able to quickly update and improve our system to respond to our customers’ needs and requests.”

New iRule features include:
* Drawers – allowing page configurations to be used on multiple screens without having to recreate the page, and providing additional real estate when needed. Drawers are an “overlay” sliding sheet for additional page controls on small-screen displays
* SOAP support for control of devices using this protocol, including Sony Blu-Ray players Faster creation in iRule Builder with nudging elements, allowing users to move elements in the remote layout one row or column at a time, making designing more intuitive

IRule was created by two audio-visual fans, Itai Ben-Gal and Nemirovsky, when they were looking for an easier way to control a home theater system. It offers a solution to accommodate many components and eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remotes with limited uses.

IRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infra-red, RS-232 or Ethernet-enabled audio-video equipment, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences. IRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need.

IRule’s version 2.5 software is available through Apple’s App Store. The iRule gateway package hardware is available at www.iRuleAtHome.com. The company has already sold thousands of licenses in 45 countries via word-of-mouth and online buzz among early adopters, home theater professionals and online forums.

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2012 CEDIA Report

After 2 action-packed days at CEDIA, our feet are tired, our heads pounding, but it’s all good.  Here’s the basics and things of note.

The big deal at this CEDIA was 4K.  Sony had the biggest display of 4K product, and though it’s expensive now, it’s available.  My impression of their 4K display: simply impressive.  I was not expecting to be impressed, for a lot of reasons, mostly that at normal viewing distances 2K should in theory be good enough.  But if you creep just a bit closer to the screen you can easily start to see pixels in most 2K displays, and it was quite a treat to move close and away from the 4K image and not see pixels, but see a silky smooth image, crystal clear, sharp and noise-free.  Content is the issue of course, there’s no native 4K available to mere mortals, unless you buy your own RED camera,  but scaled 2K is darn nice.  No more detail, but no visible pixels either.  Turns out it’s not a big deal to scale 2K up to 4K, not as hard as SD video to 1080p.

My pick, though, for practical HD displays was the Pioneer/Sharp Elite LCD line, actually introduced last year, and shown this year in 60″ and 70″ class.  Call me slow, but I watched the display for several minutes before realizing I was watching an LED/LCD unit and NOT an plasma!  Off axis viewing is amazing, contrast shocking with blacks so deep you’ll feel you’re looking straight into an abyss, and spot-on color, pretty much that way out of the box, but capable of being calibrated too.  It’s 1080p, not 4K, but since few will be able to afford 4K for a few years yet, this would be the pick this year for the most amazing practical TV.

In audio, there were a lot of wireless solutions.  Wire less speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, and all-in-one speaker/amps.  Sonos didn’t have much new, but it was good to see the entire line, though impossible to hear above the din of their own other demos.  But they were far from the only game in Indy.  There are lots of custom install solutions, including an impressive line of wireless audio amps from Knoll ElectronicsContact us for more info.

GoldenEar Technologies showed Sandy Gross’s latest brainstorm, his version of the soundbar speaker called the SuperCinema 3D Array.  But as you might expect, it’s got Sandy’s touch, including passive crosstalk cancellation, and it does create a believable  LCR soundstage.  It’s simply the best soundbar I’ve ever heard, though that statement in itself does the product a dis-service.  Soundbars are notably the worst category of speakers in today’s market.  That makes the Golden Ear soundbar all the more impressive, as it actually sounds quite good, and even on music.  A soundbar I could live with? Even I have a hard time believing it!

In a category I normally wouldn’t bother talking about, it’s funny there should be more than one soundbar innovation at CEDIA worth talking about, but there is. The second was theDefinitive Technology Solo Cinema XTR, designed to aim squarely at the overly simplistic (and frankly a bit shameful) HTIB market, and shoot holes in it.  You know the type: they got to Big Box, say “I want a surround system!”, walk out with a dinky set of speakers, and under-powered DVD/AVR combo, and a subwoofer that barely qualifies.  Enter the DT XTR.  The new product not only is a fine sounding soundbar speaker system, but it takes care of the entire 5 channels with a believable virtual surround system.  While not has high impact or dimensional as having real surround speakers, if you don’t have the room, this is the solution, and does provides a believable surround sound field.  But then they throw in the wireless subwoofer that really has some sonic heft, and a little remote.  And as if that weren’t enough, the thing will take a digital output from your TV with all that 5.1 material on it, handle decoding, processing and volume control.  So with the bar and sub, and your TV, you’re done.  The DT SoloCinema XTR soundbar and sub combo sell for $2000,  and when you consider the simplicity and performance of this system that runs without the help (or need) of an AVR, you’ve got yourself a bargain.  Call us to get yours on order.

Being the creators of our own control system built with iRule, you can bet we’d be interested in the competition in that area.  There were more iPad apps than  ever, and everybody has their own idea of how a control app should look and operate.  Crestron was doing their own iPad app that works with their systems, but they weren’t particularly interested in discussing the exact cost of even the most basic system.  It seems you’d be into them for well over $3500 (plus programming time!), but that’s a guess.  (Sorry, Crestron, I’m not linking to you!) Key Digital showed their Compass Control system, which would be fairly economical until you needed to control any device that isn’t up to IP based commands (like your TV, projector, older AVR, AppleTV…need I go on?), at which point you need their $2500 master control unit.  So you could throw $2800 their way but you wouldn’t have anything that actually controlled something until it was programmed. Universal Remote showed their usual line-up of candy-bar remotes with pseudo touch screens and the usual tiny buttons with 3 point gray type legends.  We were impressed by the fact that touching a function button on their flagship touch screen system brought up the Windows CE logo for 10 seconds before it responded.

Pretty much every serious equipment manufacturer has a control app now.  And this has created the virtual coffee table full of remotes (see my earlier post).  It’s exactly the same problem: a remote for each device, each is different, each works and looks differently, and you have to find the right app to accomplish the task at hand.  But it’s actually harder to exit one app and bring up another than dropping one stick remote and picking up another.  I say: don’t bother.  They’re free, and worth every penny you spend.  I’m more convince than ever than our Platinum Control System will make your remote control life easy and happy, and won’t break the bank.

We visited our partners at iRule and got our first look at the latest software that includes “drawers”, little slide-out trays on your screen that can hold seldom used functions that slide out of the way when you don’t need them, or help make a more usable screen on a smaller device.  Watch for us to integrate those features soon! I’ve said it before, but again, after years of searching for the best solution, I think iRule, in the hands of an expert programmer/integrator, is the ultimate solution, winning in functionality and value simultaneously.

On our way out of the main show floor we stopped at the VRX booth to test drive their latest iMotion  simulator designed for driving and flying game play.  They showed a triple screen 3D display with full motion in the seat and steering wheel, a package that cost about like a family car, but can caster out of the way in your basement until you’re ready to play against other players world wide in the 3D head-to-head race of your life.  Video 1 here, Video 2 here. Watch the Platinum web site for more details soon!

While I’m on 3D for a moment, this one comment:  3D wasn’t absent from CEDIA this year, but was a small fraction of the total display demos, which now focus on high brightness, high resolution, and by the way, we can do 3D if you insist.  It’s a refreshing take on what I’ve been saying was just another peak in the on-going 3D wave that started in the 1950s.  Every so often 3D makes an appearance, is claimed to be the next big thing, peaks, then fades again for another decade or so.  And we’re now riding the wave downward.  The benefits of 3D this time around, though, are great bright displays, particularly projectors, at a reasonable cost.  Epson showed their latest not-release-yet projector that will be THX and THX 3D certified, lots-o-lumens, and comes with 2 pairs of 3D glasses.  We saw the demo, the 3D was as good as any, but the 2D was spectacular, blowing away Sim2’s admittedly better styled Italian-looking units.  The Sim2 demo was just another huge but average picture, but with a surprisingly noticeable amount of chromatic aberration in it.  Sorry Sim2, they’re beautiful boxes to look at, not so great to watch.

One odd surprise was the Perrot Zik headphones, a full sized over the ear set that is bluetooth wireless, and has active noise canceling.  Being a many-decade headphone listener, I’ve been disappointed with nearly every headphone set I’ve demoed in the last few years.  I had no expectations from something that looked this slick, had finger-touch volume control, and would also work to make phone calls, but surprise, they really sounded excellent, and the active noise canceling worked scary-well.  400 beans is a lot for a set of cans, but I’m hooked, will probably end up with a pair.  The were actually less colored in response than a set of Stax electrostatic phones I recently divested.  That’s saying quite a bit.

Lastly, in a rather odd tangential product, I’ve found a solution to one of the more annoying problems of this century: poor cellular coverage in your own home.  I suffer from living in a AT&T hole, both at home and at our summer home, and it often renders my iPhone about as useful as a brick.  But I’ve got the solution, thanks to zBoost from Wi-EX. Simply, it grabs the tower signal up on  your roof where it is, and repeats it down in your home where you live giving you all the bars you want, even in the basement.  Yes, I know it’s odd for a home theater guy to handle this product, but when I see a tech solution I can get behind,  it’s worth it to me and my clients to make it happen.  As usual, call us for details.  We’re Wi-EX dealers as of this weekend.

It’s impossible to completely cover a show of this size in two short days, but those are highlights.

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iRule releases Manager system for dealers, installers

New tool allows for personalized licensing sales, keeps track of multiple customer accounts

DETROIT, Mich. – iRule, the universal cloud-based remote control app for iOS and Android devices, has released iRule Manager, geared to assist professional dealers by simplifying the process of installing, modifying, organizing and selling iRule licenses to end users.

Created in response to requests from professional dealers, iRule Manager includes all the features needed to create customer licenses, make changes in iRule Builder to the remote interface, and allows access by multiple users and company technicians. Changes accounts are logged instantly, resulting in increased efficiency, communication, and customer service.

“As our dealers continue to install iRule in homes and businesses across the world, many were clamoring for a better way to keep their accounts organized and quickly make changes,” said CTO Victor Nemirovsky. “iRule Manager does just that, giving dealers more freedom to manage customer accounts and provide faster, better customer service.”

iRule was created by A/V enthusiasts Itai Ben-Gal and Nemirovsky when they were looking for an easier way to control a home theater system. It offers a solution to accommodate several components and eliminate the clutter caused by multiple remotes with limited uses.

iRule is a cloud-based software solution coupled with simple hardware which controls any infrared (IR), RS-232, or Ethernet-enabled audio/video gear, as well as lights, heating/cooling, shades, security systems, garage doors, sprinklers and others, making it compatible with nearly any system or combination of components. A fully customizable interface allows users to simplify controls, upload their own images and personalize menus to their preferences. iRule is also easily updated to control additional components or to migrate to the latest versions of smartphones and tablets, making it the last remote you’ll ever need.

iRule gateway package hardware is available at www. iRuleAtHome. com. The company has sold thousands of licenses in more than 45 countries via word-of-mouth and online “buzz” among early adopters, home theater professionals, and online forums.

About iRule: iRule is an application that transforms the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and most Android devices into a universal remote control, allowing you full control of audio video gear simply and reliably. iRule focuses on a simple user experience that allows non-experts the ability to quickly and easily create a powerful personalized remote. iRule is fully upgradeable and accommodates users’ changing needs.

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iRule 2.3 Now Available for iOS!

We are excited to announce that iRule version 2.3 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is now available for download.

You asked us for these new features, and we’re listening! From the iTunes Module that controls iTunes on a Mac or PC, to hidden navigation bar, screen dimming, and a new iPad panel transition, we worked really hard to add the features you wanted!

Announcing iTunes Module for iRule HD

With iRule, an iPad, and the iTunes Module, you don’t have to launch a different app to see playlists, browse, and play music from iTunes! Add an iTunes Module to your iPad remote, and create a whole-house audio-video distribution system without spending a fortune. All you’ll need is an AppleTV or two, an AirportExpress, or some other AirPlay device, and access all your music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and more – right from iRule.

iTunes Control – iRule’s first add-on module provides powerful control of iTunes running on a Mac or Windows PC.

AirPlay – AirPlay devices are automatically connected. Supported devices include AppleTV, AirPort Express, AV receivers, and compatible speakers.

For iPad – Initially iPad-only; later releases will support additional handset platforms.

Pricing – The iTunes module is $25 per handset and is available to both Basic and Pro users.

New Features in iRule version 2.3:

Hide Nav Bar (Pro) – Designers can now hide the Nav Bar on the remote, eliminating the page title, “panels”, and “back” buttons while freeing up additional screen real estate.

Text on Buttons & Links – Yes, you can now overlay text on Buttons and Links!

Screen Dimming – iRule will now dim the screen after a period of inactivity. Leave iRule open and connected in a dark room and just tap the screen to brighten it up and use it.

Macro Pause Dialog – Added “wait” dialogs to direct users to wait while device macros execute.

Smooth Repeat IR – Faster repeating of infrared commands on supported devices, useful in applications like volume ramping.

Better Macro Handling – Macros are now queued for sequential execution.

Fade Transition – The “sliding” Panel transition on iRule HD (iPad) has been replaced with a more subtle dissolve for a more seamless user experience, especially with buttons such as source, volume or mute that are static from panel to panel.

Improved Command Execution – Command queuing has been improved.

“More” tab – This new tab in the Builder holds these new items:

Actions – New Delay and Message elements for more reliable and polished macros.

Modules (iTunes) – Drag-and-drop the iTunes Module into your layout from here.

Widgets – Drag-and-drop Buttons, Links, Labels, and URLs from this new element group.

Launch – Launch external apps, the Apple Mail app, an email to support, or a URL in the Safari browsers – right from a Button!

Nav – Now that the Navigation Bar can be hidden from the user, use the Nav commands to add your own Back, Sync, Panels, and Gateways buttons to a remote.

Rounded Corners – URL element and iTunes Module can now be displayed in a remote with rounded corners or square corners.

Improved Background Image – Background images are easier to arrange and layer.

iOS 5.1 support – Tested and supported on newly-released iOS 5.1.

For more detailed information on these features and changes, please refer to the release notes.

Android users, we haven’t forgotten about you! We’re already hard at work on iRule for Android, and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready. It’ll take us some time to get the new Android version ready, but please know we’re working toward a goal of releasing Android and iOS together!

If you are new to iRule or have not updated to the latest release, we invite you to try our new software by downloading it free from the Apple App Store. iRule HD for iPad can be found using this link while iRule for the iPhone or iPod touch can be downloaded with this link.

Once you’ve installed iRule on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, you need to use iRule Builder to create your interface. If you’re already using iRule, you can log into the iRule Builder and use the newly added features to enhance your remote experience.

If you need hardware, we have all Global Caché gateways and accessories in stock in our store and ready to ship.

Visit the iRule support page for tutorials, FAQs, and a list of supported devices.

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