Classroom AV system gets digital feedback
suppression, teacher mic with Smart Button,
even better sound
Petaluma, California – October 19, 2016 – FrontRow has released the next generation of its popular ezRoom classroom AV systems. The new systems are meant for schools that great voice or media amplification, nearly-invisible installation, plus advanced connectivity for AV control, remote management, or integration with IP-based paging and bells. ezRoom systems now feature a dramatic boost in audio quality, a programmable Smart Button for the teacher microphone that can be used for alerting, improved microphone coverage, new voice command control options, and digital feedback suppression – all in an architecturally-appealing plenum-safe enclosure that’s built to order before shipment.
The update includes new hardware and software, as well as a free build-to-order service that saves labor and time at installation. At the core of the new ezRoom is a Smart Receiver (model ICR-01) that combines a 40W stereo amplifier (expandable to 80W), an infrared receiver, and advanced digital processing and control functions. Although it is ordinarily mounted inside a flush ceiling enclosure, it can also be mounted to a wall by itself. The Smart Receiver takes full advantage of its digital brains, and includes important features like digital feedback suppression, the patented OptiVoice speech clarity booster, voice control of projectors and other devices, software control, and a useful beacon light shows teachers when the system is playing a school announcement or recording the current lesson.
“ezRoom has been the media control choice for thousands of classrooms for a number of years,” says FrontRow Product Manager Jeff Shaw, “but we’ve even improved on those capabilities.” The Smart Receiver can simultaneously control serial, IR, and unlimited network devices. And the voice commands familiar to users of FrontRow’s Juno Connect can now activate displays, switch inputs, call the front office, and more for ezRoom users too. Actions and events can be more easily created through a simpler UI.
One new advantage is a special “Tune Up” feature that lets schools get great sound quality regardless of the speakers they choose. Installers simply pick the speaker type in the setup software, and the Smart Receiver will calibrate itself to produce the proper flat frequency response before equalization. “The Smart Receiver has a professional 12-band software EQ, but even if you never touch it, the ezRoom will sound great thanks to the Tune Up calibration,” says Shaw.
ezRoom systems will also use updated teacher mics (model ITM-02). These boast over triple the received IR power of existing mics (including competitors’) without impacting battery life thanks to Generation 3 infrared technology that combines more efficient output and advanced digital filtering. In addition, the teacher microphone’s single Smart Button can be programmed to allow either voice command of projectors (e.g., power, input switching, freeze) or press-and-hold activation of practically any single command, including alerting the front office to a problem. “We really believe that simplicity of use is key in everything we do,” says Shaw. “That’s why we packed a lot of powerful functionality into that one, easy-to-find button. If schools want to use it for emergency alerting, it’s easy to find under duress.”
Piedmont Unified School District in California, USA has been a test site for the new ezRoom systems since March. “In my opinion, the voice commands make the system," says Ted Greenebaum, a science teacher at Piedmont Middle School. "Being able to freeze and unfreeze the screen, shut down and power up, provide a blank screen and change the volume from anywhere in the room is a tremendous plus.”
As with all previous ezRoom editions, those with the new Smart Receiver can be configured in hundreds of different custom packages – over 7 million in fact, according to Shaw. Suggested school prices start at US$2,285, and systems will begin shipping November 28.