AMX MVP-8400 Modero Viewpoint Halifax NS
AMX MVP-8400 Modero Viewpoint
July 1, 2004 By Brent Butterworth
Today’s most important nascent technology has no form or shape at all. It’s a radio wave—specifically, the wireless computer networking technology that engineers call 802.11b and the rest of us call WiFi. Most people think of WiFi merely as a way to access the Internet without having to connect a network cable. But WiFi has also given birth to a new device called a web tablet—a touchscreen with a built-in computer that lets you carry the Internet with you anywhere in the home.
With its sleek ergonomics and advanced technology, the AMX MVP-8400 Modero Viewpoint brings the touchscreen remote control into the 21st century. (Click image to enlarge)
Web tablets look like the touchscreen remotes used to control high-end home theaters—but they’re slimmer, sleeker and, in some ways, more comfortable to use. Touchscreen suppliers are starting to follow suit. In our March 2004 issue, we profiled the first web-tablet-style touchscreen, the Philips iPronto. While the iPronto does a great job of controlling a home theater, you probably wouldn’t want to manage your lights, air conditioning or security system with it.
For that level of home automation muscle, most people rely on products from touchscreen stalwarts Crestron and AMX. But with AMX’s new Modero ViewPoint controllers, you can get the best of both worlds—the power of a big touchscreen system with the convenience and appealing form factor of a web tablet.
AMX offers two Modero ViewPoints: the MVP-7500, with a 7.5-inch screen, and the MVP-8400, with a highresolution 8.4-inch screen. The company is kind enough to provide me with an MVP-8400 to try; they also send AMX Project Manager Darryl Lovato to provide technical assistance.
The MVP-8400 feels different. Other wireless touchscreens are relatively clunky; in your lap, they feel like a fat Chihuahua. The MVP-8400, though, lies across my lap like a small laptop computer. Somehow, it just feels right. And when I want to free up my lap for a bowl of popcorn, I flip out the optional KickStand so the screen stands up on my end table. A power adapter recharges the MVP-8400’s batteries.
As I browse the controls that Lovato has provided for my system, I notice that many of the on-screen buttons flip when I touch them, like playing cards being turned over. This animation tells me that the touchscreen is carrying out my command. Any touchscreen can do this to some degree, but typically a button will merely change color when you hit it. Lovato tells me that the buttons on the MVP-8400’s screen can also spin or change shape according to the programmer’s design. Does this animation capability add functionality? No. Does it look cool? Oh, yes.The NI-3000 interfaces the MVP-8400 with your audiovisual components. (Click image to enlarge)
Lovato has used a control template—a set of layouts provided by AM...