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Monster @ CEDIA - Hands-on with the Einstein Home Control system

Matt Burns

Say what you will about Monster but when they get into a new market, they do it right - the first time around. Think Monster Central remote. The same thing can be said with Monster's answer to home integration by offer a low-cost (we were surprised too) alternative to a Creston or Control4 system. Those two other systems can cost up to $40,000 dollars and while they can be more powerful and versatile, the Einstein is very similar for around $8,000. We managed to talk our way into the dealer-only demo room and sat through refreshingly slow and boring (CEDIA can be a hectic place) PowerPoint presentation but it was worth it to see the system work.

Our thoughts and live screenshots after the jump.

While the PowerPoint was a bit dull, the Monster Einstein system seemed to work as flawlessly as their new remote system. Yeah, this system managers and serves media but tons of systems do that so Monster wanted to make this system do something else.

First, the main remote is based on a gyration design with 4-5 buttons (no pics of this remote) and everything else being controlled via an onscreen GUI. To control volume, press and hold the trigger and move the remote left and right. Channel control: same thing but up and down. You can even scroll through all of you media with simple wrist movements but we are wondering if Monster is prepared for all the arthritis lawsuits in a few years? There is conventional and touch-screen remotes available for those true couch potatoes. Plus, the whole system can be controlled via a Bluetooth enabled phone and there is even a follow me option for these phones.

Lets say you walk into the house with your Bluetooth enabled phone, the way the demo made it seem is the system will turn on and start a pre-programmed function. That function could be a slide show of the HDBeat Flickr pool or setting the TV on a certain channel. But then you leave the room and go to the office or kitchen, the system follows you and preforms the same function there while turning off the other system. Do you think the system designers had the Bill Gates-ish character from Antitrust in mind when they developed this system 'cause it seems very similar?

The whole system has so much other features that was demoed including, remote surveillance, media location change, VOIP support, remote access and viewing of security cams, but we are sure the names alone will sirvice. These systems worked and should provide Monster with a total system label as the Einstein seems to do just about everything - plus, it is one of the least expensive units out there that does these functions. This something that is usually not associated with the Monster brand.

The Einstein doesn't consist of just one part but is built around a scalable system so lets run-down all the parts. Be prepared for a lot of 'creative' marketing names.

  • Second box down
  • Central brain unit that controls all the systems in the house
  • Stand alone option with built-in DVD player and dual 80GB hard drives on a Raid system
  • Can be controlled via remotes, WiFi, Bluetooth, IP networks, cell phones or VOIP telephone
  • Not shown
  • Second-room set-top box
  • Built-in DVD player
  • Connected to the Nucleus ether from wired or wireless IP networks
  • VOIP support
  • Bottom unit
  • Centralized hard-drive media server
  • Modular 10 bay design for up to 7.5 terabytes of storage
  • Connects to the Nucleus via Ethernet
  • Third down
  • 200 disc DVD server
  • Up to 5 on the same Einstein system
  • Integrated Media Engine retrieves all metadata
  • Dual transport streams to allow for two unique viewers
  • Connects to the Nucleus via Firewire
  • Top device
  • Whole house Sirius Tuner
  • Three tuners for three different listeners
  • Fully funcional as a stand-alone Sirius tuner
  • Not shown
  • Large touch screen remote
Monster is saying that this whole system is going to be available for around the $8,000 mark but we will wait and see. There is going to be a full launch at CES '07 so stay tuned for updates.

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