The Navvo Group, LLC has begun shipping its Voco line of voice-operated media-streaming products in Canada. Currently, Voco has one hardware product: the V-Zone Wireless Music Receiver (C$279). Using the Voco Controller App for iOS and Android, users can stream media files stored on a PC or Mac (including an iTunes library), smartphone or tablet to a Voco device.
Voco Controller aggregates media content on devices on the local network. When a user makes a spoken request ("Play ‘Yellow Submarine'"), the spoken command is sent over the Internet to a cloud service running Voco's speech-recognition engine, which uses the same technology employed in Lexus, Toyota and Chrysler vehicles. After translation, the media request is to a server app running on the device where the media is stored, which then begins streaming the requested file(s) to the appropriate Voco device.
Voco devices can communicate over a local network, or directly using Wi-Fi Direct; and can be configured as Wi-Fi hotspots.
The V-Zone Audio has built-in Wi-Fi, Ethernet port, analog and optical digital audio out, and HDMI out. Native file formats include MP3, AAC, WAV, FLAC and OGG; other formats are supported via transcoding. Users can plug an i-device into the front USB port, so that it can function as a music server.
Arriving in August, the V-Zone+ Wireless Music and Video Receiver ($399) adds support for video streaming. In addition to HDMI, it has component video output. Both V-Zone products are unamplified, so external amplifiers and speakers (and a display for the V-Zone+ are required.
Coming in October is the V-Spot Network Media Player ($449, shown at top of story), which has five built-in Class D amplifiers driving dual woofers and tweeters and a single subwoofer. Scheduled for 2012 are the V-Dot, a small self-contained music-streaming product; and the V-Bar soundbar V-Base sound box, both of which offer music and video streaming.
In addition to content on the local network, a Voco system can play Internet radio through the TuneIn app. It also supports a limited number of streaming services, including JazzRadio, last.fm, SKY.fm and Digitally Imported.
Voco is providing APIs that allow its products to be integrated with AMX, BitWise, Control4, Crestron and RTI control systems.
The products will be sold through the custom and specialty AV channels. In Canada, Voco is represented by JTM Group Inc. (Quebec), Stagg Ventures Inc. (Ontario) and Phoenix Marketing Group Inc. (Western Canada).