CES may have been virtual this year, but that did not stop a cavalcade of new products from being introduced. As we do each year, the staff at Residential Systems has named their Picks Awards winners for CES 2021. Only products that were submitted into the awards program were eligible to win, and were judged based on their potential impact to the custom installation industry (or, in the case of LG’s smart fridge, some cool use of technology).
Here are the Residential Systems Picks Award winners for CES 2021:
Definitive Technology Studio 3D Mini Soundbar
Designed to provide music and movie enthusiasts with a high-performance entertainment experience from an ultra-compact platform, the Definitive Technology Studio 3D Mini soundbar boasts premium-grade components and Dolby Atmos and DTS:X signal processing for a dynamic sound stage that rivals soundbars twice its size. Standing at only two inches high and 26 inches wide, and built with Definitive Technology’s minimalist industrial design, the Studio 3D Mini features striking angles and brushed aluminum finishes to look as elegant as it sounds.
The Studio 3D Mini employs a 4.1-channel, six-driver array with aluminum tweeters. The system ships with a compact 8-inch wireless subwoofer for tight, detailed bass response. With the ability to process Dolby Atmos or DTS:X encoded movies via a single HDMI (eARC) connection, the Studio 3D Mini is capable of producing a surprisingly lifelike theater experience with very little effort. The soundbar also features a variety of other in/out connections to help with backwards compatibility and commercial installer builds, including a 4K HDMI in, 4K HDMI with eARC out, optical in, AUX in, and a USB port for high-resolution music playback.
DMF Lighting DID Series Recessed LED Downlight
The all-new DMF Lighting DID Series delivers unmatched performance and adaptability. Modularity has been taken a step further to provide field changeable optics and accessories for both DID2 downlights and DID4 adjustable accent lights. The DID includes an integrated driver for ease of installation and delivers soft on/off and smooth dimming down to 1 percent with local or centralized control systems.
The DID Series was specifically designed to complement residential applications and is exclusively available to custom integration dealers. With die-cast aluminum trims, custom finishes, and multiple color temperatures and light distributions, the DID allows dealers to provide a solution to meet the unique needs of each homeowner. DMF LED downlights produce accurate color rendering, smooth dimming, and have low power consumption.
LG Electronics InstaView Door-in-Door Side-by-Side Refrigerator
We were surprised when LG nominated this smart refrigerator for a Residential Systems Picks awards, as clearly it is not a CI product. However, once we checked it out, there were a few cool features that we thought pushed the envelope for these products, namely the new edge-to-edge InstaView window that’s 25 percent larger, providing the kitchen with large interactive screen, and the InstaView Door-in-Door, which lets the user knock twice to see inside the fridge without opening the door.
Other no-pun-intended cool features include the UVnano Water Dispenser that kills up to 99.99 percent of bacteria on the dispenser nozzle in 24 hours, and the Dual Ice Maker with Craft Ice, which lets you choose from cubed, crushed, or LG’s slow-melting round Craft Ice for what LG calls “better-tasting drinks and an elevated, bar-quality experience at home.”
Plus, as expected, it features LG’s ThinQ system that, in this case, allows users to automatically receive notifications when refrigerator water and air filters need replacement based on average usage period.
Liberty AV Solutions HDMI 2.0 Fiber Optic Extender Set (DL-ILFO-H2)
Liberty AV’s HDMI 2.0 Fiber Optic Extender Set (DL-ILFO-H2) extends HDMI 2.0 signals up to 200m (656 feet) and transmits 4K UHD (4096×2160) at 60 Hz over one duplex LC multimode fiber optic cable. This technology allows long-distance transmission of 4K signal without any video/audio degradation caused by compression. Its high-retention HDMI connectors utilize more holding force than a standard HDMI connector and prevent accidental disconnection. This extender set supports HDMI 2.0b up to 18 Gbps, CEC, HDR10, HDR10+ Dolby Vision, and HDCP 2.2, as well as High Definition Dolby and DTS audio formats for better installation flexibility and compatibility. It also supports HDR to deliver a more life-like video image. Either unit can be operated by USB power, and international power supplies are included. The transmitter can alternatively be powered from the HDMI source using DDC 5V power.
Marantz SR8015 Amplifier
The SR-Series feature high-current discrete power amplifiers on all channels to deliver Marantz’s signature power output. Leveraging the company’s proprietary Hyper Dynamic Amplification Module (HDAM) circuitry, the AVRs provide optimal fidelity and maximum dynamic range of high-resolution files.
The flagship SR8015 supports DTS:X Pro, which will allow users to enjoy up to 13 channels of DTS:X decoding with speaker configurations such as 7.2.6 or 9.2.4. Listeners can also enjoy the latest in IMAX Enhanced films in 7.2.6 or 9.2.4 speaker configurations thanks to newly adopted 13.2-channel processing capabilities with external amplification.
Showcasing discrete high-current power amplifiers on all channels, the SR8015 delivers 140 watts of power per channel (8 ohm, 20 Hz–20 kHz, THD: 0.05%, 2-channel driven). The new Marantz SR8015 includes eight HDMI inputs and three outputs. With one dedicated 8K input to support 8K/60 Hz or 4K/120 Hz pass-through capability, 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling, Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10, 21:9 video, 3D and BT.2020 pass-through, and the latest HDCP 2.3 copy protection standard is supported on all HDMI inputs.
Perlisten Audio S7t Tower Speaker
The S7t is a 4-way, full-range, seven-speaker design with a frequency response from 22 Hz to 37 kHz and a sensitivity of 92 dB at 2.83 v/1m. The S7t can be configured as vented for extension down to 22 Hz/–10 dB or sealed for 32 Hz/–10 dB with in-room extension of 18 Hz or 24 Hz, respectively. With a 600-watt RMS power handling, it does all of this with 117 dB peak output at less than 2 percent THD. According to Perlisten, it is the world’s first THX Certified Dominus Speaker, which demands more than double the output levels compared to the THX Ultra specification.
At the heart of the Signature S7t is the patent-pending DPC or Directivity Pattern Control Wave Guide. The single 28mm Beryllium tweeter and two 28mm Textreme mid-range drivers in the S7t are used in unison in a vertical array to control the vertical and horizontal polar patterns. The unique waveguide has the 2 midrange 28mm drivers offset in the Z direction and Y direction compared to the 28mm Beryllium tweeter. These dimensions are specific to the design and allow the control of the time of arrival.
Samsung 85-inch Q900 Neo QLED TV
Samsung’s 85-inch Q900 Neo QLED TV, similar to MiniLED, combines Samsung’s advancements in Neo QLED technology with its new quantum processor and an infinity display to deliver exemplary picture quality, sound quality, and design.
Samsung developed the Active Matrix (AM) Neo QLED technology for 8K QLED, improving picture quality with five times higher contrast ratios while also minimizing power consumption. The Q900 boasts what Samsung calls “the world’s thinnest Black Matrix,” creating a slim display that blends into any environment. With the New Quantum Processor 8K, the Q900 uses deep learning to optimize sound and picture quality.
Samsung The Premiere
The Samsung Premiere LSP9T is the world’s first HDR10+ certified, ultra-short throw (UST) projector. Instead of being set up at a distance or mounted to the ceiling, The Premiere can be positioned inches from the wall — and project a 130-inch image. With triple laser technology, 4K picture quality, and vivid brightness, The Premiere delivers an immersive viewing experience. Meanwhile, its built-in, multi-channel speakers deliver cinema-quality sound with Acoustic Beam technology. And it features Samsung’s smart TV Tizen platform, complete with built-in streaming apps and content casting functionality. The Premiere delivers a premium, big-screen home entertainment experience while seamlessly blending in.
Savant Smart Audio Soundbar
The Savant Smart Audio soundbar is a high-performance LCR soundbar that is also an advanced smart home hub. This soundbar features Savant’s smart home software built in, enabling users to control whole-house entertainment including access to all popular streaming services, lights, climate, and other smart appliances via the Savant Pro Remote X2 and/or the Savant Pro App. Integrators benefit from having a centralized smart home solution built into a soundbar.
Additionally, Savant’s 55-inch Smart Audio soundbar was designed by audio legend Cary Christie. This soundbar is a perfect match to the Savant Smart Audio wireless surround speakers and subwoofer, creating a family of solutions that are WiSA compliant. The scalable WiSA wireless platform transmits high-resolution 24-bit digital audio at 48 kHz/96 kHz with less than 1/10th the latency of a Bluetooth audio device
Somfy Systems, Inc. Sonesse 30 WireFree Zigbee Motor
The Sonesse 30 WireFree Zigbee motor, featuring bidirectional Zigbee 3.0 technology, is designed for the automation of interior window coverings. End-users can achieve real-time knowledge of shade status and battery level from anywhere. Working with the Zigbee 3.0 open protocol means these shades are compatible with other Zigbee 3.0 certified product, providing a more connected home environment.
This latest motor technology incorporates a free, intuitive mobile app that allows the professional or end user to program motorized window coverings for individual, group, and scheduled events for added convenience. Peripheral hand-held remotes can also be included in the motorized shade network for increased control flexibility. What’s more, the TaHoma hub makes it simple for end-users to enjoy the experience of connected solutions with voice and app control for their motorized shades. Somfy’s new Set & Go Connect app takes installers and manufacturers through step-by-step programming instructions for motorized shades.
Sony Electronics Inc. HT-G700 3.1-Channel Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Soundbar
Enjoy powerful 3.1-channel Dolby Atmos surround sound and clear dialog with the Sony HT-G700 soundbar’s dedicated center speaker, wireless subwoofer, and advanced Vertical Surround Engine technology. Hear everything in up to 7.1.2-cannel sound with multiple sound modes for enhanced audio. Signal processing in the HT-G700 has been improved to deliver surround sound to a wider home theater area. Additionally, finely tuned S-Force PRO technology uplifts sound to fit larger TV screen heights (over 55 inches), so viewers can enjoy a more immersive experience. The 400-watt soundbar also features a wireless subwoofer, which enhances the experience by delivering a deep, rich bass sound.
Starke Sound AD4 Amplifier
For true audiophile performance, the AD4 Amplifier uses Starke Sound’s built-in-house NS600 module, raising its sampling rate to 600 kHz and employing a pure analog power supply. Combining the high efficiency of class D and the warm sound of class AB amplifiers, AD4 also offers the flexibility of 4-channel or bridged 2 or 3-channel operation.
SureCall SureCall Fusion Professional
SureCall’s Fusion Professional is a powerful cell phone signal booster for larger homes and mid-size buildings and provides strong, reliable connections in areas up to 8000 sq. ft. With the highest system gain in its class, combined with SureCall’s strongest outdoor yagi antenna, the Fusion Professional significantly improves voice, text, 4G LTE, and is fully compatible with all 5G phones and devices for all North American cell carriers, boosting voice and data, including cellular hotspots and data hubs. The Fusion Professional includes SureCall’s proprietary 2XP technology, which doubles the power to the tower to ensure cellular connection is maintained, even in the weakest signal environments. It also includes patented SureIQ technology that automatically balances incoming signals, ensuring 24/7 uptime and continuous peak performance in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
Wall-Smart Flush Mounts for IC Realtime IPMX-W40F-IRW2 Cameras
Wall-Smart Recessed Mounts for IC Realtime IPMX-W40F-IRW2 Security Cameras are a brand-new line of flush in-ceiling and in-wall rounded mounts. The mounts were custom designed specifically for the IC Realtime cameras, so the fit between the cameras and the mounts is perfect.
The new Wall-Smart mounts minimize the impact of the domical camera body that would otherwise stand out of the ceiling/wall. With Wall-Smart, the camera remains fully accessible for service even when installed flush both in-wall and in-ceiling. Additionally, to ensure full security coverage, the cameras can be installed recessed anywhere in the house, without having to worry about cable mess. The mounts free up space by allowing cable management, and provide a clean, aesthetic décor. Most important, the Wall-Smart flush mounts do not diminish the cameras’ field of view.