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Elements of Design

The winners of Residential Systems magazine’s seventh-annual Resi Awards demonstrated that ergonomics, intuitive functionality, and elegance of design are more important than ever in the CEDIA channel.

The winners of Residential Systems magazine’s seventh-annual Resi Awards demonstrated that ergonomics, intuitive functionality, and elegance of design are more important than ever in the CEDIA channel.

This year’s Resi Award-winning products were recognized as the most innovative industrial designs in the custom installation industry. Each of the 16 winners possess design attributes unique the various product categories that they represent. The winners were recognized at the 2010 Resi Awards reception, held during CEDIA EXPO in Atlanta, Georgia, September 22, 2010, in the Georgia World Congress Center.

Here’s a look at the winners and descriptions of the features that make their designs noteworthy.

Best Combined Product Family
NuVo Technologies’ Renovia

Renovia is a complete whole-home audio system utilizing HomePlug 1.0 Power Line Carrier technology to deliver audio and metadata over a home’s existing electrical wiring to up to eight listening zones. The system’s Source Hub features a front panel is sleek and clean, ornamented only by a thin chrome strip defining the lower edge of the unit. Front programming ports are hidden behind a flip down panel. At just one rack space high and only 5.3 lbs, the Source Hub is compact enough to fit most anywhere. The low-profile Zone Amplifier was designed to be heard but not seen. It is only four inches square, paintable, and can be discretely located behind furniture.

Best Media Server
Kaleidescape’s M500 and M300 Players

With the introduction of its next-generation M500 and M300 Players, Kaleidescape unveiled a new, proprietary M-Class architecture, an improved onscreen user interface, and Blu-ray support. The Players perpetuate Kaleidescape’s signature industrial design–elegant curves and a blue glow that emanates from within its translucent white front panel. The M500 Player’s elegant onscreen user interface is more refined, has a quicker response time, and is presented in native high definition. The exclusive Kaleidescape Movie Guide provides synopses, high-resolution cover art, and details like actor, director, genre, year of release, and run time.

Best Lighting
Lite Touch ‘s Circa Keypad

This latest keypad style from LiteTouch is available in both vertical and cube sizes for market compatibility all over the world and also features fieldselectable LED colors. By rotating the RGB Color Wheel located on the back of the keypad, seven different keypad LED colors can be selected. The RGB Level Wheel, located adjacent to the RGB Color Wheel, can be rotated to adjust LED brightness, as well. Additionally the LiteTouch Circa keypad can be purchased with optional features, including backlit engraving, auxiliary integration ports and IR.

Best AVR or AV Component
Marantz’s SR7005 AV Receiver

The SR7005 is a seven-channel home theater AV receiver offering three-zone, three-source audio distribution capability and support for high-definition audio and video performance from virtually all digital sources. It is distinguished by a sleek new design that echoes traditional Marantz aesthetic touches such as the signature “porthole” display, as well as the famous Marantz star, blue lighting, and the signature Marantz symmetrical design, which is consistent throughout the company’s entire product line. Additionally, the newly designed fold-up front panel makes for a clean and neat appearance and is ideal for merging cosmetically in an integrated system.

Best Mounts (Special Application)
iPort’s CM-IW100T Control Mount for iPod touch

The iPort CM-IW100T provides an unobtrusive in-wall mounting solution using an iPod touch to create a control touch screen in any room. It encases an iPod touch in a wall-mounted chassis with a magnetically attached, rectangular fascia. The CM-IW100T also supports audio output for playback from the iPod touch for a variety of streaming music apps. It may be installed in a vertical or horizontal orientation, depending upon the functionality of the user’s preferred apps. Used in a horizontal orientation, landscape rotation of some home automation apps and iTunes Cover Flow user interface are attractively presented. The paintable fascia makes it an unobtrusive addition to any home décor.

Best Mounts (Video Display)
OmniMount’s LEDP75

The LEDP75 is specifically designed for 23- to 55-inch LED TVs and is the only mount that offers both in-wall and on-wall mounting. It features a sliding-arm design that offers full motion, including tilt, pan, and swivel; and because of its dual-function design, it can nest to both the left and right, custom to the application. In addition, the product’s extruded aluminum construction is brushed and anodized for better aesthetics, integrated cable management clips hide and route wires, and the overlapping flaps allow wires to pass through the back of the box while still providing a nearly airtight seal and a seamless look.

Best Custom Installation Accessory
Gefen’s GefenTV Auto Volume Stabilizer

The GefenTV Auto Volume Stabilizer was designed to have a big impact on the way consumers enjoy their home entertainment systems. This device enables a smooth transition and a consistent level of volume when listening to different CDs, TV programs, movies, and commercials.

This innovative accessory utilizes Dolby Volume Technology, supporting Dolby Digital to level the volume on TV programs and commercials for a consistent audio experience. It automatically equalizes audio from different sources to ensure a steady volume control; everything is heard at the same intensity, making for an enjoyable listening experience. The device is easily installed, and comes with analog (L/R) and digital (TOSlink, S/PDIF) connectors.

The GefenTV Auto Volume Stabilizer is small, inconspicuous, and easily installed in the home. A white enclosure with rounded edges holds nicely in the hand, and it can easily sit in between any audio/video source and display. No clunky enclosure makes it portable for installers to carry in the field.

It only adjusts the level of output volume, so audio fidelity remains pristine and protected. A bypass mechanism is included in case the consumer decides to forgo the automatic adjustments during a particular movie or program.

The Auto Volume Stabilizer incorporates Dolby 5.1 digital decoding and converting to 2-channel audio to expand the usefulness and convenience of this unit. It also supports both digital (TOSlink; S/PDIF) and analog (L/R) audio formats. It will work with most popular home entertainment devices on the market, including television sets, AV receivers, CD players, DVD players, and more. Multiple audio sources can be connected at the same time, and accessed with the included IR remote or a tiny selector on the device used to switch between sources. Whatever source is selected will be automatically adjusted to maintain the optimal level of volume.

Installers can add this economical little accessory as a bonus to customers while solving one of the most frequent consumer complaints. It has been reported that the FCC has received consumer complaints about commercials being louder than television shows since the 1960s. In the 25 quarterly reports on consumer complaints released by the FCC since 2002, 21 have listed as a top complaint the loudness of television commercials. This device solves that problem easily and effectively.

Gefen, president and CEO, Hagai Gefen, said he was honored to be awarded for his product’s design. “It is very special to be recognized by our industry peers for excellence in industrial design,” he said. “When we conceived this product we knew we had to try for something different. Being recognized is a rewarding experience. Gefen has always strived to exceed the needs of its customers. This award indicates that we are on the right track with our goals. We couldn’t be happier.”

BestControl Interface
Crestron’s V-Panel

Designed as a complete digital media, control, and communications interface, V-Panel is Crestron’s newest line of digital touchpanels. They integrates HD and streaming video, VoIP, embedded PC applications, USB/HID control, onscreen annotation and whole-house control into an ultra-slim design.

Serving as a touchpanel controller and 1080p HD display, V-Panel is the world’s only touchpanel with HDCP support, providing complete compatibility with today’s digital sources.

Edge-to-edge glass design and only two inches deep, this all-encompassing multimedia touchpanel is the thinnest available. It’s also the only touchpanel offering both flexible VESA mount installation and sleek desktop/tilt and in-wall mount options, complementing any interior design.

V-Panel’s smooth-rounded corners, curvaceous hi-gloss tabletop/tilt base, and flush inwall mounting options are intended to enrich any contemporary interior, according to Crestron. Zero-footprint articulating arm VESA mounting allows V-Panel to be installed virtually anywhere, then retracted when not in use.

Advanced fingerprint-resistant glass keeps V-Panel’s precision anti-glare screen impeccable, enabling clean sharp viewing at all times.

V-Panel’s DGE Digital Graphics Engine gets installed away from the touchpanel body–in the central equipment closet– enabling its quiet, cool design. Conversely, V-Panel can also be ordered with the graphics engine integrated into its slim body, with single-wire connectivity for data, control, and AV.

Its interactive onscreen visual experience is even more dramatic. Offering the latest in digital touchpanel technology and precision design, V-Panel delivers full-motion HD graphics/video display, playing digital content from streaming Internet media, Blu-ray Discs, HDTV, and Macs. V-Panel can simultaneously display up to two fully-scalable, full-motion video windows, each supporting standard video, HDTV, and high-resolution RGB signals from all external AV and computer sources including YouTube.

V-Panel is also a powerful Crestron touchpanel, with apps to access wholehouse control of audio/video, lights, shades, thermostats, security, sprinkler systems, etc., optimizing visual appeal and home technology performance. Embedded PC functionality with built-in Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer, Acrobat Reader, and Microsoft Office document viewers transform TPMC-V15 into a multimedia command center.

Best Speakers (Freestanding)
Focal’s Dome 5.1 System

The Focal Dome 5.1 system consists of five spherically shaped die-cast aluminum alloy satellite speakers accompanied by a sleek-looking dome-shaped subwoofer. The compact, stylish satellites can be installed on a stand or table, or mounted on a wall or ceiling. They are solid, well built, and virtually disappear in a typical room. The system is available in 2.0-, 2.1-, or 5.1-channel configurations with a high-gloss lacquer black, white, or a brilliant red finish. In addition, the installer (or end-user) can simply add a decorative color accent to any rooms decor by adding optional blue, red, or yellow grills.

Best Power Products
SurgeX’s XN120

The XN120 is designed as a protection solution for multi-circuit residential AV systems where space is at a premium. The compact 120-Volt/80- amp unit is hardwired as a subpanel at the service panel or the equipment room and is designed to provide failsafe protection required for multiple circuits. Engineered with professional grade Advanced Series Mode surge elimination technology and Impedance Tolerant EMI/RFI noise filtering, the XN120 is the only NEMA enclosure protection product in the market that eliminates surges and transients, according to the company.

Best Speakers (Onwall)
Definitive Technology’s Mythos XTR-50

The Mythos XTR-50 is the first truly high-performance on-wall dynamic loudspeaker whose depth matches that of today’s ultra-thin TVs. The enclosure is black anodized extruded aluminum merely 1.5 inches deep when mounted on a wall, shallower than many ultra-thin TVs wall-mounted with their factory hardware. It can be used as Left, Center, or Right speaker, positioned on-wall or on table-top with its supplied hardware. It mounts onwall with supplied bracket or sits on-shelf with supplied table stand (vertical orientation) and adjustable supports (horizontal orientation).

Best Projection Screens
Screen Innovation ‘s Reference Motorized II

The Reference Motorized II projection screen has eliminated the need for a flush-mount chassis. Up until now, the industry standard has been selling a separate chassis to put the box in, increasing its environmental footprint and extra expense. With SI’s Reference Motorized II, the installer can either add flush mount plates at the bottom or add the décor fascia plate for external installation. Pricing remains the same either way, while eliminating the need for a second box. For customers that need external mount, RMII is available with a décor case that offers several custom colors and finishes.

Best Speakers (Inwall)
Niles Audio’s ICS RWC7.7/lcr Ceiling-Mount Loudspeaker

The RWC7.7/lcr was designed with the interior designer in either a retrofit or new installation. Its low-profile, ultra-thin bezel magnetically attached grilles provide an aesthetically clean, virtually invisible installation.

The RWC7.7/lcr can be installed with either round or square grilles, providing installers and designers with the flexibility to match the loudspeaker to the room’s architectural elements. The loudspeakers’ weather-resistant grilles can also be easily painted to complement or blend in with any surrounding décor.

Additionally, the MicroPerf grille pattern and white scrim masks the speaker elements while enabling the sound to pass through unfettered.

Removing the grille reveals an industrial design that is synonymous with the RWC7.7/lcr’s uncompromising engineering and attention to detail. Inspired by a musical scale, its striking, cast aluminum tweeter bridge suspends the speaker’s omni-directional tweeter pod. The three metallic finger guards on the tweeter assembly complement the three arms on the tweeter bridge. The linearity of the bars contrast the many circular elements found on the loudspeaker, which include the drivers, neodymium grille magnets, mounting holes and rounded speaker switches.

The speaker’s three mounting clamps tuck neatly into the rear cylindrical housing that enables the woofer to swivel into position. The mounting clamps are translucent, which expose their internal spring-loaded design.

The sleek aerodynamic form of the rear enclosure enables the maximum enclosure size to slip effortlessly through its respective hole cut-out. The RWC7.7’s enclosure also features logo-laden soft rubber inserts that are designed to absorb unwanted resonance.

Niles developed a new custom-tuned rear enclosure for predictable, repeatable sound for each and every installation. The enclosure was specifically designed to provide maximum volume for enhanced bass response. And unlike most others, it quickly tucks through the cutout hole allowing for easy retrofit installations. An additional benefit of this unique design is enhanced rear wave isolation, which reduces sound bleed-through into adjacent rooms or spaces.

The footprint of the RWC7.7/lcr is extremely compact. The unique design enables the deep bass of a seven-inch woofer to exist in the same space typically reserved for a six-inch woofer. Niles’ highdesign, low-profile bezel keeps the magnetically attached grilles ultra-thin for an aesthetically clean, virtually invisible installation.

The company’s improved patented Directed Soundfield technology includes a woofer/midrange that pivots up to 15 degrees in any direction and a proprietary pivoting bridge-mounted tweeter so you can precisely direct the sound into the listening area, even when the speakers are installed in cathedral or vaulted ceilings.

“With its aesthetic design, low-profile, magnetically-attached grilles and superior sound, the ICS Ceiling Mount Loudspeaker line provides installers with high performance, unobtrusive audio solution that exceeds the demands of today’s customer,” said Mike Detmer, president of Niles Audio. “We are honored to have the staff of Residential Systems recognize how uniquely valuable the design and engineering features of our ICS Ceiling Mount Loudspeakers are for custom installation professionals.”

Best Video Display
Runco’s WindowWall

The Runco WindowWall creates a totally customizable viewing scenario, perfect for any installation. It is available in multiple configurations including a 3×3 and 2×2 display wall system, 5×4 faceted display wall system, 2×1 and 2×3 columnar display wall system and 3×1 and 1×2 portrait display wall system. Custom configurations in any size are also available. The WindowWall’s image-to-image gap of 0.28 inches along with ultra-slim profile allow for continuous viewing from panel to panel without unsightly bezels. It also features custom framing options to provide seamless integration into any extraordinary room design.

Best Wire & Cable
Monster’s SuperThin Cables for HDMI

Monster “powered” SuperThin Cables for HDMI are specially designed light, thin cables for use with both on-the-go HD devices as well as flat-panel TVs and home entertainment systems. With a diameter 55 percent narrower than conventional high-speed cables, SuperThin fulfills the consumer’s desire for a clean, nearly invisible installation with no compromise in performance.

Best Video Projector
SIM2’s Grand Cinema MICO CONNECT

This projector features proprietary PureLED technology utilizing the latest RGB LEDs to act as both light and color source. Every component of the product speaks of attention to detail, from the customized glass optical components of its light engine, to the ultra-stylish curvaceous cabinet. Its paint finish, in a striking gloss gunmetal gray, is the same as that used in the luxury automotive industry.