May 03, 2010
by Tom LeBlanc
Operating a TiVo was as high-tech as the owners of this award-winning home used to get. But with more than four times the square footage of their previous home to now manage, they realized it was probably time to expand their electronics repertoire.
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To ease them into a high-tech lifestyle, “we knew that whatever we put in it had to be easy and seamless,” says their CE pro Matt Koppin of Architectural Audio and Video in Naperville, Ill.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the kitchen. The space features two flat-panel TVs, two pairs of multiroom audio speakers, motion sensors, a wireless access point, keypads and a wireless touchpanel.
Although the area is loaded with electronics, it’s difficult to see any of it. Both 26-inch LG LCD units are hidden most of the time. Only when a button is pressed on a Control4 wireless touchpanel does one of the displays reveal itself, ascending silently from a granite countertop.
Operating the Nexus 21 motorized TV lift might be a piece of cake, but installing it was quite the opposite. “It was one of the most challenging aspects of the entire project,” says Koppin.
The Architectural Audio and Video crew had to work closely with the cabinetmakers and the granite supplier to preserve the integrity of the cabinet and countertop without sacrificing the performance of the electronics.
“We cut the granite slab that rises up with the TV larger than it had to be, so that if anything spilled on the countertop and leaked through gap when the lift was down it wouldn’t hit the TV or the other electronics inside the cabinet,” Koppin explains.
“We made sure, though, to keep that gap very small — around 1/16 of an inch around all four sides — so that when the slab sinks into the countertop you can barely notice it.”
The covert design of the other TV may not be as dramatic, but it’s just as effective. Attached to an articulating mount, the set can be pulled from inside a wall cabinet and swiveled in any direction so that no matter where the family is hanging out — by the stove, at the breakfast nook or around the center island — it’s within perfect view.
Tied to a Control4 home controller, both flat-panel TVs can access any of the home’s four surveillance cameras and video from a wide variety of components stashed in various locations throughout the house. The entertainment options — including a 400-disc DVD player, high-def DVRs and Blu-ray players — are displayed for the family right on the screen of whichever TV they turn on; they use the Control4 remote to navigate the menu and click on their choice.