To see what’s cutting the edge of residential technology, the annual Custom Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) trade event is the place to be. This year’s show drew nearly 30,000 attendees to Denver to discover the latest news in home entertainment, lighting, automation, and networking. - Rebecca Day

Rethinking the TV cabinet
The thin depths of flat-panel TVs have sent furniture designers eagerly back to the drawing board to come up with new entertainment furniture that no longer has to accommodate a deep tube TV. BDI’s Alcove, available in cherry or walnut, provides a curved backdrop for a flat panel TV for designers who can’t mount a TV to the wall. The cabinet’s built-in mounting bracket holds a TV and supports screens up to 200 pounds. The deceptively deep, black cabinet packs integrated ventilation to keep components operating at peak levels, while the smoked glass doors enabled an infrared beam from a remote control to pass through without exposing the electronics inside. Dual hidden towers behind the wood wall store DVDs and CDs out of sight, and hidden casters allow users to move the entire set-up for easy access to rear-panel connections. BDI USA, Chantilly, Va.


Clean profile
Owning a TV thin enough to mount to the wall is the first step toward intelligent tech design. Maintaining a clean look and low profile completes the picture. Chief Manufacturing makes the claim that its FAC501 flat-panel TV mount converts an on-wall swing arm mount solution from low profile to no-profile, making the screen appear to float on the wall. Designed for 20’’ to 26’’ flat-panel TVs, the FAC501’s swing arm mount is completely hidden in the wall. An electrical box is included to simplify installation whether as a new construction or retrofit project. Integrated spacers eliminate the need for shims. The kits come in black and can be painted. A trim is supplied to provide a finished look. Chief Manufacturing, Savage, Minn.


Racy audio system
If you want to create a statement audio product with the look and feel of a finely tuned luxury sports car, you go to the master for the perfect look. Meridian’s F80 audio system combines Ferrari styling with audiophile-grade sound to deliver a tabletop DVD/CD audio system that begs to be an objet d’art in any room of the house. Meridian audio engineers used sophisticated digital signal processing to pack powerful sound in a compact enclosure that can serve as the music system for an office or living room. The built-in alarm makes it the classiest alarm clock on the market. A rear-panel connector accepts the output from an iPod, and an AM/FM radio provides an additional source of audio. The F80 is available in a rainbow of Ferrari colors: yellow, red, silver, black and white. Meridian Audio Austell, Ga.


Thin is in
Not only have TVs gotten thinner in depth, manufacturers are shrinking the width of the bezel around the screen, too. Mitsubishi’s Ultra Thin Frame measures less than 1’’ thick. Thanks to the minimized frame, consumers are able to gain screen space without adding to the size of the overall TV. The company’s SuperSlim 46’’ LCD flat panel (measured diagonally) is only 42’’ wide and fits into a space equal to or smaller than the typical 42’’ plasma set. Speakers are hidden and pointed upward to accommodate the stealth design. As a result, the frame creates a low-profile silhouette that makes the set appear to virtually float in space. Packed with the latest features, the Ultra Thin Frame line includes a 120 Hz scan rate, which eliminates blur in fast moving images. All eight models in the line boast 1080p resolution, the highest available, in screen sizes measuring from 40’’ to 52’’. Mitsubishi Electric, Cypress, Calif.

Get control
Designed to mount horizontally on the wall, the Bticino Axolute keypad from Vantage/LeGrand presents designers and architects with an aesthetic departure from the traditional vertical faceplate. The keypad stations are the primary control points for a wired Vantage control system, and each station can replace rows of standard light switches. Each station includes six buttons with three-color LED lighting indicators that offer adjustable brightness control. The keypads are available in a swath of unique finishes including ash wood, diamond-cut glass, slate, and brushed chrome, and matching outlets and switches are also available. The keypads have built-in surge protection and use a two-wire, non-polarized station bus. Vantage Controls, Orem, Utah.