By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Furniture suppliers were a strong presence at CEDIA Expo earlier this month, looking to appeal to the installers and integrators that are increasingly offering to design whole-room theaters for consumers.
To that end, designs spanned the gamut from traditional to ultra-contemporary styles, weaving in a wide array of features meant to improve the functionality and ease of use of home theater audio and video systems.
New to the CEDIA Expo floor this year was Kathy Ireland Home By Martin(KIHBM). The San Diego-based supplier brought its expanding line of traditionally designed wood home theater furniture to Denver after a successful debut at International CES in January.
KIHBM featured television consoles with the company's Easy Wire Access System (EWAS). This patent-pending system includes a hinged door that lifts up while the television is on the console to provide easy access to wires and electronic components. Units with EWAS feature convection ventilation and wire raceways for cable management.
On display with EWAS was the Bradley TV Console, a 69-inch wide hardwood model with cherry veneers and satin nickel hardware. It features a removable speaker grille panel with wood frame over the center channel speaker compartment, tempered glass doors and a media storage drawer with removable partitions.
The company is bundling the console with two speaker pedestals, an end table, coffee table and space saver occasional table for $1,899.
The company's flat-panel TV console with lift is part of KIHBM's Mount View collection. The console's inner lift mounts to a flat panel up to 50 inches. Its traditional wood design is constructed of grained hardwood solids with cherry veneers and book-matched panels complemented by graphite-colored hardware.
The console offers media storage andadjustable shelves for components.
The Mount View flat-panel console with lift includes two side component piers at a suggested $2,399. The lift consold by itself with no component piers retails for $1,699.
A line of media hutches that complemented KIHBM's consoles were also on display at the company's booth.
"We have worked very hard to adapt our home theater furniture to new television technologies and sizes," said Karl Eulberg, KIHBM's sales and marketing VP. "Our new television consoles with Easy Wire Access System have become ideal solutions for the consumer electronics retailer. Smart design and easy installation are incorporated with designs that complement home décor. It is the best of both worlds."
BDI came to Denver with an assortment of line expansions mixing contempory design with some retro flourishes.
The company's Marina 8729 TV console is a 23-inch by 71-inch by 22.25-inch unit designed for flat panels up to 70 inches. The simple silhouette in gloss white or gloss black finish offers "an up-to-date take on space-age '50s modernism" according to BDI.
It features hidden wheels, flow-through ventilation, a center-channel speaker niche and integrated wire management.
It has a suggested retail of $1,895.
Also on display was the Revo 9980, a modern console for medium size displays with space for three A/V components. Available in cherry wood or espresso, it features a curved smoke glass door with a hidden magnetic push latch, flow-through ventilation, a removeable back panel and a rotating base.
It retails for $1,150.
Bell'O brought to CEDIA two new lines of A/V product, one with a contemporary glass and metal construction and the other featuring a more traditional wood finish.
The new wood models include the WLC-2246, "a modern twist on a classic piece," according to Bell'O. It is a traditional TV cabinet that incorporates a wireless remote-controlled flat-panel lift to display or conceal a display with one-button operation.
The slim-line espresso wood cabinet accomodates panels up to 42 inches, while the center compartment holds up to four A/V components. The grille-cloth-covered drop-down door hides the center channel speaker and there are two drawers and side compartments for storage. It measures 47.5 inches by 32.5 inches by 26.375 inches.
Among the company's new glass and metal designs was the AVS-4601HG console with angled oval sides, chrome accents and a high-gloss black scratch-resistant finish. It accomodates TVs up to 52 inches and black tempered glass shelves hold up to four components.
It measures 52 inches by 22 inches by 19 inches and retails for $350.
All the new models feature Bell'O's integrated CMS cable management system.
Elite Modern's booth display of contemporary designs was anchored by the new Arches entertainment center, designed by Dario Antonioni, founder of Miami's Orange22 design lab.
The Arches features a polished chrome circle that showcases a flat-panel TV up to 50 inches. Three floating oval tempered glass shelves are permanently bonded to stainless-steel discs that mount to the frame for support of up to four components. The center of the piece has a rectangular support panel for the TV with cable management elements.
The base is trimmed with rift-cut white oak veneer and offered in cherry, java or ebony, while the steel base plate and TV support are available in topaz, onyx, mocha or sienna. Companion bookshelves and desks are also available.
Elite also introduced its Carter EZ, an entertainment center designed by Nolen Niu that boasts "no tools" assembly in three steps. After the hinged frame legs are unfolded, a wire management panel is inserted. Then the glass shelves are added to the frame supports to complete the assembly.
It is constructed from champagne plated steel, white oak veneer and tempered glass and holds up to a 50-inch TV.
For OmniMount, CEDIA provided a sneek preview of a a new line of lifestyle furniture by celebrated industrial and interior designer Karim Rashid. A working sample of the first of their collaborative projects, the Prism 50, was on display.
The Prism 50 employs a "hypermodernist" trapezoidal shape in a configuration that will accommodate TV displays up to 50 inches. It features smoked-glass doors, space for a center-channel speaker or soundbar and a bottom compartment for additional A/V components.
OmniMount plans to make the units available in high-gloss white, high-gloss black and titanium finishes.
"When OmniMount came to me I was so impressed with their massive line of intelligent mounting fixtures," said Rashid, "I felt that we could collaborate to elevate a needed line of furnishings for our new technologically-savvy homes. Together we will bring the A/V home furnishings category up to speed with the beauty and fulgency of our audio visual age."
Rashid has put some 2,500 projects into production and has won more than 300 design awards in the last 15 years. He is the author of several books, including Evolution and Digipop. An extensive collection of photographs of his work is available at www.karimrashid.com.
OmniMount also unveiled an extension of its "wall furniture" series with the new Moda wall shelf (MWS). The floating wall shelf can accommodate either a slim depth DLP or a flat-panel display.
The design includes an open area for a small component, center channel speaker or soundbar. A cable management kit is included as are adjustable safety straps for securing the TV to the shelf. It also includes a level for easy installation. The MWS has double-stud mounting that holds up to a 40-inch flat panel or 46-inch slim depth rear-projection set up to 80 pounds. The unit is 46 inches by 12 inches by 10 inches with a 42- by 12-inch inner shelf.
Brett Stenhouse, OmniMount's marketing VP, said: "Based on our research, consumers are getting more innovative with the way they are mounting flat panels and displaying their slim depth DLPs. We're in the business of providing mounting solutions, so we're constantly developing new products with that in mind."
The MWS is available now in dark espresso and retails for $179.
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