Australia’s best smart homes

Best media room

Why it won: More an everyday family media space than a dedicated, enclosed home theatre room, the equipment in this 160sqm area needed to be concealed so as not to spoil the architect-designed lines, but also be eminently accessible. The challenge was increased given the open-plan space, four metre high ceilings and lack of natural acoustic damping. A large, floating TV cabinet was custom-built as the centrepiece of the high-ceilinged room, with all focus around the 65 inch Samsung UA65C8000 Full HD LED television. Adequate ventilation and space for all the components – including an Apple TV, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 – was achieved, with everything controlled via a user-friendly Philips TSU9600SE touchscreen remote that even a five-year old could operate – literally!

Installer: Harvey Norman Commercial, Taren Point NSW

Why it won: This home theatre system needed to satisfy two distinct audiences, in two different spaces at different times of the day: a larger crowd, spilling out into the adjacent terrace area in the daytime and a smaller, more intimate gathering in the evening. That meant the original plan for a projector was scrapped, in favour of the biggest currently available plasma TV (that 103 inch Panasonic TH103PF12W again), which could be seen easily in bright light. Crestron automation rolls back heavy doors between the two spaces when required and Krell Resolution floorstanders pump out the music, handing off to SpeakerCraft AIM8-Two in-ceiling speakers as it moves outside. Big sound and vision accomplished!

Installer: Len Wallis Audio, NSW

Best marine project

Why it won: Reliability, along with safeguards against excessive humidity and temperatures, become critical factors for fitting an entertainment system on an ocean-going vessel, so this 58.4 metre yacht, Kokomo boasts Crestron temperature and humidity sensors linked back to 24/7 remote monitoring and support for maximum protection. The nine entertainment zones are controlled by touchscreens with custom interfaces specifically designed for ease of use by guests with no technical knowledge, and the captain can mute all audio onboard if necessary. Fully integrated with the navigation system and two cameras, all the equipment is in secure mounts to withstand being chucked around on the high seas.

Installer: Liquid Automation, Auckland NZ