While the custom installation organisation CEDIA is well-established outside the USA, it's usually to the States that we look to find the most impressive, elaborate and downright OTT home theatre installations.
And there's no better showcase than the annual CEDIA Awards, where five technically proficient judges wade through hundreds of submissions and thousands of pages of documentation to come up with winners in almost 50 categories, covering everything from integrated homes, media rooms, and small, medium and large home theatres.
A Star Trek-themed cinema?
These awards, of course, have always been as much about looks and style as about technical excellence. No one wants to sit and watch a movie in a concrete box, not matter how good the picture looks.
With that in mind, the work of architects, builders and interior designers has been taken into account just as much as the efforts of the audio and video specialists who created the entertainment systems. And, lest we forget, there's more to it than entertainment - CEDIA winners typically involve whole-house networking installations taking in communications, lighting, security, and even heating and air conditioning.
The real fun, though, inevitably comes via the home theatre designs. In our gallery you'll see an astonishing Star Trek: Voyager-themed cinema, a leather-clad movieplex with eight subwoofers, a compact viewing room sandwiched under a staircase(!) and a stunning five-screen video wall for a sports-mad AV nut.
Our own extremely partial CEDIA selection bears no relation to the actual categories and awards. But if you want all the details you can find them on the at www.cedia.net - just look for the 'Electronic Lifestyles Awards' button. Hopefully, even if you don't have a wallet the size of an elephant, you will take some inspiration from seeing them. Maybe there's a room in your house that isn't being used to its full potential...