Ultimate Install Contest

This is one of those times when the pictures just don't do justice to the project. The winner of the 2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install is Vision Audio from Lubbock, Texas. The Media Center Integrator Alliance (MCIA), together with Microsoft, announced the winner of the 2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest during CEDIA in Atlanta, Georgia on September 13. This impressive system uses Windows Media Center at the core of the home's entertainment experience in an extensive whole-home installation.

The installation has been a 4-year project for Vision Audio’s General Manager Dustin Anderson and his team. Seamlessly integrating six Windows Media Center servers, one Windows Home Server, five dedicated theater-style rooms, 12 media racks, 98 speakers, and 30 zones of distributed audio. The home includes products from key MCIA member companies such as Autonomic Controls, Crestron and Niveus Media.

This award winning project was created for an Odessa family who desired a whole-home solution that was simple to operate, user-friendly, fun for the everyone regardless of age or AV knowledge, and most importantly centralized all of their individual media collections, including music, movies and photos. The result is a stunning integration utilizing the best of today’s entertainment technology.

The complex design for this 17,000 square-foot home seamlessly integrates numerous products from the media center ecosystem. At the heart of the project is a whole-house system from Crestron that provides control of the home’s electronic and entertainment systems. The homeowners wanted to be able to adjust any and all of the home’s environmental controls as well as all their audio and video systems from anywhere in the house. All of the home’s subsystems were integrated through the Crestron system and all of the entertainment devices use Autonomic software. Autonomic’s Mirage Media Control software is running on multiple Niveus Pro Series Servers (five n4 servers and a single n7 server) enabling Crestron and web-browser control of media playback on the servers.

The custom programming allows the homeowner’s access and control of all the home's systems. The design centrally stores the family’s music, movies, online content and digital photos on a Niveus Cargo running Windows Home Server allowing access from virtually any point in the home – keypads, controllers and PCs or any of the 13 video displays. The robust system allows the homeowner to sit at any computer in the house and add content to the library, and watch or listen to it from any room in the house; they can also manage climate, shades, lighting, and even the pool heater.

This is the third year of the co-sponsored event which encourages integrators to show off their talents by presenting their most unique and creative installations that utilize Windows Media Center technologies. Vision Audio’s integration of Windows Media Center as the entertainment platform, Windows Home Server as the storage and backup solution, Crestron home automation and control system, coupled with the large and complex scope of the installation, set it apart as the winner for 2009.