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Old 09-16-2008   #1
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Default Microsoft Announces Winner of 2008 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest

Microsoft Corp. has announced the winner of the 2008 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest at CEDIA EXPO 2008 in Denver. CEDIA EXPO 2008 is an annual show for the residential electronic systems industry put on by the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association. The winning installation for the design contest was submitted by Gordon Van Zuiden, president of cyberManor and noted innovator in the custom installation channel.

Founded in 1999 and based in Los Gatos, Calif., cyberManor specializes in the design, installation and integration of Internet-connected home electronic solutions that enhance the entertainment, communications, comfort and safety of their clients’ homes in the San Francisco Bay area. Its contest-winning project was created for a family in Sunnyvale, Calif., that desired a centralized, user-friendly entertainment and automation system. The result was a complete integration solution with Windows Media Center at the helm.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this accomplishment,” Van Zuiden said. “Winning the Ultimate Install Contest is a testament to the phenomenal efforts of the cyberManor employees who worked so diligently to make this installation one of the greatest integration projects in our company’s 10-year history.”

The Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest, now in its second year, encourages integrators to show off their talents by presenting their most unique and creative installations that leverage Windows Media Center technologies. cyberManor’s solution uses numerous industry-renowned products from the Windows Media Center ecosystem, including NiveusMedia Inc.’s n9 media server with four CableCARD tuners, multiple Niveus EDGE and Xbox 360 extenders that distribute live and prerecorded digital high-definition (HD) content, and a Niveus Ice Vault, storing the family’s DVD movie collection. Also integrated into the entertainment solution were the family’s music library and digital photos.

The home features Exceptional Innovation’s Life|ware software for whole home control of thermostats, lighting, audio distribution, surveillance cameras and an Internet protocol (IP)-based door strike at the front gate with the touch of a button. Deriving power from solar panels on the roof, the family strived to make their home as environmentally friendly as possible, using only LED and fluorescent lighting and settings on their Lutron lighting system that automatically turned off power at certain times of day.

“The goal of this project was to centralize the digital entertainment and automation of the home in a simple and effective system that had one consistent user interface,” said Jim Kohl, project manager at cyberManor. “Two of the homeowner’s main objectives were the distribution of high-definition personal video recordings to multiple HD video zones throughout the home simultaneously and the ability to centralize all A/V sources in a single rack mount computer. The seamless integration of these Windows Media Center products and technologies enabled us to accomplish those tasks while staying consistent with the sleek and clean design the homeowner desired.”

The cyberManor team used Windows Media Center as the central platform to control numerous aspects of the family’s digital lifestyle, including 12 zones of Russound distributed audio, Lutron lighting and shade control, individual room climate controls automated by time of day and air temperature outside, and surveillance technology. All home automation is provided by Life|ware software, including unique features such as fountain control from all areas of the home. Via Life|ware, family members in various rooms, including the outdoor patio and cabana, can dim the lights, lower the shades, turn on the television, enjoy the distributed audio system or perform numerous other tasks at the touch of a button.

“Microsoft is pleased to recognize cyberManor as the 2008 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest winner,” said Kevin Collins, director of the Custom Installer Channel in the Connected TV Business, Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “Its use of Windows Media Center in this home provided the homeowner with an easy-to-use solution for all of the family’s digital needs and home automation. cyberManor’s incredible work is an excellent example of how high-level integration combined with the Windows Media Center scalable entertainment and automation platform can delight the most discerning customer.”

This year’s edition of the contest saw an increase in both the number of submissions and the overall quality of the technology design projects. With more options from hardware manufacturers and the additional support of Microsoft, Windows Media Center has seen enormous growth in the custom integration channel over the past year.

In addition to cyberManor’s winning installation, Microsoft named Wireless Home of Naples, Fla., and Simple Digital Home of Salem, Ore., as this year’s finalists. Both installations featured Windows Media Center as the basis of truly unique solutions, and both are recognized for their achievements.
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