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See me, hear me, feel me

Sound and vision in the bathroom is becoming just as important as AV in the Iounge and some of the equipment available is just as special. Jonathan Jackson Iooks at one product that is changing our viewing habits.

Dim the lights, draw a bath and relax with Oprah, 'The Shawshank Redemption' or your favourite tunes. When you're brushing your teeth or shaving in the morning and don't want to miss a ward from Kochie or Karl, turn the television on. The bathroom has become an important area for entertainment offerings and bathroom technologies are improving every day.

Multi-room distributed audio is not only limited to the main areas of the home anymore. Your favourite music can be played from your iPod or maybe you would prefer a movie from your media server: simple controls within the bathroom can put all of this technology at your fingertips.

Further to the television, a wide range of speakers for this area are available, from ceiling mounted stereo speakers through to plastered in wall speakers which are totally hidden from view. 'Rhythm bath' speakers are adhered to the outside of the bathtub itself and actually use the bath structure as a speaker. Even your glass shower panel can become a speaker.

The most important thing to consider is the right type of speaker for your bathroom, one of the best to consider are in-ceiling weather-proof speakers which are suitable for steamy environments.

When it comes to hooking up your television to your bathroom's audio equipment, it is imperative that only low voltage devices are installed, however waterproof TVs can be flush-mounted. The primary concern is where the services, antenna or decoders will be located to supply content. You have to think about cable design. That's where specialist installers come in. There are also specialist products. ad notam is a German manufacturer whose MIRROR IMAGE product range has become popular for custom bathroom installs.

The BATHROOM MIRROR TV LINE incarporates fully integrated LCD screens that are protected against maisture and humidity, and are explicitly rated for operation in the bathroom.

Audio Marketing in Sydney is the supplier of ad notam products in Australia. 

"There are three mirror types. MAGIC MIRROR is designed so when the screen is off it disappears behind the mirror, and is suited to lifestyle living areas, kitchen splashbacks and bedrooms. CRYSTAL MIRROR is a standard mirror where the LCD screen is placed directly behind a clear glass area of non mirrored surface and delivers superiar picture quality. Thirdly, MAGIC MIRROR CRYSTAL CLEAR sits in between the two and offers a good balance between picture quality and reflective mirror surface," says Audio Marketing regional sales manager Tim Sleath. Tim says that the bathroom has become an entertainment area of choice. "More customers put sound in the bathroom than bedrooms these days. A Iot of custom installations will include sound and vision in one or more of those rooms."
So if you are going to install audio visual equipment into all your bathrooms, you might as well install a product that blends well with the environment.

ad notam MIRROR IMAGE products come directly out of their factory in Germany and are designed to work in high heat and moisture areas. The DC power supply and external input box allow the system to be installed with the power and connections separated from the bathraom. Screens up to 37 inches require a magnetic mount, and for those 46 inches and above a mechanical mount is required.

All models feature the latest Eurapean parreis and can be contralled via infrared or radio frequency remote control. There is also the BATHROOM TWISTER LINE; a rotatable solution which features fully integrated TV screens and speakers.

Audio visual technology is not new to the bathroom, but it is certainly gaining momentum as the quality and choices for products improve.

"Some clients require DVD or distributed video capabilities, while others only require TV, which means the integrated tuner is fine," Tim says.

Like other bathroom innovations, the installation of audio visual products is dictated by size, budget and design. While the ad notam product is simple to install and cost effective at around $5,000 for an off the shelf 15 inch mirror TV with standard remote, certain considerations must be taken into account.

"It all depends on what the client wants to achieve," Tim says. ""A small screen will be required for installation in a vanity, for example. The mirror is the biggest variable. Most people will choose the screen size they're after and then specify a mirror that fits the environment. A good example would be a screen in between a his and hers sink in an ensuite. It is something that needs to be considered right at the beginning of the design process." The product itself is flexible, but like anything you install, make sure it fits your space and meets your design requirements.

In many smart homes, home audio visual technology has become the norm rather than the exception and continues to make waves as technologies improve. Certain top design mavens hide satellite televisions in vanity units, so business people can get their fix of stock market changes before they head to the office.

The bathroom design Iandscape has changed completely. Bathroom design professionals work tirelessly to fuse practicalities with aesthetics in pursuit of magnificent interiors. And it shows. Head out to any smart home and the bathroom is a centrepiece for lush, warm tones and tasteful lines, while also being a hub for technological wizardry unthought of even 10 years ago.

That wizardry is apparent in ad notam products and similarly impressive technologies that are all designed to please the ever increasing demands of an astute consumer.

Audio Marketing


Publication: STUNNING SMART HOMES Australia, May 2011