Best New Home Products 2010: Home Tech
A complete cheat sheet to this year's freshest tech ideas for your home
Boxee Box D-Link Media Center by D-Link
We cherish the notion of cutting the cable bill out of the picture, and now it's tantalizingly possible. Link this magic cube to your router, and it pipes any streaming video on the Internet to your HD television. There are other ways to do this, but none with such a user-friendly interface.
About $199; boxee.tv
InfinityEdge Touch Screen by Control4
This gadget actually does what so much new tech only promises to do: make life easier, by combining all your home-automation controls into one touch pad. It retrofits with components that talk to your home's electronics, from the thermostat and alarm to the tube.
From $599; control4.com
Railtones Track-Light Speakers by Tech Lighting
Truly one of the most ingenious entries we saw, these 15-watt speakers snap onto most any track lighting as easily as the lamps do, creating an entirely new A/V arrangement. Plug the wireless transmitter into your source of tunes and get the party started.
About $479 per pair; techlighting.com
Heritage Pellet Stove by Hearthstone
It took this vaunted stove purveyor two years to marry the romantic aesthetics of a wood-burner with the clean-burning efficiency of a pellet stove, and we're thrilled they made our deadline. It's the first pellet stove we've seen with panels of soapstone—a distinctive material that happens to hold twice the heat of metal.
About $3,999; hearthstonestoves.com
DC26 Multi Floor Vacuum by Dyson
If TOH had been handing out these awards eight years ago, Dyson's pioneering root-cyclone model would've been a sure bet. As it is, we'll give one to its first truly totable canister vac. It's 12.2 pounds.
About $399; dyson.com
XE Series Composter by NatureMill
Designed to make composting as easy as throwing out the trash—and a lot less smelly—this pick was a cinch: a home composter sporting a carbon odor filter and an automated grinder that renders garden-ready fertilizer in just two weeks. The indoor/outdoor bin slips inside any standard 15-inch-wide base cabinet for easy access.
From $299; naturemill.com
E19/238 Solar Panel by Sunpower
We've been waiting for a breakthrough in residential solar, and here it is. These panels convert up to 19½ percent of the sunlight they receive into electric power, far more than any other panels. Specially shaped solar cells that occupy 3 percent more surface area than standard cells deliver up to 238 watts per panel.
About $15,000 for a 2.5-kilowatt system (sans subsidies); sunpowercorp.com
VIERA GT25 3D TV by Panasonic
Those who lack the space or the desire for a TV the size of a billboard now have access to some of the best television technology going. At 42 inches, this is the first 3D plasma TV under 50 inches. And even if you don't own Avatar on DVD, the TV features Panasonic's best 2D plasma technology.
3D glasses sold separately, at $150 a pop. About $1,700; panasonic.com
Altherma Hydronic System by Daikin
Why mess with a heat pump that generates only hot and cold air when
one system can supply AC, hot water, and heat through a radiator or radiant
floor? That's the level of innovation we're talking about. This system's efficiency rivals the best geothermal heat pumps—minus the pain
of underground piping.
About $19,000 for a 54,000-Btu system, intstalled; daikin.com