At BDI, innovation is at the heart of our design process. And with our distinctive media furniture, there's also a lot of research and science behind this innovation.

When BDI first began designing media furniture, we worked closely with AV integrators and consumer electronics leaders to ensure we understood the needs of a full-featured home theater. Our regular participation at industry trade shows means we're able to stay abreast of industry trends and what consumers expect from a complete home entertainment system.

We also put our designs to the test. Intense product testing has always been part of our DNA. It ensures that our home theater furniture surpasses the rigorous demands of today's technology while also being able to adapt to the advances of tomorrow.

Here's a look at some of the processes and technological innovations integrated into our media furniture, ensuring that a BDI home theater cabinet is nearly as advanced as the equipment that it holds. 

BDI media cabinets are designed to be beautiful pieces of furniture, while never compromising the innovative functionality required to meet today's technology demands.

SOUND TESTING

For decades, CRT televisions were roomy enough to incorporate relatively decent speakers and sound quality for most people. But as screens got flatter and thinner, sound quality inevitably took a hit—and consumer expectations changed—as they began to prefer room-filling surround sound to match the ever-growing size of their widescreen TV. 

Today, it’s not just AV club alums investing in top-of-the-line sound systems to flesh out their home entertainment systems. The average consumer is also purchasing quality soundbar and 7.1 home theater solutions.

Thoughtful Construction

Our earliest closed-cabinet designs made use of fabric speaker grille inserts to allow sound to escape more easily. But as audio technology and consumer expectations became more sophisticated, BDI engineered new and improved solutions for full sound transparency through closed doors.

Even the most discerning audiophiles can place center channel speakers or soundbars behind our closed doors without compromising sound quality.

To ensure the sound was crisp and clear, our team had to put these designs to the test. Our sound testing included checks for basic decibel levels with doors open and closed. We also brought in control groups of sound testers to listen for variations in voice sounds, music, and high-frequency sounds, which are the easiest to disrupt because of their short wavelengths.

Through these tests, we determined that doors needed a 35% to 38% open area for unfettered sound dispersion. These considerations were incorporated into the louvered door design of the award-winning Corridor collection and the unique laser-cut door patterns of the Elements collection.

More recent designs such as the Octave collection and Sector console incorporate perforated metal screen doors, which allow for full acoustic transparency while still keeping sound system components out of sight and maintaining the clean design. 

INFARED TESTING

Of course, closed-door designs aren’t useful if they don’t also allow IR-signals as well as sound to pass through easily. We instituted several tests to determine ideal design features to meet universal standards in remote technologies.

Signal Clarity

BDI’s acoustically transparent doors are carefully tested to ensure audio and remote control signals pass through freely.

For most remote controls, an ideal distance for signals to work is up to 12 to 15 feet. BDI performed a series of “cone functionality” tests to ensure that BDI cabinets would meet and exceed IR readings at universal levels.

This grid is an example of how BDI determined IR functionality, which included distances as far as 21 feet and up to 40-degree angles for optimum IR functionality.

For BDI’s louvered and laser-etched designs, the same 35% to 38% open surface area was required to meet ideal infrared reading levels, while the mesh doors offer a fully transparent surface for infrared signals.

VENTILATION

When the BDI team was designing one of its early cabinet collections — Avion — the only ventilation systems available were electric fans, which were known to get overloaded with dust and become noisy. This was one of the top complaints we heard from AV dealers during interviews at the beginning of Avion's development phase.

Heat Management

Ventilation is built into the base, back and adjustable shelves of all BDI cabinets, promoting natural airflow and allowing heat to easily escape.



Then a member of the design team, who happened to be studying passive heating and cooling methods used in green architecture, came upon the concept of the “solar chimney,” which allows hot air to escape from the top while drawing in cool air from below.

So BDI decided to try something similar with Avion. Hot air generated by internal components rises naturally and escapes out of the top slots on the back panels while drawing in cooler air through the slots on the bottom. This eliminated the need for a fan and helps the equipment housed inside to operate at optimal temperature levels while extending the life of components.

This design feature worked so well it has been incorporated into all of BDI’s enclosed AV cabinets since the Avion first launched in 2005.

VIBRATION TESTING

With more consumers investing in audio systems in recent years, BDI also incorporated vibration level testing to ensure shelves and doors would not rattle when components were on.

Stable Sounds

We tested vibration levels by playing audio at high volumes through center channel speakers, subwoofers, and soundbars contained within the cabinets to determine if any vibration occurred.

From there, we added threaded shelf pins with vibration-dampening rubber O-rings to each cabinet design, thereby helping to isolate any vibration that a shelf may experience. Lastly, we added felt padding to the door frames to serve as a buffer between any metal and wood parts.

For our most recent collection, Align, we use PET felt removable back panels to further eliminate vibrations and to help absorb unwanted sounds like fans running within contained components.

Now, every new design added to the BDI collection is run through this battery of rigorous testing. You can rest assured that all BDI designs meet the highest standards and are built to last, all while prolonging the life of your equipment investment.