By Eric Yang
on 7.3.09

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If each passing year results in an expanding arsenal of electronics then you might want to read this. Now, on the other hand, if you’re like Gear Patrol’s Ben Bowers and inflicted with gadgetphilia, with only the world’s most bleeding edge home theater sufficing, then there are probably few predesigned media solutions that fit your needs. The problem is, I stand firmly in between these thresholds. I’ve got one foot in purposeful design that works with my pad’s style and one foot in something that rhymes with super cheerio mothers. So, I continue on the quest to find something that perfectly blends the two.

Traditional home furnishings rarely accommodate all your gear and you can rest assured I’ve seen my fair share during the formative Gear Patrol years – everything from Crate & Barrel, to custom, to IKEA, to Porsche Design. Recently though, I came across the Payton Smart Technology Media & Gaming Console from Pottery Barn, and it looks like someone there finally got the “media and gaming” part of “media and gaming console” right. No, it won’t work for two-channel purists or home theatre mavens with amplifiers for each and every channel of sound, but it will work for those of you with a combination of receiver, flat screen television, a couple of gaming consoles and a couple of extra peripherals. Oh, and manage to do so with a nice mix of traditional style and modern design.

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The Payton Smart Technology Media & Gaming Console is made of hardwood and birch veneers finished in something Pottery Barn calls Zen Brown. I’m not sure exactly how much Zen happens when you’re watching Iron-Man on Blu-Ray in vociferous Dolby DTS Master HD, or a sweat-riddled round of Call of Duty, but in the interest of home furnishings the folks at Pottery Barn looks great in this finish.

You’ll be able to accommodate your new flat-panel TV (I’m a fan of Vizio and Panasonic depending on price) up to 50″, but the real oooh factor comes from the console’s ability to store your Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, AppleTV, Logitech Squeezebox, or what have you. There’s also wing-door cabinets for your DVD’s, CD’s, and games, an organizer drawer for your controllers and remotes, and a built-in five outlet smart strip to reduce wire clutter, though I imagine Ben is reading this shaking his head muttering “what this needs is a Panamax Power Conditioner.”

Cost: $1299

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