Choosing product winners is no easy task, one of the many reasons we editors at Live Design don't do it. We leave that to the pros — designers, programmers, and techs who are out there using this stuff every day.

It's not a glamorous job, to be sure. In fact, our three panels of judges don't even receive recognition for the task of mulling over products, arguing with one another, stating cases, defending choices, and coming up with final picks. We conceal their identities, but rest assured, they are among the most accomplished designers and programmers in their respective fields, so you're just going to have to take my word for it. While we don't name them, you know them. You may have worked with some of them. And, at the very least, you know their work.

And so the pages within contain outstanding products for 2007-2008 (p. 28) in the categories of lighting, sound, and projection. Some will probably strike you as “no kidding” choices, but I think you'll also see some unusual picks. At the end of the day, each panel took on the arduous task of unanimously agreeing on the final choices presented back to our editorial staff. Talk about compromise! So we have to thank you, our nameless judges, for all your work on this.

And congratulations to the winners, of course. But really, even to those who aren't “winning” per se — to all the companies out there who work tirelessly in R+D and manufacturing to bring about new technology, year after year — thanks for keeping the gear flowing and creating more options for designers. As VJ Tolly says in this month's “Addiction Notice” (p. 38), “Technology now allows us to do things we couldn't five years ago,” so you must be doing something right.

Hope to see you the Live Design Master Classes later in the month.