I have to admit it’s been on my mind. We’ve just chosen our home media and we were astounded by the options and possibilities.
It also felt like we needed a PhD to figure out what all this stuff was so I’m paraphrasing some articles from http://www.electronichouse.com/ to give you the low-down on what you can look for in your next home, or install in your current one!
Orson Wells, Big Brother…whatever you call it, consider the ramifications.
You can put cameras everywhere.
Think seeing who’s at the front door is just for condos? Not anymore. Using a baby monitor? Now you can pull up a high-res view of your child’s crib on your plasma screen in the kitchen. Not sure your cleaning lady is getting under the furniture? Now you can spy on her, or anyone else in your home…from your laptop.
My wife doesn’t understand why she gets a new kitchen with our reno and I get a new media system….and why my wish list is just as essential as a fridge or a sink. At the top of my list is a great home theater. Here’s what you need to get (operative word being NEED)…
Is your room usually bright? Go LCD. Dark? Try plasma or a projector. In between? Microdisplays, especially for value in screen size delivered per dollars spent. LCDs and RPTVs (rear projection) don’t have as broad viewing angles as plasma, so make sure you can control the angle both horizontally and vertically. Oh, and go big or go home.
Be sure a receiver or preamp is capable of playing in Dolby Digital or DTS Digital 5.1-channel surround sound (meaning five speakers and a subwoofer), or whatever you want to hear.
DVD players can also play CDs, and many “universal” players can play multichannel DVD-Audio (DVD-A), Super Audio CD (SACD) and any other kind of CD- and DVD-R/RW/ROM you can find. Also be sure to get a progressive-scan DVD player if you have an HDTV. New Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD players play high-definition DVDs, as well as standard DVDs and CDs.
Satellite or Cable Receiver
Get a high-definition receiver, because you’ll need it to watch HDTV. And DVRs are built into some receivers, saving you from having to buy another box.
Digital video recorders (DVRs) allow you to record programs to a hard drive and pause the program you are watching. TiVo players are popular DVRs. Satellite radio tuners let you receive commercial-free radio from XM or Sirius satellite radio systems. Digital media servers allow you to store, organize and instantly access your personal music collection (aka iTunes). Streaming devices can take the audio or video content on your computer and stream it wirelessly to your home entertainment system.
For speakers, don’t scrimp. You get what you pay for so ignore that guy with the back of his van doors open.
Have the same speakers all around…or at least the same manufacturer. And don’t buy one of those surround-sound systems in a box that come with the receiver. Worst case just buy the speaker-only package. The speakers should also have identical power ratings and frequency ranges.
The center channel is the most important speaker in a surround-sound system. All of the on-screen dialogue comes through this speaker, and about 70 percent of all sounds in a movie soundtrack come through it. Spend your bucks here.
Get this! Now you can have invisible speakers. You install them in your ceiling or walls and actually plaster and paint over them…I don’t know exactly how they work but I’m getting them. As much as manufacturers have tried to make cool looking speakers, they never quite look right in the corner of your room.
Just don’t lose the touchpad or you won’t be able to see or hear anything.
Another neat feature you can get is the ability to control multiple ‘zones’ in your home. You could have relaxing jazz playing in your master ensuite, and head-banging garage rock in the basement…or whatever works for you.
Speaking of controlling things, were you ever frustrated by trying to find music on your little iPod screen? Now you can bring up iTunes on your plasma screen and select music with your remote.
This is just the tip of the iceberb when it comes to home technology. If your budget is unlimited, so are your options.
But beyond the fun and how cool most of these things are, they do add real value to a home and can give your home a competitive edge in the market…at least that’s what I keep telling my wife!
She must agree because she is on board with some great options that we’re going to do in our new home 🙂
What is your home worth? To find out, contact me at (416) 690-2181 or email@example.com.