THE FUTURE OF HOME TECH

There’s exciting stuff being developed that will change the way your home entertainment system works. It will take a couple of years for it all to come to fruition, but the devices in the pipeline look very appealing.

Here’s an article that sums up some of the trends. An interesting prediction from the columnist:

“I’ll go out on a limb and say that, in less than five years, it will be pretty hard to buy a midrange home PC that doesn’t come with a built-in TV tuner and the ability to digitally record television programs. Further, I’ll predict it will be fairly easy to use that PC as the center of a home wireless entertainment system, where the programs recorded on the PC or a standalone digital video recorder can be wirelessly transmitted to displays throughout the home. Likewise, a music collection that lives on a PC will be available wirelessly to audio devices around the home. . . .

“If you’re having trouble wrapping your mind around the idea of a PC becoming (or at least attaching to) your home entertainment center, don’t worry. Many of these PCs will look like home entertainment components or perhaps a game console. What is a game console, after all, but a PC of some sort in a different wrapper? TiVo digital video recorders are basically Linux-based computers with specialized software to manage the tuning, recording, and playback of television programs.

“So don’t let that word “PC” fool you: Many of these boxes won’t look very much like the desktop you’re using today.”

Here’s an example that’s on the market today. I’ve developed an extensive library of .mp3 files, and I make sure the ID3 tags are accurate to identify the artist, album and song titles, and genre. It’s frustrating that I can’t play them on my home stereo.

Turtle Beach has released an updated version of the AudioTron, a device that sits on the rack with your other stereo components and plays .mp3 files from your computers. It requires a network connection – but that can be provided wirelessly. The .mp3 files don’t have to be copied to the device or burned onto a CD – they stay right where they are, available to the computers and to the home stereo.

And I don’t know much about it yet, but yesterday HP announced a similar product which also hooks up to your television and displays pictures stored on your computer.

Tempting, eh?