We were told years ago that smart homes would become the new normal.
We looked forward to the time when the various appliances and features of the home could be activated, adjusted and otherwise enhanced through the use of an internet connection.
That transition is happening, but gradually for most households, so perhaps we’re not even really noticing it, unless of course we make the leap from not having any of our everyday appliances connected to the internet to suddenly installing and integrating several.
The scope of this week’s article is to focus on smart home theatre, and our industry expert for guidance on this topic is Greg Baynham, the owner-operator of Canberra Communications.
When it comes to smart technology for the home he states “most people just don't know what is available.”
There are lots of products on the market and there are always more arriving. The technology is always improving too, and it always will.
For those who want to get started “there are so many stages you can go into it, cost wise” Greg explains.
“You can start with something basic, tuck equipment away in the cupboard and use an IR blaster” to retain remote control functionality, even from in another room. “That’s the simple way”.
He also informed us that projectors is a small market, with most people going for a large wall-mounted TV at the moment.
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For smart TVs, you’ll be using an internet connection of some description.
Wi-Fi is a common starting point that people have used and it’s OK with a smart TV for getting online.
As Greg points out however, when you start wanting to stream 4K ultra high definition and on-line gaming, the data connection to the device needs to be faster.
“For the new home builder it is very important to get data connections. People are relying on Wi-Fi, but Wi-Fi can already tend to struggle a bit so hard-wired data is needed for streaming in 4K and for on-line gaming” he illustrates.
Therefore, especially in light of ever-improving technology, “in a new house, installing just a few (data) cables can make all the difference down the track.”
For buyers of new residential units, however, they “can be all ready to go and sometimes the owner isn’t aware.”
Of course, data cables can also be retrofitted to existing homes.
These cables connect to a central hub which distributes the original internet connection to the devices that need the high-speed data.
Positioning the display is another consideration.
Slim devices are designed to be wall-mounted, which has its advantages, but you also want to make sure you get the exact location right for the viewers in the room.