Friday, April 30, 2010

Home Automation and AV Distribution

For the past 3 years I have been arguing with AV equipment vendors about their chosen method of AV distribution (extremely expensive cables).  Their argument has always been “Users want the best quality and CAT5e can’t deliver it!”.

My thinking has been good enough is good enough.  In the front room I want the best quality on my huge TV.  In the bedroom, other rooms, I only have small TV’s and I am, generally, not settling down to watch a film or some such.  In these other rooms I am doing other things and the TV is background (such as sleeping).  If I am watching YouTube or standard television the quality, as long as it is reasonable, is not paramount.

I want to be able to use my laptop to view, or pretty much any device I have to hand that is capable of displaying video.  I also want to be able to control the devices in my house using the same device.  Why do I have to pay a huge amount of money for touch pads that have less functionality than my laptop.  I am not saying that these devices do not have their place, just that I want the option.

My TV (all of them) should be capable of connecting to my LAN, as should other devices (but one step at a time), all using standard IP protocols.  Slowly some OEM’s have been listening and there are now TV’s with CAT5 sockets and wireless adaptors built in.  I can now browse to my media server and play a film!!!  I even have a cheap device (£100) that allows my non-IP enabled TV to do the same!  I can’t control it, but we are heading in the right direction.

Imagine my surprise to see in the April edition of HCD (Home Cinema Digest) an article entitled “The IP Crowd”.  I am shocked to see that they are starting to swing to my way of thinking.  There is money to be made integrating and future proofing a house.  Software (as in control systems) is important, the current slew of software controls for iPad etc are basic and non integrated, but early days.  I do detect some resistance from the existing cable based installers, but hay ho.  They will learn and bend to my will!!!

I am a very happy person today.