Now that satellite TV and home theater systems have become almost
ubiquitous, what's next? It's called "whole house entertainment,"
and it means pretty much what it sounds like: entertainment systems
that emanate from a central source to deliver music or images
throughout the house. "Networking of devices and systems is the
buzz, and that will be true for some time," says Hetherington.
"Integration of entertainment systems makes a lot of sense and that
is where we are going."
In layman's terms, this means you'll be able to reduce the volume
of the music in your son's room to a dull roar, without leaving the
living room. Even better, program your new system to pipe in some
Barry Manilow. Now, that's revenge.
Even for the homeowner well-versed in technospeak, navigating the
home technology marketplace can feel like driving through downtown
Boston. In a tractor-trailer. With no reverse. To help make your
journey easier, we sat down with Bob Hetherington for some straight
talk on home technology.
American Way: I'm building a new house, and would like to
incorporate some of these technologies. But given that my computer
was obsolete within months of purchase, won't these technologies
meet the same fate?
Bob Hetherington: Not really. If you install lots of wiring and
do a bit of planning, you'll be covered. Manufacturers don't really
want to leave you behind; they want you to get more out of the
infrastructure you already have. Yes, there will always be newer
and better technologies being developed, but if you want to
upgrade, there will most likely be backward compatibility in some
form. Even the wireless market seems to be settling down to a
common technology standard.
American Way: I'm confused. You're telling me to install wiring,
but I thought wireless was all the rage?