RHT How To:
Four Reasons Why You Need a Home Network
By Bryan Dailey
If you live in a major metropolitan area, it seems like the Internet is everywhere. You cant go into a Starbucks without seeing the signs promoting the fact that they offer a wireless Internet connection so you can sip some latte and surf the Net on your laptop. Wireless networks are popping up at airports, laundromats, and even bowling alleys nationwide. At home, you likely have an Internet connection in your den, office or maybe your bedroom, but as wireless networks become more affordable and easier to set up, you now have the ability to utilize the Internet in your home theater system in ways you might never have thought possible. This month, we look at four reasons why you should have an Internet network throughout your home.
1. Network Connectivity For Your Home Theater
Audio/video components are becoming more advanced and computer-like. Instead of having a piece of gear that has a limited lifespan, many new AV preamps, DVD players and receivers now have the ability to have their software and firmware upgraded. Software-based upgrades can help prevent obsolescence in the future and make your life easier in the present, so that youll be glad you have a network connection in your home theater system. Imagine you have just bought the biggest, baddest new AV preamp, but six months later, you are at your wits end because it is acting strangely. It turns out that the manufacturer found a major glitch in the operating system and is offering a replacement version of the software. Someday soon, it may be possible to allow the manufacturer or your AV installer to access the gear in your network remotely via an Internet connection to perform the software reinstall. Without a network connection in your system, you may have to remove the preamp from your system and lug it over to your computer to download the new software, or even worse, send it back to the dealer or manufacturer. If you think this sounds like a pipe dream, consider the fact that home automation systems from companies like AMX and Crestron currently allow dealers to control their clients systems remotely. The ability to have remote access to your individual components for installs, upgrades and troubleshooting cant be far behind.
There may come a day when copy-protected HDTV feeds of current feature films will be piped into your home theater on a pay-per-view basis. Video and audio post-production houses use high-speed Internet connections to transfer video and sound files back and forth to various locations around the world, and many movie theaters with digital projection systems are doing this as well. If the day comes when movie and television content is distributed this way, youll be glad that you planned ahead with a network connection installed in your home theater system.
Music servers are becoming more popular and its not unheard of for a die-hard music fan to log on to his or her home music server from work to listen to a music collection remotely at the office. If you know the IP address of your friends music server and have the proper authority, you could log on to his or her server and listen to your friends collection remotely as well. If you have ever used Napster or the Gnutella network in the past, it is the same concept. However, in this case, you are accessing a specific computer rather than a worldwide network.