The Digital Home: Your website needs you

  PC Advisor. 11:56 13 May 03

Hi folks,

Here at PCA towers we're expanding our coverage to account for changing computing patterns in the home.

We'd love to get some feedback from you.

What do you think the Digital Home will look like two years down the line? We're interested in the real world - no Jetsons stuff.

How will the role of the home PC (s) change?

Will home networks become common place, and if so what will they be used for?

What's going to happen to the way we consume digital entertainment?

What uses do you see home computing being put to two years down the line?

What's going to happen with standards - are we heading for multiple, incompatible domestic devices, or will the Powers That Be see sense for once?

Any other views?

We're not looking for War and Peace here, just trying to get a feel for the kind of imminent future our readers expect from The Digital Home.

  microswift 18:07 13 May 03

Trying to look even two months ahead is a difficult enough exercise, as you suggest, compatability will be a major component of any digital future, ease of use and integration of all domestic digital equipment will be just as important, the PC could become the entertainment hub in many homes wirelessly controlling every other digital device, you can already edit your home movies, watch TV (and record it too) the PC has yet to reach its full potential in the home, but two years ahead? who can tell.

  Djohn 18:50 13 May 03

I can't see any major difference to what we have now. Maybe another 10 years will bring a change as new properties are built to encompass the technological world we are heading for.

TV's, radio, and communication will start to come together, to be accessed from one point. Home alarm systems will be built into, and controlled from the PC.

There is at the moment a trial home built for the disabled, where all communication is carried out from the PC, (Mostly by voice activation), and task such as the drawing of curtains, switching on/off of lights, and climate control are possible.

Home shopping is also available and I believe that the emergency service's are only a *Voice* call away. Certainly the social services, such as home help are on line for immediate call out if required.

If the major manufactures will agree on a common interface, then and only then, the rest of us will be more willing to adapt and use the excellent facilities that are on the way.

It's a bright, exciting future waiting for us, hope I'm around to enjoy! :o)

  Patr100 19:00 13 May 03

What I have found which surprised me was that I never considered that I would ever listen much to the digital radio channels added to my TV set top adaptor but I find I am doing so more. The reception is far more reliable than through my hifi receiver. I can also view now/next programming details on the screen.

I would also hope that we will see the expansion of broadband through power outlets - if the technology allows and cost keeps low.

  watchful 08:23 14 May 03

As already mentioned, things could be vastly improved for the disabled or elderly with the new technology but for myself I don't see much change in the next two years.

Maybe home businesses will increase as commuting gets more and more horrendous.

  anchor 08:50 14 May 03

I agree with the above opinions. For the majority of us there will be very little change over the next 2 years.

Broadband usage will probably continue to increase as BT enable more exchanges. As to the prospect of a digital home, with devices being controlled from a computer, I very much doubt it.

Digital radio will continue to have a limited take up, but at about £100 for a receiver, it will be very limited. DVD domestic recorders may start to make their mark as replacements for quality VHS, if prices come down. Home banking will probably increase, with the convenience it brings.

PC problems will continue unabated, but with the help of these forums, may be speedily resolved.

  PC Advisor. 10:08 14 May 03

What an intelligent response.

Any more for any more?

  Goldcroft 10:14 14 May 03

Agree with Djohn and Anchor - two years is too short a time span to get any meaningful change answers. Any changes will be relatively minor and evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Why not try 10 or 20 years?

  Belatucadrus 11:01 14 May 03

Two years from now we should have a better idea as to the viability of dotcoms and internet shopping. The bubble has burst and most of the more fanciful projects have vanished, but even Amazon only posted it's first profit last January, so two years from know I would expect some changes.
I don't believe that there will be any significant changes in general household PC usage over the period, nor do I foresee any new technological whizbang having any significant impact and I definitely don't see any prospect of an industry standard anything, Betamax/VHS and the assorted DVD formats indicate that cross corporate co-operation is the exception not the rule.
If I really went out on a limb I could predict the introduction of Broadband in my area within two years, but that would be silly so I shan't.

  Steve27 14:06 14 May 03

When I wax thoughtful I am amazed at what I already take for granted and how technology has altered my life.

As far as my work is concerned my always on broadband 1MB connection has given me access to the largest research library on the planet without leaving my office (or my armchair if I use my notebook which is wirelessly linked to the desktop). Our groceries are ordered on line as with books and IT products. I can check my gas, electric, and phone bills on line and do my banking at any time of the day or night.

I could go on and frequently do but I have noticed that once a piece of equipment meets a particular need I don't want to rush off for the next big thing. My 1400 processor is more than powerful enough for what I need as is my laptop and handheld and I won't be rushing to pay a fortune to send and receive pictures on my mobile. In fact I find that I am conservative when it comes to buying new equipment and only do so if it will be genuinely helpful.

Is this why IT companies are struggling, how many others are content with what they are able to do with what they have now?

In two years time I will use technology which is genuinely helpful or which adds to our quality of life, DAB Radio definitely falls into that category for me but fridges connected to the Internet leave me cold.

  fitshase 16:58 14 May 03

I think that in two years (or maybe a little longer) there will be more integration within the home.

A lot of projects like the Orange Home:-

click here

click here

are investigating the viability and practicality of a "wired" home. I believe that the following would be commonplace in the near future:-

With the lowering cost and increased popularity in home networking, a Central Server which serves the home's entertainment needs could be a distinct possibilit. All of the music and films are stored on it and can be accessed in any room using the integrated network.

A film could be played on demand in the living room while someone else is listening to music in another room - all eliminating the need for satellite/cable decoders, videos, DVD players, hi-fi's, etc, in every room. The server would be stored in a central (air conditioned) room.

They could also be linked to wireless displays to roam around the house

This central server would also be used to provide internet access to the household, again using wireless or LAN technology.

That's just my thoughts.



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