I recently purchased a Wii gaming console for my wife’s birthday. She is a Pilates teacher, and Wii Fit seemed like a fit present. While working on adding the additional wires to my living room’s overcrowded electronics display, I tried to figure out which electronic device is the real hub of my house.
I am not a gadget freak – far from it. But I do have a modest home network, with the following electronic devices, in no specific order:
- Flat panel TV set in the living room
- Another television set in the bedroom
- Two cable set-top boxes – one for each TV set
- Home phone, which gets its service through the cable operator
- DVD player (I know, I should have ditched it years ago)
- HTPC, which was moved from the living room to my wife’s treatment room
- Receiver, in the living room, which connects the TV set to the sound system
- Desktop PC in one of the other rooms in the house
- ADSL modem, connected to a Linksys wireless access point
- Our new Wii gaming console
- The laptop I’m using to write this post
I am thinking of adding a network storage device somewhere into this configuration, just to get easier access to all of my files and as a backup for my data.
The question is – which device REALLY is the center of my home network? Not only today, but also with an eye to the future.
Entertainment – that’s the key
It is the television, it has been for years now. We’re all watching that large box in our living room way too much, so that must be it. But the TV, large though it may be, is only one of the “viewing ports” in my digital home. I can use my desktop’s screen, my laptop or my mobile phone for this purpose as well.
Should it be my new Wii console? It’s the latest and greatest in gaming. I can play with it interactively, it connects to the internet, and as it evolves, it will gain additional features and functions that will make it central to my home. But should it be the center of it all?
The HTPC maybe?
A few years back, it was thought that the center of the home would be the HTPC – a regular PC with more storage and with a nicer form factor. Somehow, this isn’t happening. Probably because non-techies (that’s me!) find that it’s a pain to configure and maintain a full-fledged PC for non-techies.
The set-top box, no doubt
How about the set-top box? It’s there, connected to the TV. It is becoming a lot more sophisticated. It is going to be all IP, with neat widgets and applications. But for the moment, it is also a bit limited and closed, not to say controlled by the cable operator and “enslaved” by his whims.
Must be the network
The wireless access device then. All I want is for my devices to be connected to the internet. I want to show off images of my baby girl to every visitor. I want to read my data and work on any digital display I might have at home (and even outside the home). So is it the network itself that is the “hub” of my home? Are we going to live in decentralized digital houses once we get enough CPUs crammed into virtually every device at home?
It’s all in the data
Should it be the data storage? Once I get that network storage device I want, will I start thinking about it as the center of my home simply because it stores everything I have? Or will the trend towards cloud computing make this one moot?
Nowhere at all
How about nowhere? Since there are several “centers”, depending on people’s current activity on their network, why not have the following as the hub of the network at home?
Me! Or should I say YOU?
You are the real center of your home network. You connect to it around you as you see fit, each time in a different manner: turn your resources on and off, connect and disconnect them as you see fit. Time magazine names You their Man of the Year 2006 – why shouldn’t you be the man around your house?
Is there any hub to home networking these days? Does it even make sense ask this question, or are we simply talking about a set of interconnected devices with a network?