Thanks to modern technology, our homes are now “smart” environments. Today’s tech tools make it easier than ever to view media, manage our households, engage with others (both in and outside of the home), and be creative. And they’re readily available off-the-shelf (and many are surprisingly affordable too). If you are looking to upgrade your home, these eight tech items are must-haves. Make the switch today, and bring your home into the 21st century.
Amazon Echo (like Google’s Home) represents a new standard for home electronics. Just as radio gave way to television, and television gave way to the personal computer, it’s not too far-fetched to think that the personal computer will give way to Echo. Part personal assistant, part concierge, part media player, the Amazon Echo is voice-activated and can fulfill a wide range of tasks at your command. Listen to music or audiobooks, ask questions, get news updates, or even learn what the weather forecast will be – all without pressing a button. If you want a home fit for the Jetsons, it’s a must-have.
The home stereo system may not be completely dead – after all, audiophiles will always demand the best sound possible – but it is giving way to a more practical, more convenient, and perhaps most importantly, more portable alternative: the wireless Bluetooth speaker. Wireless Bluetooth speakers like the Pill, by Beats by Dre, allow you to bring your music with you anywhere in your house. Better yet, you can easily sync your phone or tablet, which opens up all-new listening possibilities for your digital music library.
The future of gaming and media is increasingly looking to be virtual. Of course, anyone who grew up in the 80s or 90s has heard this promise before, and may be a bit skeptical. However, hear us out. With a wide range of VR options currently available, from Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR to Vive by HTC, it’s hard to ignore the rising tide that is virtual reality gaming and media. And major media channels like YouTube have embraced virtual reality too, with their VR 360 channel. Needless to say, there are plenty of reasons to believe it’s here to stay. Plus, what better way to escape on a rainy day than entering into an all-new reality?
Today’s smart televisions bring you not only cable and local television channels, but digital programming as well. With a smart TV, you can access Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Instant Video, and a whole number of other media services without having to purchase a separate set-top “box,” like a Roku or Apple TV. The smart TV packages this functionality into a single device for convenience, practicality, and important to some, aesthetics. While several manufacturers are selling smart TVs, Sony is currently leading the way with these devices. Find one that suits your needs and budget.
Perhaps you don’t want or need a smart television, but still want to experience the many benefits that a smart TV can provide? If so, Google Google Chromecast is for you. For just $35 you can stream YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and more, straight from your phone to your television – it’s quick and easy. Simply plug in Chromecast to the back of your TV, download the app on your phone, sync the two together, and you’re ready to go.
Home Automation Systems
To truly feel like you’re living in the future, you may want to look at home automation systems. Modern home automation products like those from ADT not only enable you to monitor and safeguard your home against potential intruders, they allow you to actively control and manage your house as well. For example, you can sync the ADT Pulse app with a smart Nest thermostat to easily control the temperature in your home, from anywhere and at any time. Believe it or not, you can even turn off the lights or lock the doors with today’s home control systems – simply buy compatible “smart” lights and locks.
Next-Gen Gaming Console
Today’s gaming consoles are so much more than simple video game platforms. They are fully connected multimedia devices that can meet the needs of the entire family. While your son or daughter may enjoy playing the latest game titles against online competitors from around the world, you can view digital content or even browse the Internet. The latest gaming consoles are increasingly providing a robust and varied user experience. And of course, consoles like Nintendo’s forthcoming Switch encourage the entire family to play, making gaming a family affair.
Finally, no modern home is complete without a tablet. Whether you use it to check Facebook or watch movies, tablets have become our go-to media devices. They are multitools in the modern sense, in that they put all of the things that we consume right at our fingertips in a beautifully intuitive and usable layout. The great thing with a tablet is that you can do whatever you want with it; the possibilities are endless. If you are looking for the best, you can’t go wrong with Apple’s 12.9 inch iPad Pro. It is big, beautiful, and endlessly customizable.