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My ideal home entertainment system

I was reading Fred’s post today, The Ideal Phone System, and what stands out is how many older technologies didn’t stand the test of time because they were designed with a different set of assumptions about the evolution of voice.

In some ways, Fred’s post reminds me of my longtime desire to find the ideal home entertainment system.

As we’ve moved a number of times, I’ve created and changed our home a/v system several times over. In a nutshell (with many iterations along the way) my home entertainment system has evolved from:

-designed my own PC based server streaming media to PCs/Macs connected to our av system (optimized for local media)

-then I went to a closed, complicated, proprietary, expensive system (also optimized for local media)

-now I use low cost, easy to use products that mostly stream online media (some are open and others are closed but getting better)

The key thing is that the systems I had in the past assumed I had large amounts of home storage requirements. I can’t find it at the moment but I wrote a blog post a number of years ago about the challenges of backing up & organizing my media.

You would think as time went on that this problem would have compounded in complexity and demand. After all I regularly create and consumer more content photos, videos, music, text, etc).

But these days my home entertainment system is actually simple and fairly easy to maintain.

So what’s different now?

The vast majority of my content is streamed from the web. It’s not on my local network. Its a stream that I request and not a file that I manage. That’s a fundamental change thanks to our wonderful FIOS 20/20Mbps network. And as far as I’m concerned any devices that I add to my entertainment system has to be built for the internet stream and not the local file.

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It’s intersting to watch TiVo make this change. The original TiVo was designed in a world where the best video content came from your cable operator. These days online video is extremely compelling and getting better all the time. So TiVo is changing. It’s less about bigger and bigger disks in the DVR and more about web content. That’s smart.