A View from Brad King

Best Buy Offers Digital Life System

New software will turn your home into a networked oasis.

  • December 28, 2006

This holiday season consumers purchased $30 billion in electronics. It was a banner year for the industry.

The technology writers at the BBC put together a list of this year’s best gadgets. But the best big-ticket item for the coming year may be Best Buy’s ConnectedLife.Home electronics system (assuming you can pony up $15,000).

So far the new system, which debuts next month, is getting good press. From the USA Today article:

Starting next month, Best Buy will sell a “ConnectedLife.Home” package that features a computer with software coordinating a high-definition TV, light switches, a thermostat and two remote cameras–all included in the $15,000 price tag.

The components talk to one another over the home’s power lines and through a wireless network.

Controlling all this is a black Hewlett-Packard computer that looks as if it belongs on the rack with the rest of the stereo gear. Using Microsoft’s Windows Media Center system, the PC will record shows and send them to any TV in the house, along with photos, music or home video. Third-party software called Lifeware lets the user control the lights and thermostat.

The digital home has long been a dream of both Microsoft and Apple, which continue to develop integrated technologies that will enable consumers to more easily connect their home electronics.

Of course, simply creating a networked home system hasn’t been enough over the years. Despite increased electronics spending and more-integrated technologies, consumers have been wary of buying all-in-one home networking solutions.

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