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Who has a keyboard in their Living Room anyways?

12

I caught one of the big networks reviewing the Google TV enabled Logitech Revue a day or two after it was announced and there were knocking it; saying it wasn’t going to go anywhere, that they were perfectly happy using their iPad while they watched TV, and asking “who would want a ‘big’ keyboard in their living room in the first place”?

revue

Well…I do.  Yep, it’s true, and I have for a very long time actually.  The truth is that I can’t imagine NOT having a keyboard accessible to me while kicking back on the couch.  True, I am an early adopter (read geek…not nerd!) as much as I can afford it, but these days it’s not about being an early adopter as much as it is recognizing the revolution that is upon us.

I know…Revolution is a pretty big word, but I think there are enough key indicators out there right now to make the guess that this will stick this time and that things are going to change in a lot of homes.

Streaming Media

To me there is not much doubt that streaming media is the main ingredient and catalyst that has brought a very bright spotlight back onto the Home Theater.  With a rapidly growing portion of the population having high speed internet, more and more people are discovering the expanse of streaming media now available to us.  From listening to music on Pandora, Shoutcast, or any number of services and radio stations on the web, there is literally an unlimited range of choices for your listening pleasure.

When it comes to video, YouTube is the daddy of them all, hitting one billion (yes billion) hits a day just as it hit its third birthday a week ago.  Netflix has decimated Blockbuster by its recognition of these trends and its early adoption of streaming media.  Now, nearly every Blu-ray player, gaming console, and even dedicated media streaming servers come pre-loaded with Netflix.  It seems fair to say that Netflix has become synonymous with streaming media.

Hardware / Devices

As we just mentioned, there are more and more devices that support Streaming Media in one form or another, from our cell phones to our computers, and now directly to our TVs.  Whether it be Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon on Demand, or the literally dozens of less-known services, you will need a way to stream that content.  Streaming devices from Roku have been around for quite awhile now and work amazingly well, streaming High Definition content to our TVs for a really great price!

But Google TV changes that.  Google TV gives your TV the ability to search not only local content in your home, but hands you the entire world on a silver platter…or to be more accurate, on a small condensed keyboard.  Google TV gives you something no one else does, with the exception perhaps, of those of us to have chosen the path of the Home Theater PC (HTPC).  While the full HTPC and Windows Home Server combination may be for everyone due to complexity, Google TV via Logitech or Sony is a great system balancing ease of use with the power of Google Search.

Public Awareness

Is it me, or does it seem like EVERYONE is talking about Home Technology Integration these days?  The buzzwords are everywhere, it seems like everywhere I look I see something about the “connected home” or “home media integration”.  Not that this isn’t a great thing, right?!  This is exactly what we want, and want in abundance!  Why?

Because the more we can raise public awareness, the more we can open everyone’s eyes to what can be accomplished within their homes with the addition of one or two small pieces of relatively inexpensive equipment.  This increase in public awareness will continue to spread as excitement and momentum build until someday every new home built is wired with the anticipation of having smart technology built right in.  From my experience, people create living environments that suit them and make them feel comfortable, so each integrated home can have its own personal look and feel, just as we as individuals decorate differently.  As the options available to the home consumer increase, only the imagination of the homeowner or system integrator will limit what our castles are like to live in.

Streaming Media is what acts as the catalyst for this impending Living Room revolution, Google TV takes full advantage of all that Streaming Media can bring.  The battle lines are shifting in this ever expanding frontier and whoever offers up not only the most, but the best content will be come out ahead…at least until the next new exclusive content drives people elsewhere.  I believe those battle lines will always be fluid and shifting and content providers struggle to top each other.  It will be very interesting to see what the cable and satellite companies do to answer this, because right now all they have is exclusive content to keep customers paying.

So about that keyboard…

Say you took the plunge and embraced this new way of “being” in the living room, family room, or TV room.  Imagine instead of crowding around a computer chair to participate in a family webcam visit, you can just sit back on your couch, floor, and whatever other kind of seating you’ve got in your TV room and have a visit that way. Imagine that this keyboard not only can control your TV and the Logitech Revue and your Home Theater, but it also has the technology built into it to control your lighting as well!  Now the option of being able to actually type a search string into your new Google TV interface doesn’t sound so bad on a keyboard does it?

revue

Go with it…give it a shot!  Embrace technology people! I’m betting that within just a few years, a keyboard in the living room won’t be such a strange concept!  Personally, I love the level of Integrated Technology that I’ve been able to accomplish thus far and look forward to creating a more robust and seamless system as more and more new technology is created for this very purpose: Home System Integration!

Tom

[pics courtesy of Logitech]

About the Author

Tom AbellPut simply, Tom loves technology! Having been involved in the IT world since leaving the US Navy Submarine Force in 1992, Tom has moved his way up to the top as an IT Systems Engineering. But having spent some time in the Home Automation industry early in his career, he’s never been able to shake his love for creating integrated Home Technology environments and has been running HTPCs and Windows Home Servers for years. With 17 years of IT Systems Engineering experience, Tom's recent OIF 08-09 deployment has rekindled his love for the Connected Home Industry and hence, the website. We hope you like the site, please share it with your friends and follow us on your favorite Social Networks! Read more about Tom on the "About Us" page.View all posts by Tom Abell

Setup & Integration of Home Technology: Home Theater - Home Server - HTPC - Home Networks