Ever since the first computer was invented someone thought it could be put to good use inside the home, to make life better and easier. The biggest problem with this integration of technology was, until recently, the prohibitive cost.
Now the situation has changed – technology of every type is mainstream and transforming your home into a high-tech marvel is much cheaper than it was 5 years ago. So let’s see how we can improve our home
1. Home cinema – this can be a very expensive part of your project. A Plasma TV can set you back some $1,200 (tv stand not included, which can cost up to $1,000) for a 42 inch model and up to $14,000 for a top of the line 60 inch model.
This is clearly not going to cut it, so let’s see how we can minimize the costs and still have a great system. What you need
– a PC with a DVD player (the beautiful Mac Mini is only $599),
– a home cinema projector (very good ones can be found even at $1,500 to $2,000),
– a projector wall screen (from $50 to $300, depending on its size),
– floor standing speakers (around $300 a pair)
All these add up to around $2,500, a lot of money to save if you wanted to buy that top of the line Plasma TV. Now you can take that money and invest it in some (or all) of the systems below.
2. Multi-room audio system – for those addicted to music being able to hear those favorite tunes is a must. Also, although MP3 Players like the Ipod are getting smaller, headphones are not comfortable when worn for a very long time. Here is what you need for a multi-room audio system
– audio source this can be anything from a MP3 player, sound system or even a computer (this doesn’t need to be dedicated, it can even be the computer you’re reading this artcle from right now). Most likely you don’t have to buy this one, unless you specifically want to.
– audio distribution module this takes the signal from the audio source and distributes it to the volume controllers in each room (costs approximately $150).
– wall mounted volume controllers you need one for each room, as this regulates the audio volume to the speakers (one costs around $30).
– speakers you can have any kind of speakers – floor standing or wall mounted, just like the volume controller (these can cost from $100 to $600 for a pair).
So if we use an already existing audio source a 4 room audio system will cost only $670 – a big difference from top of the range systems that can reach $3,000 dollars easily.
3. Lighting and climate control – this is also a very good option to have, especially when you consider that you can save substantial sums of money. Some of the improvements you can make
– fluorescent light bulbs 5 times the lifespan and 6 times less power use for only $7 each. It’s worth the price anyway you look at it, and now it comes in traditional light bulb form!
– light dimmers it replaces a normal light switch and dimms the light (and uses less power) when you need it. This is perfect for many uses, from setting a romantic mood to lowering the light levels when you are sick and your eyes hurt. Light dimmers are usually $25 to $35.
– programmable thermostat unlike an usual thermostat, this one can actually save you a lot of money as well as keeping the temperature at a comfortable level. You can set your preffered temperature for a certain time of day and leave it unattended to do all the work; this way it will turn off when it’s not needed and turn on again when temperature is getting too low.
The time to upgrade your home is now, and the benefits are great you’ll be more comfortable, you’ll impress your friends and even cut your energy costs!