Yes, the time has come for all these devices that I have put up with in my living room – the cable box, the DVR/Tivo, Apple TV, SlingBox, storage backup, cable router, and even the gaming server (PS2/XBox) – to move out. They have made themselves a bit too comfortable over the years pretending to be part of my decor and furniture. The cute colors and silver containers are not fooling me anymore, the tangle of wires is a dead give away. You do not belong in my living room. The Businessweek story A File Server…in Your Living Room? notwithstanding.
Growing up, I recall how the air conditioner, the water heater, and even the washing machine were all conspicuously visible and tolerated. But in due course of time, they stopped being status symbols and we wanted them out of where we can see them. The same is true (or getting there) for these modern computing devices in the garb of gaming and entertainment.
Here is what I am giving them and in 18 months from now, they better adapt or they will not be welcome in my shopping bag anymore:
- Rack in my heater or laundry room with lots of Ethernet cables. Heck, I am willing to pony up cash for Gigabit Ethernet or whatever upgrades you want.
- An infrared relay mechanism between my living room and the ‘laundry server room’ so that some devices that need to be operated by remote controls of today will still work. But plan to switch to Wi-Fi (or Bluetooth) as the communicating technology with the devices – I never really was a big fan of having to point my remote in the right direction just to switch channels.
- Plan to integrate your displays with my (big screen HD) television. This is already true for most devices but those that have not yet paid heed, remember that I cannot see your device’s puny little display in the laundry server room.
Just like a good Carrier split air conditioner that sits out in the sweltering heat, your devices must learn to serve the master (me) without asking me to re-arrange my furniture. Kapish?