Accessorize! Five Toys and Gadgets for your Connected Home
It may be worth getting high speed internet just to connect some of these great toys and gadgets to it. Game consoles, music players, digital photo albums. There are a lot of networkable devices out there. Here are some of the more popular additions to your wired home.
Digital Video Recorder
While we have tried to avoid listing brand names here, TiVo® is the obvious heavy weight in this category. Not only can you digitally record and timeshift television shows with a TiVo®, but you can also watch recorded shows on networked computers and even save shows to your notebook computer for viewing on the road. You can also play your digital music and display your digital photos on it. Using your high speed internet connection it automatically keeps itself updated with the latest programming guides.
Your gaming console wants to be set free. The newer generation of gaming consoles have integrated network connections for streaming of movies and television shows, music and live internet game play with your similarly equipped friends or other players from around the world.
Digital Audio Receiver
Digital music is nice but being restricted to listening from your computer or portable Mp3 player is not. Now you can download or stream music through your high speed internet connection and play it right on your home stereo. A few companies are making network audio receivers that have the look and feel of a home stereo component and let you access your music collection directly from the device or via remote control. Other, less convenient but cheaper, devices called music bridge let you stream music from your PC to your home stereo over the network, but you must initiate the stream from your PC. Both types of music player are available for wired and wireless networks.
Digital Picture Frame
Flat screen monitors and tablet technology have made digital frames not only possible, but affordable. While there are some that only accept media cards, many newer digital picture frames connect to your wired or wireless network and display the digital photos stored on your network. You may never need to hang another picture.
Network Phone Adapter
Not really a toy, but worth mentioning. Voice Over IP, or VOIP technology allows you to use High Speed Internet to initiate and receive local and long distance phone calls. A simple VOIP network adapter attached to your phone and to your home network can make this possible. Learn more about VOIP and Broadband Phone Service.
Be sure to evaluate all options before choosing a High Speed Internet Provider.