I’ve interviewed many homeowners over the years, but one question I’ve never posed is “Which home technology are you most thankful for?”
Given the upcoming holiday season, it seemed appropriate to reconnect with some of high-tech homeowners I’ve spoken with before to find out. Here’s how a few responded:
“I’m most thankful for my radio-frequency remote. Over the years, I have had to manually change channels on numerous TVs because the satellite receivers and TVs were all the same brands. Try to change a channel on one TV or receiver—they all (TVs or receivers) change. Even turning them on and off with a remote was frustrating. Not so with my new RF remote. For me it’s a blessing to be able to independently control three PS3s, three audio receivers, nine satellite receivers, two Panasonic TVs and seven Samsung TVs via a single remote. Plus, because the remote doesn’t require line of sight with the equipment, I have been able to put the equipment in its own room.
—Bob Foottit Jr., Moorhead, Minn.
“One of the best features is being able to intercom and talk between three houses as well as the business office. The inter-connectivity platform also allows us to visually monitor all four properties at each property via the Internet and security cameras. We are able watch through any computer, the televisions in each room of any of the houses or any of the Crestron screens.”
—David Bohnett, Los Angeles
“The technology in my house for which I am most thankful for is my home’s system controller. This is the programmable, microcomputer-based piece of equipment that monitors the temperature inside, outside and in various parts of the heating and air conditioning systems; monitors the production of electricity by my solar panels; monitors the usage of electricity by each heating and cooling unit, as well as all major appliances and lighting; coordinates the operation of the heating and cooling systems, including the solar hot water heater, hot water radiator air handlers, heat recovery ventilator, heat pump and the electrical heating elements; and communicates all of the above data to the world via a link to the Internet so that I (or anyone) can monitor my home’s performance in real time, from anywhere in the world.
“In over a year of operation, though a Maine winter with record-breaking cold and snow, and a Maine summer that was one of the cloudiest and rainiest on record, the controller has functioned flawlessly to power my home entirely with solar energy, keep the interior spaces comfortable and fresh, and save enough energy so that I sold over 5,000 kilowatt-hours of surplus electricity back to the grid.”
—Keith Collins, Rockport, Maine
“One of the things we’re most thankful for is an installer who was finally willing to listen to us and create a system that would give us exactly what we wanted,”
—Russ and Vivian Fessel, McCordsville, Ind.
“What I most appreciate is my home theater and its convenience. My handheld controller allows me to go between Blu-ray disc and TV and other applications while comfortably seated. But what I like the best is the theater itself. It’s better than going to a movie. No people talking, coughing, texting, rustling bags, dropping drinks … The proportional distance between where I sit in my home theater and where I sit in the movies is about the same. In fact, I think it’s better. I can open a nice bottle wine, pause the film to get more food and snacks, use the restroom or shut off a movie that I don’t like. I’d put in another home theater in a heartbeat.”
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.