November 01, 2012
| by Grant Clauser
4. Networking Media
You might not think about the quality of your home network when planning your home theater, but think about where your content is coming from.According to ABI research, 25 percent of homes will have an Internet-connected Blu-ray player by the end of this year. When you add dedicated streaming devices, smart TVs and networked gaming consoles, it’s clear that the Internet is the most important source for most people’s entertainment. It’s also true that streaming content isn’t as high-quality as Blu-ray or CD, but that is bound to improve. All of this means that home networks are getting pushed to their limits, in versatility and reach.
So how important is the home network to a home theater? “It’s crucial,” says David Huse of Theater Advice in Dallas, Texas. Like Berman, he installs a lot of networked sources, such as Apple TV, into theaters and media rooms. “Wireless is not good enough to stream video,” he adds, so putting in Ethernet connections is standard for him, but it’s not just about streaming media. “I’m constantly upgrading people’s networks for automation,” says Huse, who often replaces cheap routers for better quality ones.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.