Home Theater and Automation




A HTPC-HAI is a computer adapted for playing music, watching movies and pictures stored on a local hard drive or on a (in some cases wireless) network, watching DVD movies and often for watching and recording television broadcasts. Some software is capable of doing other tasks, such as finding news (RSS) from the internet. HTPC's are often operated with a remote control, connected to a television set for video output, and can often function as a normal personal computer. A HTPC can be purpose-built, or created by individuals by adding media center software to a PC or some other computer, for example an Xbox.

Typical HTPC's offer the following advantages to the user:

Ability to receive digital media files (via direct video signal, computer network or USB)
Ability to store digital media (usually on a standard computer hard disk drive)
Ability to playback digital media through standard television or hi-fi equipment
Simplicity (compared to a computer equipped to accomplish transfer, storage and TV/hi-fi playback)
Cost savings (compared to a computer equipped to accomplish transfer, storage and TV/hi-fi playback)
Portability (compared to a computer equipped to accomplish transfer, storage and TV/hi-fi playback)
Though media centers are often built using similar components to personal computers, they are often smaller; media centers sometimes have hardware that is not usually seen in personal computers, such as receivers for remote controls, or television tuner cards. Media centers have not seen widespread popularity but are starting to take hold in the UK and the United States.

There are several common applications for which HTPC's are beginning to gain popularity. Simply put, any application requiring the playback of digital media based files, but not requiring the full features and flexibility of a personal computer stands to benefit from the reduced size, reduced complexity and reduced cost of HTPC's when compared to similarly equipped PC's.

Common applications include:

Digital Sign Systems
Automotive Entertainment Systems (i.e. limousines, tour buses, car stereos
In flight/room entertainment and Video On Demand Systems
Mobile sales professionals
Portable collections for travelers and audio/video enthusiasts

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Home automation (also called smart homes or domotics) is a field within building automation, specializing in the specific automation requirements of private homes and in the application of automation techniques for the comfort and security of its residents. Although many techniques used in building automation (such as light and climate control, control of doors and window shutters, security and surveillance systems, etc.) are also used in home automation, additional functions in home automation can include the control of multi-media home entertainment systems, automatic plant watering and pet feeding, automatic scenes for dinners and parties, and a more user-friendly control interface.

When home automation is installed during construction of a new home, usually control wires are added before the interior walls are installed. These control wires run to a controller, which will then control the environment.