Technology is changing so rapidly it’s hard to keep up. Just 15 years ago, many of us had never even heard of the internet, and now it has become essential like water or electricity.

So what innovations are likely to shape our homes in the near future? Nathan Taylor takes us on a quick tour of some of the cool tech that’s already here, and is likely to appear in your home in the next few years.

The loungeroom

Personal Video Recorder

FOXTEL-iQ2-Insitu.jpgPersonal Video Recorders (PVRs) like the Foxtel iQ2 completely change the way you view television. With their iPod-like capacity to store recorded shows on an internal hard disk and their ability to automatically set up recording times, PVRs free you from broadcasters’ schedules. They allow you to watch the shows you want, when you want, instead of being a slave to the TV guide. The iQ2 is available to Foxtel Subscribers for $10 per month after a $200 upgrade fee.

Blu-ray

Blu-ray is a lot like DVD, using discs that look nearly identical to DVDs to store movies. The difference is that Blu-ray movies are high definition (HD), and will look fantastic on your HD flat screen. The best known Blu-ray player is the $699 Sony PlayStation 3. Other players are now sold from around $400.

Media Server

Western Digital Sharespace media serverAny year now, the idea of buying a disk will seem pretty silly, because we’ll all download movies and music. Once downloading dominates, you’re going to need somewhere to store all your stuff.

“Media servers” will be the solution. A media server is like an iPod for your house. You’ll fill it up with videos, music and pictures and the server will send it to wherever you want to listen or watch. Your next TV, for example, will be able to play videos stored on the media server, while in your bedroom a stereo will also access it to play music. Media servers are already on sale, but are presently pretty geeky. If there’s a techie in your life, ask them to get one up and running. Otherwise, wait a year or two!

Low VOC paints

Wattyl i.d. low VOC paintNot every technical innovation makes life more complex. Greater understanding of the impact of chemicals on our interior living spaces has seen manufacturers coming up with paints with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to simplify our lives and our lungs. Basically low VOC paints emit fewer chemicals into the atmosphere and therefore don’t have that ‘new paint’ smell. Wattyl i.d. Low VOC paint costs approximately $65 for 4 litres.

Source: Australian GO magazine, issue 5