Sample Essay

Wipe your feet. You’ve just entered the digital home. This isn’t the stuff of The Jetsons, or an episode of Star Trek. Wollack’s condo is part of an Internet-driven technological wave that is rippling through houses in theU.S.,Europe, andAsia. Whether it’s a deluxe design such as Wollack’s or a bare-bones wireless network that a student can rig up for a few hundred bucks,┬átoday’s digital home represents a commitment to tearing down walls. Occupants inhabit protean rooms where data move at lightning speed. Content is available anytime, anyplace, and on whatever device the owner desires. This is a world where the couch potato lounges in the living room, presses a button, and begins watching a show recorded on the TiVo in the kitchen or upstairs in the bedroom. It’s a domain in which road warriors in motion snap open cell phones or tablet computers for access to music files stored at home on a PC.

Today’s connected homes look nothing like the top-down schemes for automated houses hatched by Japanese electronics companies in the 1980s. InJapan’s Platonic ideal, prior to the commercial Internet, all the amenities were to be controlled by a central computer. In contrast, consumers today are setting up their electronics room by room to share high-speed Net connections and to exchange music, video, and other content. Rapid adoption of home-PC networks is speeding development of networked appliances and features. Using TiVo and ReplayTV devices to skip commercials is already “been-there, done-that.” Both companies now are implementing features that let you schedule programs through the Internet remotely as well as stream them among units.

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