Home automation is a fantastic way to save money, help the environment, and increase your home safety, but it's also something else - fun. Automated systems in your home can provide hours of entertainment by integrating your computer system and gadgets, creating a home theater experience, and setting your own custom music system. Here are some of our favorite uses of automation for entertainment.
Your personal computer is a great command system for your home automation. Allowing you to view more in-depth detail than just setting up a smartphone, you can create customized whole house schemes.For more on home automation software and setup
Beyond controlling the climate and appliances, there are many more options to get the most out of your computer. Create a home entertainment hub by setting your computer to automatically download files and then send them to your TV via WiFi. If you don't like chores, have your computer do the shopping. Get supplies auto-delivered with Amazon Subscribe and Save. You can also automate bills and other payments, to save your time for much needed recreation.
If you work from home, try teaching your computer how to detect your presence and set up a work environment. With proximity sensing software you can set your screensaver to turn off, productivity music to play, the lighting to adjust and anything else you need to get business done as soon as you walk into a room. Lifehacker experts recommend top proximity software setups like Home and Away to get the job done. For those who are less productive, this is also a great way to get a party started.
If you want to go all out, you can set up moving projector screens, surround sound, high end projectors and custom lighting. If you do, automate the entire experience with a system like the Elan automated home theatre. In addition to the options above, the system is described as having 2-way control of your receiver and sound system and can even control the curtains with one touch.
If one touch is still too labor intensive, have no fear. Whether you enjoy a high end system or a simple setup, you can hack your home and control your devices through your Android. Andrew Ferriera demonstrates how to automate your home through Android, including one of our favorite ideas - voice activation.
Many automated home theatre systems are also designed for lighting control. Set up as many rooms and zones as you want. You can create a unique home theatre experience with optimal viewing of the screen, while still keeping some safety lighting in the background for those rushed trips to the restroom. Use your computer and wifi to set up and all-inclusive remote control, like the Monster Home Theater and Lighting Controller. Have the experts help set up a design with a system like the Lutron Home Theater with easy “movie” settings and automatic shade control. For more on automatic shades see the climate control. One of the most user friendly lighting options is the Philips Hue Starter Pack. This four piece system includes smart lightbulbs and a wireless bridge for simple installation. Control it from your smartphone and create custom schemes with different lighting sets and colors.
The next wave in home entertainment automation is definitely the integration of the TV with streaming devices. Already allowing control of your television through mobile phone or tablet, these streaming televisions integrate the internet experience with standard viewing. Popular devices include the Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Roku Streaming TV. While already advanced and upcoming technology, it looks like these options are just going to keep expanding. This app-capable technology is rumored to be the next new venue in home automation, allowing integration through the tv instead of being limited to your home PC.
Many of the systems mentioned above include music or sound options. Sometimes however, you want to listen to music instead of the television. Maybe you want some relaxing tunes while taking a bath, or some festive music while enjoying a holiday dinner. For options like these, try an interconnected music system with speakers in different areas of the house.
Utilize your smartphone or computer to stream popular services like Pandora or iHeartRadio with simple devices like Musaic. Designed to stream beyond the capabilities of a Bluetooth speaker, this wifi enabled system was created specifically to compliment smarthomes. Music options are common parts of most home automation packages, making it difficult to recommend specific items.
For more great home ideas, check out the appliances and in-home gadgets section.