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Make your home ‘smart’ with simple tech upgrades

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Make your home ‘smart’ with simple tech upgrades

Turn your home into a smart home with technology upgrades.

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POSTED May 2, 2014 7:38 p.m.

Homes are more technically advanced than ever before, providing homeowners with sophisticated sound systems, high-tech security capabilities and interactive entertainment systems. The good news is that you don’t have to be a techie to turn your home into a smart home.

Not only is technology improving, it is also becoming more user-intuitive. “Home is where the smart is,” says home technology guru Dr. Frank Viggiano, professor emeritus of Consumer Electronics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. So if you’re interested in turning your home into a smart home, Viggiano suggests the following ways to bring technology in and make your life easier:

Cut the wires

The latest audio technology in both living room and whole-house sound systems include Bluetooth-enabled speakers and sound bars, allowing you to stream music from your compatible smartphone, tablet or computer anywhere in the house. You don’t even need to turn the system on any longer - just push “play” on whatever device you’re using, and enjoy the tunes coming through the surround sound speakers you’ve either installed or strategically placed around the home.

TVs that make
entertainment easy

TVs have come a long way from just showing the programming aired by the local station. Smart TVs like the newest ones with LG’s webOS platform make broadcast TV, smart TV content and media stored on external devices accessible via one click on a  “launcher bar” menu - no more hunting the depths of a complicated menu system. These TVs will even recommend content for you based on what you’ve previously watched to help you sort out what’s available.

Print to go

Viggiano says if you have an office at home, having your printer accessible and easy-to-use is important. However, with many families making their computers mobile, connecting to the printer hasn’t always been easy. Now printers are Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to send a document to the printer from your laptop or tablet in another room. You can continue working at your location and just pick up all your documents from the printer when you’re ready to go.

Comfort at the
 push of a button

Set the temperature, turn off the lights or turn on the alarm, anywhere-anytime. Smartphone software programs now allow you to automate your home’s electronics like lights, thermostat, alarm system and even your smart appliances, so you can turn items on or off anywhere your phone has Internet access. So if you’re sitting on your couch enjoying your favorite movie on your smart TV and you forgot to check your washer cycle, with a quick check on your phone, you’ve resolved the situation - without having to press “pause” on the movie.

Limit the clutter

All too often your living room coffee table becomes a hub for countless remotes. For instance, Viggiano points out that if you have an LG Smart TV, its Magic Remote has universal capability, so it’s able to control most cable and satellite boxes as well as other LG devices like sound bars and blu-ray players. Also, a lot of electronics can now be controlled by smartphone apps, so that’s another route for consolidating the clutter.

“These aren’t your grandfather’s devices,” says Viggiano. “But they’re designed to be, meaning they can be installed quickly and easily, and you don’t need an engineering degree to figure out how to use them. So if you’re looking into giving your home a technology boost, these upgrades will make your life easier and provide you some entertainment as well.”

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