Welcome to life in a hi-tech home | india | Hindustan Times
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Welcome to life in a hi-tech home

At the model home built in one of the four massive halls at the 2006 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show), which runs through Sunday, touch screens in every room command it all, from bathroom temperatures to lighting, to the security system and the roast in the oven.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2006 20:58 IST

Coming home to high technology has never been so complete: at the world's biggest electronics fair, ever more powerful computers run the cutting-edge show home, from its infrastructure to security and entertainment.

At the model home built in one of the four massive halls at the 2006 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show), which runs through Sunday, touch screens in every room command it all, from bathroom temperatures to lighting, to the security system and the roast in the oven.

The home - co-sponsored by software giant Microsoft, top chipmakers Intel, computer company Hewlett Packard and high-tech home designers NextGen Home -- is packed with the sponsors' latest innovations including the future Microsoft software, Windows Vista, and computers that run on Intel's new chip. Known as Viiv, it was dreamed up with the idea of the computer being a multimedia "heart" of the home.

 
   A Magnadyne Linear Series car stereo is displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada January 6, 2006. The stereo can play from or record to an SD disk or through devices attached through the USB port

Wireless touch screens also let residents know which programs are running in the house and if they have new e-mail.

Other innovations making a splash were powerful wireless sound systems, upgraded security systems and "intelligent" home appliances such as a robot-vacuum cleaner and giant high-definition TV screens.

The digital home dreamed up years ago was becoming a reality because "we now have a real connectivity, and we're in the digital era," said Gary Shapiro, Consumer Electronics Association president.

While the show home has a security and infrastructure control centre in one room, which for example guides the improved heating system, a cutting-edge computer system is the home's communications nerve center.

And the computer - bolstered by ever greater chip and software abilities -- is the entertainment and work control center for this 21st-century home, according to industry leaders Microsoft, Dell and Intel.

Intel demonstrations herald a computer as a multimedia centre, which would allow for example viewing of a TV show over the Internet on a big screen in the living room while a video plays on another computer in the house. Yet the machine will alert viewers if they have new email.

Dell hopes to lead in the field of using the computer as a home multimedia center. It unveiled a series of personal computers meant to compete with high-definition television and hot computer games.

"The PC is increasingly becoming the center of the digital lifestyle," said Dell chairman Michael Dell, ahead of introducing the top-of-the-line XPS line, and demonstrating graphics quality with a video game.

"The screen has almost double the capacity of a HDTV," Dell explained.

For Microsoft, which developed the software that outfits the home and ties together its electronic symphony, portable electronicaelectronica and even the family car, the media control center can be built with a computer and its gaming and multimedia console, the Xbox 360.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates set the tone in a keynote address late Wednesday by describing the current era as "the decade of digital lifestyles, the decade of digital work styles".

"That means that all these tools are becoming mainstream," he said.