If you want to enjoy Sky TV, multi-room music, a phone line and an internet connection in every room of your home, then you need a connected home system or digital home network. Digital home networks allow voice, data, telephone and video signals to be distributed around your home, often using wireless technology with the minimum of intrusive cabling. All the equipment is stored out of sight in a media closet and signals are piped into each room through a wall plate. With more and more of your media going digital, many are seeking the ability to share digital content between the different devices in the home. Most home networks implement the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standards, allowing products that can communicate with one another in different rooms.
Today consumers are acquiring, viewing and managing an increasing amount of digital content and they want to enjoy this content conveniently across different devices and locations throughout their homes, for example sharing Internet access or networked printers, plus enjoying digital entertainment content in all rooms. There are many manufacturers developing new products that use DLNA technology to share digital entertainment content using custom built networks inside the home.
The organisation was formed in 2003 by 17 leading companies in the PC, CE and mobile devices markets, the current membership boasts over 240 member companies, each working to advance wired and wireless interoperable networks for the home. The DLNA is a non-profit organisation, originally started by Sony. In the near future, it is likely that new digital homes will contain intelligent platforms to manage and distribute digital content to devices including televisions and wireless monitors, digital cameras, camcorders and multimedia mobile devices. The Digital Living Network Alliance has created design and Networked Device Interoperability Guidelines, derived from established, open industry standards organisations, to provide manufacturers with the information necessary to build interoperable digital home platforms, connected devices and applications.
DLNA-compatible devices use UPnP to communicate with each other and are "plug n play" devices. There are three classes of DLNA devices: Home Network Devices, Mobile Handheld Devices and Home Infrastructure Devices. DLNA Certification on a device means have been tested to ensure that they'll play nicely with other DLNA devices.
CEDIA is the acronym for the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association, an international trade association of companies that specialise in planning and installing electronic systems for the home, such as home networking and communication systems, or multi-room entertainment systems. The provides industry professional training, and certification focused on the installation and integration of residential electronic systems. Everyone benefits From CEDIA, consumers can find qualified, reputable and insured design and installation contractors, whereas the contractors have access to data, publications, training and other materials to enhance their business practices, plus course CEDIA certification, a benchmark within the industry.
When choosing an installer for your Digital Home Network, insist on CEDIA membership as a minimum requirement, in addition you must obtain at least 3 quotations from vetted contractors and carefully check references and ensure they have the expertise and insurance coverage necessary to complete the job quickly and professionally.
The majority of companies will offer a free home survey and provide on site quotations for all new installations. Digital home networks can vary in scope tremendously, from a simple multi-point digital TV access system right up to a fully automated home system with integral TV & audio, along with fire alarm, security & access control, plus remote activation of heating, lighting and other utilities. The ultimate connected home is now a reality with remote control features using Wi-Fi for door sensors, thermostats, deadbolts, household appliances, and security cameras, all available for control in a web browser application or using an iOS or Android mobile phone or tablet device. A simple home network installation for audio & video throughout the home can start from as little as £199, but depending on the number of rooms, devices and method of control, can easily escalate into thousands of pounds.