Monday, August 01, 2005

Will I Need to Reboot My Home Theater?

Digital packets. Everywhere.

This is the new face of how we produce, distribute and consume media in today's "digital lifestyle." Essentially any information or content that can be recorded - movies, music, books, magazines, television, radio, phone conversations - is being stored and distributed as digital packets of information. And as consumers get more acquainted with the Internet and newer technologies such as IPTV, RSS feeds, and podcasting, they'll be looking for simpler, more convenient ways to access all of their media when and where they please.

An article from MediaDailyNews discusses how the personal computer is emerging as the device of choice for consumers looking for a centralized hub for all of their personal media. (View the full article here.) Some of the statistics reported by the market research firms cited in the article seem to indicate a growing familiarity and interest in these "digital media hubs." (It does seem that the studies were conducted primarily online, which could possibly skew the data toward those with a higher propensity to be interested in such technologies.) And with Microsoft and others putting big dollars into software development for these systems, its easy to see that this interest will continue to grow.

As interest grows in these media hubs, progressive real estate developers should be thinking about the capabilities that become possible with a media server in every home in a community. Cable/satellite TV and high-speed Internet are becoming common amenities at many properties, but what's next? Maybe on-demand videos or XM radio in your unit. Maybe you could access your iPod from the billiards room in the clubhouse. How about content packages customized for each resident. (It's not as far off as it sounds.) Really, who wants to wait for Netflix when you can download a movie from the leasing office anytime in a matter of minutes? Developers who are interested in such options should be looking to partner with those who understand how the techology is progressing and being used. A smartly designed property and great partnerships with your content providers will go a long way to make your community stand out in the eyes of today's tech-savvy buyer.

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