How To Avoid Internet Dependence In Your Home and Home Theater

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digital_detox.gifFor four years my father was a professor at my alma mater, the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, where he taught a number of classes on topics ranging from Generational Media Studies to other new media related topics. In one of his classes he directed his students (for extra credit of course) to physically surrender their all-powerful cell phones to him on a Thursday for safekeeping until class was in session the next Tuesday. Amazingly, a good number of the Gen Y kids were willing to take the challenge. And boy did they regret it by the time my father returned from his main residence in Scottsdale to teach at USC the next week.

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When interviewed in front of the class, the students talked about drug-like withdrawal symptoms including shaky hands, a feeling of emptiness and separation anxiety. They archived the effects and typed, tweeted and posted on Facebook right from class as if they had been starved for a week and then were presented with a luxurious buffet spread.

While its no secret that today's youth are hooked on the digital lifestyle including being constantly connected (even if not emotionally or physically connected), they highlight a growing problem in the world of specialty consumer electronics, home theater and AV convergence.

From BD-Live on our Blu-ray players to the gleaming applications that now come standard on our HDTVs to multi-player functionality on video games to Internet radio to firmware and software updates on AV gear to access for programmers - our AV systems have become fully dependant on the Internet. It's impossible to download movies, troubleshoot an installation or even research a review on or without the Internet. It turns out that home theater enthusiasts are hooked and completely dependent on the Internet too, and there are no signs of the need for connectivity letting up any time soon.

They say in The Program (meaning A.A.) that "accepting that you have a problem is the first step" and I think we are all past that point when it comes to the need for Internet in our lives, so now it's time to get down to some real-world solutions. One solution comes from my own personal system. Currently, I use Apple TV for distribution of uncompressed music from my large collection hosted on my Mac Pro tower running iTunes. I distribute that music via my local network to Apple TVs (both wired and wireless in most locations) and I use older versions of the device mainly because you can locally host some media. Granted the hard drives internally on the version 2 of Apple TV aren't big by today's standards (and can't be externally augmented with say, a Firewire drive) - you can host most of your playlists and the files for a good amount of music and or a few movies and/or TV series on that hard drive so that if your Internet or network goes down - you are not completely out of luck. Snapping up the old Apple TV units (version 2 - not the hockey puck-like new ones that only stream) is a good, affordable solution for many people's networks. For the more hardcore user - you can reportedly have a local computer store upgrade the internal hard drive to something larger which is an acquisition and upgrade I am likely do to for a few of my key Apple TV units.

Read more about the connection addiction on Page 2.
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