The Home Computer has the Potential to do a Lot More Than Ever Before

It has not been all that long since home computers were somewhat of a novelty, mostly used for word processing and the occasional game of solitaire. Then, with the advent of the internet and social media home computer ownership has flourished as most of us now rely on the internet to stay in touch.

The Humble Home Computer

Since then, the home computer has been taking an ever more central role our homes. Improved broadband services have led to a greater variety of online applications. Wireless technology has also resulted in tremendous flexibility.

The home computer is no longer just for word processing, email and gaming. When you are looking to buy a new home PC you want it to be able to take advantage of as broad a range of features as possible. There are some key features you will want to keep in mind when making a new purchase.

Streaming

A major development that has come out of the internet revolution has been the creation of streaming services like Netflix. Other online video channels like You Tube have also become more developed, with programs, documentaries and even movies with increasingly higher quality production becoming available.

Many traditional channels such as the BBC and Channel 4 also have their own on-demand services available online. All of this means that the quality and volume of online entertainment is good and getting better. The relatively low cost of these services means many people use it in addition to normal cable services while others have replaced cable with it completely.

The main feature you will want for easy connectivity is a HDMI port. This will allow you to plug your desktop PC or laptop directly into your HD television.

The other feature you will want to consider is the computer’s broadband capabilities. While your ISP may not be providing you with HD streaming bandwidth yet many companies are currently rolling out high capacity fiber optic lines.

A standard Ethernet port will provide you with enough capacity for High Definition streaming but if you want to do away with wires make sure you have the faster 5GHz Wi-Fi capability.

For real movie buffs a PC can be a cost effective way to watch Blu-Ray DVDs. An Additional Blu-Ray drive in a PC will typically be far less expensive than a standalone player.

If you are a hi-definition addict you might want to consider a video card for seamless viewing. Most modern PCs and Laptops come with adequate integrated video acceleration but check that it will meet your requirements particularly for watching Blu-Ray and other high resolution video.

Video Calling

Online voice calls are another great feature from the future that the internet has brought to the present. Services like Skype let us stay in touch with far flung friends and family for less as well as carrying out video calls.

The main piece of equipment you will need is a webcam. They vary in price and quality. A good quality HD webcam will give you high definition video calls where you have fast enough broadband.

As with high quality streaming you will need Ethernet connectivity or 5Ghz wireless.

It is really a revolutionary technology that is already very simple to implement. You could talk to cousins in America or an aunt in Australia, not just over the phone but speaking to you face to face on the living room television.

Wireless Home

It is not just the internet that your PC can connect to wirelessly. Most peripherals such as printers and scanners can now be connected to without wires. This makes things a lot simpler and a lot tidier in the house.

Rather than having different printers for each computer or having to use one computer for all printing ,a wireless printer can be located in a central room in the house and receive printing jobs from any pc, laptop, tablet or smartphone in the house.

There are a few different options for wireless printing but the simplest is via Bluetooth connectivity. Make sure both your printer and PC have Bluetooth functionality. You can also purchase Bluetooth dongles to connect them if Bluetooth is not built in.

While word processing and emailing may be your main reasons for purchasing a new PC, with the right peripherals and features that same PC can become a centre for entertainment, productivity and communication in the home.

photo credit: Stijn Vogels via photopin cc

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Posted in Computers

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