This page provides a topical index to material on this website covering integrators or "broadband plumbers" -- a phrase we coined to describe the development of a new industry focused on installing and maintaining broadband infrastructure, devices and applications for builders and end users.
Articles are listed below ordered by date of the newsletter they appeared in--newest to oldest.
Media and Broadband In Our Condo: Some Answers, More Questions (BBHR 3/6/2006)
Between August 2005 and January 2006, we completely remodeled our condo, tearing out some walls and installing new wiring throughout. This was a perfect opportunity to consider what wiring and systems we should install to support networked media and communications--video, audio, data and telephone services--both for now and for the future. We uncovered some answers--and more questions.
Here's an update on transforming our Sanibel retreat to prepare for the digital future. Setting up broadband and wireless networking for multiple PCs was trivial compared to all the decisions that had to be made in choosing cabling and equipment for both analog and digital audio and video. With many things in transition, like the move toward digital TV and the lack of a two-way CableCard, we've made our best guesses at how to future proof what we're putting in the walls.
We're into the second phase of preparing our Florida condo for the digital future. As part of a complete remodeling, we're pulling new wires through the walls and installing new video, audio, data and telephone equipment and services. We found it isn't easy to decide what to do in the midst of the transition from analog to digital media.
We went to EH Expo earlier this month and were surprised at first by how little has changed in the two years since we last went to this show. While IP-based home networking dominates the planning of the PC and consumer electronics industries, most vendors and integrators at EHX still think in terms of proprietary products and single-purpose networks. The move toward openness, integration and more use of IP communications seems inevitable, and we did see a few "points of light".
The long heralded marriage of the PC and the TV is on the horizon; products enabling a cozy relationship are here today. Digital Media Adapters (DMAs) and their relatives are now undergoing a wave of experimentation and innovation to find the features, functions and pricing for devices that bridge the PC and home entertainment. Standards are on the horizon. While confusing today, winners will emerge; this category has a bright future.
We're busy getting some audio and video clips so that those of you who won't be able to take the "Connected by Design Tour" at the Las Vegas showhouse will be able to share some of the experience. Equipment and services from many of our readers' companies will play a big part in the tour.
Did you ever wish you could start something over from scratch? We're doing the next best thing, by being able to choose from the newest broadband products, services and infrastructure available today and integrate them into a beautiful house designed by a leading lifestyle writer and architect. The result is "Connected by Design", a showhouse that will be in Las Vegas during CES and the International Builders Show this January.
If you are planning to attend CES or NAHB's IBS in Las Vegas this January, please stop by and visit us. We're planning and hosting the "connected" aspects of a showhouse. Contact us if you'd like to show a broadband-related product or service.
We responded to one of our readers who wrote to ask our view of the market potential for broadband plumbers.
More on Broadband Plumbers -- Interviews With SaVoyant, Intelligent Home and Homesync (BBHR 4/23/2002)
Our recent articles on "broadband plumbers" generated a lot of email and we followed up to interview the CEOs of three companies that have different twists on the business. SaVoyant focuses on the ultra-high end of the market, Intelligent Home works closely with the cable operator to retrofit existing homes and HomeSync works with production builders.
Report on Electronic House Expo -- Window Blinds, Central Vacuums and Home Networking (BBHR 4/2/2002)
Imagine what it's like to keep up with the latest advances in systems as diverse as home security, computer networking, central vacuums and energy management. That's the tall order being taken on by home system integrators. In our trip to EHX and follow-up visits, we saw how companies are targeting the mass market, the high end and new construction. We also got the scoop on similarities and differences between product suppliers, and got some glimpses of the future of audio and video networking.
We've written before about the need for "broadband plumbers" to provide and support broadband networks in the home. So we were delighted to visit with e house, a Florida company providing these services for new homes in seven cities in Florida and South Carolina.