Moving into a new home comes with a lot of decisions. Which furniture to move and what to buy? Getting quotes and deciding on window coverings. Navigating the myriad of communication and Internet options. And today, considering smart home tech.
Well we're buying a house, and in the midst of all those decisions. Here's what's on our list for our upcoming move.
Internet is a key utility in the connected house. We stream a ton of entertainment and I work from home, so we need fast, reliable connectivity.
In our new home, we had really only one viable choice: our local cable company. Naturally, they want to bundle voice, television and internet but we opted for the basic internet-only service.
One expense that you won't see on their website is the monthly rental fee for the cable modem, but you can provide your own. In our case, they wanted to charge $7.95/month to rent a cable modem, but I purchased the same model from Amazon for $48.95 — the ARRIS Touchstone Cable Modem. Owning pays for itself in just over six months.
While many cable modems also include router functionality, I wanted to check out the eero wifi system. It promises dead-easy setup, top-notch control via their iOS or Android apps, and strong performance even from the furthest corners of your home, a real consideration especially in a multi-story home.
Sadly, because it's a new house the cable company has to schedule an “engineering check” to make sure everything is ready to go, and they can't do that until we close. Once the check is complete, then they can schedule the installation, but need an additional week.
Television and Media
The design of our home incorporates a space for a television above the fireplace — really the only place to put a TV in the great room. I'm planning to get something like this Samsung 60″ LED television and mount it on the wall with an articulating arm from Mounting Dream. This will let us tilt and swivel the screen to suit our needs. This pairs with the Sonos PLAYBAR — an astounding speaker system that I've been hooked on since getting a PLAY:1.
Making a Home Smarter
Joan and I are both thoroughly plugged into the Apple ecosystem. I've used some of the connected apps on TVs, but prefer the simplicity of Apple TV — even with the lack of Amazon Prime video. Apple TV also acts as the hub for Apple HomeKit — their version of home automation. So a basic 4th-generation Apple TV will be part of our system, mounted on the backside of the flat-screen.
What else to add smarts to? With a busy travel schedule, I love the concept of keeping tabs on things when I'm on the road, so here's what we've cooked up:
We're adding an August Smart Lock and the accompanying August Connect WiFi Bridge at the entry. This lets us allow access to the home via an app, and see who comes and goes (and when). It works with Apple HomeKit and offers some interesting features like automatically unlocking the door for you when you get home, and locking it when you leave. And you can even use a plain old key, too.
To keep eyes on things inside, we will use the Canary Home Security system. This detects movement and can automatically record if someone is in the house when they shouldn't be.
Those are the first steps. As budget permits, we're looking at adding the Ecobee 3 wifi thermostat, the Chamberlain MYQ Garage Door Opener and Lutron lighting controls. All of these provide compatibility with Apple HomeKit, and often several other systems.
The Unconnected Appliances
Not everything in our new basecamp will be wired up and connected. The home comes with all of the kitchen appliances, but will still need to buy a washer and dryer. There are connected appliances that will notify you when your clothes are dry or if the washer is ready to empty, they come at a premium price that just isn't worth the squeeze yet.
We're going with something closer to middle-of-the-road: the LG Front-control Laundry Pair. While they don't connect to the net, they are highly rated at actually cleaning and drying your clothes, which is pretty much the point.
We will be setting up the new abode this month, and will report back with details as we go.
Do you have any smart home tips or tricks to share? Let me know in the comments below.
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