Should you buy a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One?

You may have heard the hype about the next generation of gaming PS4consoles. This Friday Sony launches the PlayStation 4 ($399) and Microsoft will release Xbox One ($499) on Nov. 22. Gamers probably have already decided which one they’re getting, and the hard core ones are likely buying both as they have exclusive games that they just can’t miss out on. The question for average home owners is more toward should they get one at all?

XBox OneThe decision was similar at first with the last round of consoles. The PS3 offered a Blu-ray player and full media streamer at the same cost of a standalone Blu-ray player (remember this was before ubiquitous Apple TVs and smart TVs). The Xbox 360 had a HD DVD player and streaming capabilities too. When the Blu-ray format beat HD DVD, non gamers had a pretty straight forward decision. And those who just wanted a simple, fun gaming box bought a Nintendo Wii.

This time around both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One offer incredible performance for gaming enthusiasts. For the rest of us, its the other stuff like media playing and home integration that matters, and well, that’s unknown at this time. So we can sit back and let time determine which is the best console for our homes. What we have, if anything, will hold us for quite a while longer. Both Microsoft and Sony want to intertwine themselves into our lives, so there should be some cool entertainment offerings on the home tech front. Stay tuned.


Case Study: PNE Waterfront Townhouse Gets Savvy

This fun and hip urban couple wanted seamless home tech in their new townhome.  As often is the case, although the home was recently built, it wasn’t well thought out for home tech. The plan was to smarten up the home while maintaining a modest budget. For this project, we worked with Tamara of Philosophy Design to realize the couple’s vision.

The tech updates had three focus areas; the living room, master bedroom and office/spare room. The overarching principles for this update were simplicity, clean lines and minimized tech footprint. As with any update, it was also important to provide a home network to connect all the gear.

The home’s living room is an ideal entertaining hub as it flows from the dining room and
Living Room - TV & sound barkitchen. Here we mounted an awesome and affordable Panasonic 58” TV and Harman Kardon sound bar over the fireplace. The other gear was discretely tucked away in the funky console and the wireless subwoofer hidden. This was nicely tied together with a Harmony remote. Now the homeowners can watch TV, stream from their Apple TV or listen to music from their smartphones throughout the ‘great room’.

Master bedroom - mounted TV & sound barThe master bedroom has similar functionality. A Panasonic 42” TV is tidy on the wall with a matching sound bar. Again the TV set top box and Apple TV were hidden away, but this time on a tiny shelf in the walk-in closet behind the TV.

The office space, which also doubles as a spare room, has similar touches with another Panasonic TV and sound bar. A PS3 was desired instead of an Apple TV, so the PS3 and TV set top box were again tucked away in the closet.

We used the office as the hub for wired and wireless networking. The building developer had put the TV, phone and networking panel in the ground floor entry room. This would have been fine, but unfortunately only one networking wire was installed when originally built! Luckily it went to the office/spare room, so we used this to branch out the Internet connection. Desk power & EthernetPhysical network wiring in the office maximized performance there, and we put an excellent Wi-Fi access point to ensure solid Internet access for all the homeowners’ wireless gadgets through the living area. When it’s time to get some work done, a handy grommet is built into the office desk providing power and wired Internet.

Nest learning thermostat & Power2U AC/USB wall outlet A few thoughtful touches round out the home. A Nest Learning Thermostat provides simple temperature home automation including smartphone control while away. Combination USB and power outlets were installed in the kitchen and bedroom for i-device charging convenience

This home tech update provides streamlined TV, music and Internet experiences the savvy couple wanted without breaking the bank. As they just welcomed twin girls into the world, it will also provide a solid base to grow as their digital demands expand.