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How to set up your home theatre for a fast broadband future

There is so much to look forward to in Australia’s fast broadband future, but one medium leading the way is entertainment.

The nbn™ broadband access network is changing so much about the way we live our lives by providing access to fast broadband for Australians. Already halfway complete, it’s reinforcing what we can do in our modern world.

We now talk to an artificial intelligence as we would a friend, and expect it to understand who we are, what we do and what we want. We can educate our children with touch-enabled, interactive tablets that hold the world’s information within easy grasp. We can sell our products and skills to people all over the world from the comfort of our homes.

Entertainment leading the way

Few industries can claim to have been so instrumental in guiding people into the futuristic world of fast broadband than entertainment.

Be it film, music, TV, social media or video games, the entertainment industry has been at the tip of the internet spear since we first plugged in our homes two decades ago.

It’s the place where improvements in speed, efficiency and access are most easily seen, and most easily experienced by Australians.

Plus it’s so much fun, let’s be honest. One in three Australians now have Netflix; that’s truly incredible. 93% of Australian homes have a video game device, too. And we’ve also got the likes of Spotify, Foxtel, Tidal, YouTube, Stan, SoundCloud and so many more available to us at the touch of a button.

It’s the internet that unites them all and the more people who have access, the more that can be achieved.

If you’re looking to renovate your house, jazz up your man cave or otherwise turn a space in your home into a private entertainment colosseum, you can begin by contacting an RSP with an nbn™-powered plan in mind.

How is fast broadband changing entertainment media?

Two of the biggest barriers that improved broadband speeds are knocking down for the entertainment industry are the issues of access and size.

Access is about operating and enjoying entertainment media from wherever you are around the world or in your home. It’s about utilising streaming software, cloud-based storage solutions and home networks to keep your entertainment offerings always on hand.

Faster broadband also allows you to receive bigger files. This is important, because the better the quality of your entertainment, the larger the amount of data that needs to be sent.

Already we are at 4K resolution imagery and ATMOS surround sound, what will be next? To stream media of this quality without any distortion requires access to fast broadband.

How will we be entertained in the future?

Gazing into the crystal ball is a struggle everyone looking to futureproof their home theatre must face. However, if we look closely at the trends, we can get a good idea of where the industry is heading. Here is what you can expect:

  • 4K and ATMOS Surround Sound to Become Standard: As broadband speed continues to improve, your ability to enjoy ultra-high definition content will become the norm through streaming media services.
  • Online Connected Worlds: Through emerging technology like VR and AR, people will begin to spend more time in full or partial digital worlds, often with other people. For example, you could sit in a virtual stadium with other connected watchers enjoying a test match together. We will also see more interactive entertainment, where decisions on story elements, reality TV or on game shows will occur in real-time through audience participation.
  • AI Assist: Using voice commands, we will do more of our discovery of content and interaction with devices through AI assistants. Using machine-learning, these AI assistants will get exponentially better at understanding you as an individual, and your entertainment tastes and consumption patterns.
  • Multitasking: People will continue to look for opportunities to do more at once. As broadband speeds improve, we will consume entertainment on one device, while operating on another device through the same network at the same time in increasing numbers.
  • Rise of eSports: Competitive online gaming will continue to be an outlet not just for participation, but also entertainment. Future home theatres will need to be set up to be capable of both.

8 steps to help futureproof your home theatre

1. Data hub: Homes of the future will likely need a centralised data hub to power all their internet needs. This is where a plan over the nbn™ access network will connect to your home’s ‘smart brain’, and where it will then be distributed out to your home Wi-Fi and your devices. It’s through this central location that you will want to be able to play stored/downloaded media, and you may even want to zone your home so you can turn the speakers off and on in certain areas as required.

2. Ethernet ports everywhere: When you’re doing any major renovation or home build, you’re going to have to come up with an electrical plan. While your home Wi-Fi will be set up for maximum speed, for the optimal performance you want to keep devices wired. Ensure all locations where you might want your entertainment displayed – loungerooms, rumpus, study, bedrooms etc. – have multiple Ethernet ports for wired transfer of internet and HDMI delivered entertainment.

3. Set-up your router correctly: While your Network Termination Device (NTD) will most likely be the first port of call for the nbn™ access network when it reaches your home, it is your router that will create your Wi-Fi. Make sure you get a router that operates on the supported Wi-Fi bands. Then make sure it is placed correctly in your home to get the fastest possible speed.

4. Match your tech to your router: If you have the 802.11ac router, it’s of little use if the devices in your home theatre can’t receive that signal. So make sure your router and devices will 'speak the same language' for the best results.

5. 4K TV: If you’re getting a new TV or projector for your home theatre, make sure you get 4K or you will feel the need to upgrade within a couple of years.

6. Go big with ATMOS: The full ATMOS experience makes use of a 7.2.4 setup. That’s seven speakers in surround, two subwoofers and four speakers in the roof. It’s pretty incredible, giving you a full 3D sound, and if you’re looking at installing that many speakers, you might even want them embedded in the walls to keep them neatly tucked out of the way.

7. Plenty of space: With VR and full-body motion controls set to become more popular, you need to ensure your home theatre has the space available for you to stand up and move about while in a virtual world.

8. Fast broadband: Last, but not least, you’re going to need the right broadband plan to suit your needs. That will make sure all that great entertainment is getting to your new home theatre on demand and at the highest quality. Speak to your RSP about what plan is right for you.

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