HomeConnex: A Capital Idea to Wire Your Home
Posted February 18, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — Remember what life was like before the remote control? Now, one little box has the potential to be as big a deal. A triangle inventor developed a way to connect all the electronic devices in your home to your TVs.
"In my house, I've wanted one of these so bad," said John Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie wanted one so bad he invented one. What makes the box so special is that it can link your computer, VCR, video games, satellite receiver and more with not just one TV but every TV in your house. It's called HomeConnex.
"Initially, I was in my living room, and I was watching a tape, and I was getting tired and wanted to finish seeing the movie in the bedroom. I said it sure would be nice to be able to move that tape into the bedroom," said Dinwiddie.
You can now move the tape, so to speak, without buying another VCR.
Hook the box from your TV to the cable outlet, and choose a channel for each device, for example, channel 19 for yourSony PlayStation.
Even though it is hooked up on the TV in your child's room, you can play the game on any TV in the house set to channel 19.
Steve McConaughey is the product line manager for the company paying to develop Dinwiddie's invention.
"Now our Sony Play Station happens to be in our back lab which is a hundred feet, but I'm still able to start playing the game here. I can control it," said McConaughey.
Do the same for your PC. Set up a channel, and using a remote mouse, check your E-mail without leaving your couch.
"So you simply do a quick click on E-mail, or click on the button that allows you to surf the web," said McConaughey.
If you already haveWebTV, you can hook that up to do pretty much the same but not just on one TV. You can network it to use it on every TV in the house.
HomeConnex also allows you to watch each move your child makes on the Internet while you are in another room.
"And now that we've finished developing it, we took one home and installed it. All of a sudden our picture is better than we've ever seen it before, and my wife now is a fan," said Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie spent 30 years atIBM. But now he's come home, and this is retirement.
"This is my new hobby. The company is paying me to watch television, and it's taken me 30 years to get into that position. Quite a job," said Dinwiddie.
HomeConnex will be available by the summer in audio and video stores for about $300.
It could be in big electronics stores by the end of the year.