Going Digital to streamline your home – Part 1

Posted on 12/05/2017 by Nick Johnson
Going Digital to streamline your home – Part 1

Given that digital home entertainment exceeded physical in 2016 (in terms of home movie sales), it’s clear that the future is going to be streamed and downloaded. Apart from sheer convenience, there is another considerable benefit to the way our lives are going digital – space. Today, books, films, music, correspondence and filing do not need to take up any real space. If you use cloud-based technology, you don’t even need to factor in the space taken up by external hard-drives (having said that, it’s actually best to maintain your own backup drive and not rely exclusively on the cloud). If you live in a small flat, then the space-saving benefits of digital can make an even more pronounced difference. No more shelves heaving with weighty tomes and no more ugly CD jewel-case spines. Most of us, of course, subsist on a mix of digital and physical media and for some there are aesthetic benefits to holding on to books and vinyl; the spines (unlike with CDs and DVDs) are attractive and lend a room some atmosphere. And, in fact, in publishing, hard copies of books are experiencing some sales resilience, while e-readers such as the Kindle have peaked after experiencing initial growth spurts. Some point to the vinyl revival as another sign that our love affair with physical is far from over, but while that’s true, it’s also very much a niche market and not a sign that the journey to digital is genuinely reversing back to analogue.

Listening to music from your computer (or device)

As we navigate the transition, we’re bound to encounter some confusion. There are disadvantages to digital. The quality of music reproduction in the house is affected by a lot of variables. Are you, for example, listening to music on compressed MP3 files (or similar), CD-quality FLAC (or similar lossless audio) or high-res music files (24/96 or higher)? And what is the quality of the inbuilt digital-to-analogue converter in each of your music-playing devices? This, in particular, will have a profound affect on the sound quality and you may want to invest in a good external DAC to get rid of the harsh, excessively digital, flat, emotionless sound quality caused by a bad inbuilt one. Home computers, in particular, are not known for the calibre of their internal DACs, so you could be ruining the sound quality of your files by listening directly from your pc to some powered speakers.

 

There are countless other issues you’ll encounter in the journey out of physical media, so check back soon for further tips.