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What Is the Cloud? And What Does It Have to Do With Your Home Systems?

June 18, 2012 | Comments

If you've used a computer or surfed the Internet recently, you have likely encountered the term, "the cloud" or read about "cloud computing."

This term refers to storing or streaming data or information remotely - in "the cloud" - and then using the Internet to access and retrieve this information.

Storing information in the cloud has its distinct advantages:

  • Free up local storage. By storing the data remotely, it takes up no space on local hard disk drives.
  • Easily share. With data stored in the cloud, it is easy to share and disseminate information between many people or between a variety of locations. Files are accessible from anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet.
  • Back up your files.The cloud also serves as protection for your precious data. Backing up information at an off-site location where it can't be damaged or lost due to any fire, flood, theft or virus that may strike your local storage adds peace of mind. If you have ever had that flash of panic and thought, "Did I just lose all of my pictures/music/files?!" then you can imagine how comforting it can be to be able to retrieve and restore all of that data with just a few mouse clicks.

The cloud also offers benefits for home entertainment systems. Why be limited to your personal library of CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays when you can access millions of songs and thousands of movies and TV shows? By tapping into content stored remotely in the cloud, you can experience a near-infinite level of entertainment options.

By streaming content from the cloud - i.e., playing content from a continuous "stream" without storing it locally onto a hard drive - you have access to a nearly unlimited number of music and movie options. There are several paid music services, including Rhapsody or Sirius/XM, as well as paid movie services, such as Vudu and Netflix. There are also many free music services, such as Pandora and Spotify, and thousands of Internet radio stations and podcasts from around the world. On the video front, YouTube holds millions of videos, and many popular TV shows can be watched for free.

Streaming from the cloud offers virtually limitless entertainment options and is one of the hottest trends in home audio/video systems.

To learn more about having a cloud-capable whole-house entertainment system with the latest features installed in your home, search for a local qualified CEDIA member home technology professional near you.