Whether you're thinking about home entertainment or any number of variations on the home-automation theme, the first step is to arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. The possibilities are exciting and run the gamut from a whole-house music system to a full-blown smart home you can monitor and control from any PC or mobile device.
Then it becomes a question of capabilities, features, performance and budget. If we're talking entertainment, do you want to stream music and movies from the cloud or build a local library? Is a home theater featuring big-screen HDTV and surround sound in the cards? Will decent quality sound and images do the trick or do you crave performance that sends chills down your spine? If you want automation, will the system include lighting, heating and cooling, security? It's time to start answering those questions.