Having a one and a half year old bimbling around the place again means thinking about all the potential death traps in the house, and the latest one that my wife was worrying about was the potential of pulling the 37" TV off the table its standing on and onto herself.

So, after a minor diversion 1 , I picked up a wall-mounting bracket and fitted the TV to the wall.

Which left what I thought would be a reasonably straightforward task of tidying up the various cables to get the extra foot or two to get the now wall-mounted TV plugged in.

What I had underestimated was just how much cable spaghetti was hiding out of sight, and how tangled 18 months worth of occasionally moving cables around would leave everything.

I probably have more 'stuff' connected to my TV than most people – but I don't think its necessarily an unusual amount. (I posted about what I think a 'typical' household might have recently.)

This is a diagram of all the cables I have – power, video and internet. (Laid out more or less how they are in my living room.)

Living Room Schematic.png

Its complicated. That many plugs going into two power sockets on the wall probably isn't the safest it could be. And in the real world, all of those wires criss-crossing one another are a tangled mess – organising all of them was not a quick and simple task.

What I would like to see is something that would rationalise all of this stuff I have connected up. Is there a 'dream box' that could deal with that?

When people talk about the idea of an Apple TV, it tends to be either what they could do if they made a beautiful TV set with the Apple TV functionality, or what else the current Apple TV could do.

Well, right now there are two Apple boxes – a router and an Apple TV. Why not put them in the same box? Roll in a Time Capsule and an Apple TV in the same box and you've got a 'hub' for all the household's computers, internet and online video.

Next up – make it the 'hub' for A/V. My TV's remote control is effectively an on/off button and an input selector. Let this dream box do that job – let the TV people control their TV content (ie. unlike Google's approach) – just a handful of inputs2, a single HDMI output to the TV and an audio output to some speakers (whether thats something like a soundbar or a full on 7.1 surround system.)

The result would be turning what I have above into something like this;

Dream Box.png

With some additional inputs, there is plenty of space for additional games consoles, online video boxes (say, a Chromecast and a NowTV, or a Roku or whatever else), Blu Ray/DVD etc.

And thats without going into the really interesting space – how you design a user interface for whatever it is at the heart of the living room's entertainment system of the future.

  1. After buying a cheap bracket from Sainsburys, rated for 'up to 42" sets', I discovered that my TV's VESA measurements of 600x400 are unusual for a 37" set – more typical for a much larger set.

  2. Multiple HDMI cables are a real problem, and I can only assume its going to be more of an issue as technology gets more prevalent. One or two on a TV set is far from uncommon – although newer sets do seem to typically have 3 or 4. HDMI switchers are just an added level of hassle – either an additional remote control, or having to get up and switch inputs.