High-Tech Highlights from HGTV Smart Home 2016

From entertainment systems to home automation, learn about high-tech features that makes life easier.


Photo by: Eric Perry

Eric Perry

By: Peter Walsh

HGTV Smart Home 2016 is filled with technological features that will enable the homeowner to control the heating, air conditioning, window blinds and drapes, audio and visual components, lighting and more with at the touch of a button from a smart phone or tablet, explains Scott Branscom, project manager. “What makes this a smart home is that there is an integration of a wireless system that controls many aspects of the home,” he says. Plus it’s easy to use.

It’s a traditional looking home from the outside. We don’t want to change the way people want to live so the technology is in the background.
Carley Knobloch, Tech Consultant

Starting with the front door, a smart dead bolt unlocks for the homeowner automatically or with a smart digital key. When leaving the house, a press of a button on an app on a phone will turn out the lights and lock the door. Even the garage door can be controlled by an app.

Under Construction

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The security system is wireless and was easy to install, says Knobloch. Double sided tape attaches the sensors to the windows and doors so no drilling or wiring is required. “It sets up in seconds,” says Knobloch. “It can be controlled by a key panel, keychain or an app.” Glass break sensors, motion detection sensors and even freeze and leak sensors that can detect harmful plumbing problems can all be monitored from whereever you are via a smart device, she says.

The home has smart thermostats that are integrated to the automatic window shades and drapes as well. “The house learns your habits,” explains Knobloch. “When you are away, it turns the heat down,” she says.

The window coverings can also be programed to lower or raise at a certain time of day depending on your preference. For example, if too much sun is coming in, it will spike the air conditioning to lower the temperature. By closing the blinds or drapes, the a/c is modulated. This is helpful to control the HVAC system and save money on heating and cooling bills.

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The skylights in the home have the same capability. Attached blinds powered by solar panels, open and close depending on the amount of sunlight entering the home. Ceiling fans on the outdoor covered patio have sensing gauges that can be programed to increase or decrease the rate of their spin depending on the weather.

In the kitchen, charging stations are hidden in drawers so smart devices such as phones and tablets can be juiced up. Motion sensor faucets were installed at the sinks. In the master bath, a TV is hidden behind the vanity mirror. Turned on, it appears in the glass to be viewed from the bath, shower or sinks.

In the second floor nursery, a smart humidifier and nightlight help regulate the air and illumination. A monitor for the crib is accessed through an app so you can keep an eye on the baby.

There are wireless access points (WAP) on every floor, says Knobloch. The router is in the basement so the access points extend the range of connectivity for streaming media, surfing the web and for all internet connections.

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The smart features extend into the exercise room on the lower level of the home. The treadmill, stationary bike and elliptical machine all have a fully functional tablet built in. “You can plot a run anywhere in the world,” says Knobloch. Visual mapping screens allow you to run a course in Cape Town, South Africa or Monterey Bay, California, she says. Terrain information comes from an app that can increase or decrease the incline on the equipment.

In the media room,  a huge home theater system with an integrated audio system that runs throughout the house, allows for a true movie theater experience. “One press of a button lowers the shades, dims the lights and starts the movie,” says Knobloch. A tech closet behind the lower level stairs houses the central hub for the homes integrated system. “All the stuff is wired to live in one place,” says Knobloch.

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