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20 Best Home Technology Breakthroughs of Past 20 Years

A look at the 20 technologies that have shaped the CE industry in the last two decades.


Without early DLP products such as this, we would hardly recognize today’s home technology landscape.

The industry has been busy in the 20 years since the dawn of CE Pro.

The 20 home technology breakthroughs have been commercialized or popularized since 1993 and are innovations that really drove our industry forward.

Click through the photo gallery to see our Top 10 list.

Here are the technology breakthroughs that fell just short of cracking our Top 10 but still have had a major impact on the industry.

Lutron Radio Ra: wireless lighting
Runco Arc IV Aspect Ratio Controller: widescreen projection, management
Home Automation Inc. (HAI) 1503: integrated automation, security
Unity Systems Home Manager: touchscreen-based automation, energy cloud-based home security
Escient Fireball: music and movie management
Sonance, SpeakerCraft: in-wall speakers (marketed by Sonance, made by SpeakerCraft)
Netflix: DVD delivery, streaming
TiVo: DVR/time-shifted content
X10: powerline carrier technology

What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments.

View the 10 photos attached to this entry
20 Best Home Technology Breakthroughs of Past 20 Years

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Article Topics

News · Slideshow · Displays · Video · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Security · Wire and Cable · HDMI · TVs · All topics

9 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by jbrown  on  04/10  at  03:29 PM

Pretty sure this is not a picture of a DLP rear-pro TV. Looks like a CRT rear pro.

Posted by Jeff Hipps  on  04/10  at  04:33 PM

Yes, HDMI was monumental.  But, in my mind, for ceding control of your entertainment space to the content providers and not for cable elimination.

Posted by Jeff Hipps  on  04/10  at  04:38 PM


Posted by sgreene  on  04/10  at  04:39 PM

Kudos to Westinghouse (??) and Fujitsu for LCD’s in the early 90’s????? That one you’re going to have to explain.  Sharp pioneered the LCD TV in the 90’s literally creating the category for everyone else.  In fact their LCD trailblazing began in the 70’s with the first LCD calculators.  Explain what is a mystery to me in your choice or, get your facts straight please.

Posted by Jeff Hipps  on  04/10  at  04:42 PM

While X-10 was an interesting technology and allowed for early home automation, I think its impact pales compared to WiFi.

Posted by jbrown  on  04/10  at  05:19 PM

I agree with Jeff Hipps, how can it be that WiFi and/or ZigBee are not on this list?

Posted by Jeff Kussard  on  04/25  at  12:28 PM

Maybe because WiFi and ZigBee are technologies and not brands?

What about digital? Digital audio, digital video, digital comms and control?

Posted by Dave Ross  on  06/04  at  05:37 AM

I still service some 1503 units and some Unity Home Managers!

(Didn’t see Soundstream in there…  Have a few of those still operating too!)

The clients “don’t want to fix it if it isn’t broken”.

I also have two of the Unity UC systems, which was ushered in and out by Honeywell (though you’d be hard pressed to get them to admit it)

Being the son of a TV man, installing 8-track in cars on the side, has given me an inside look and understanding of what is most important in the world of electronics; the dealer interface-the grease on the gears between machines and people.
If they don’t feel like the “Master” then the machines are “revolting”. To quote Unity, ownership changes based upon operation;  when it works, they “love their system”, when it doesn’t, “your system sucks”.

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