A traditional way to call for a servant used to be a bell, sometimes on a cord by the master’s chair. Manual doorbells and speaking tubes were common in houses of the 1900’s – actually an acoustic tube extending from the front door to some location from which the homeowner could shout back and forth to visitors - the early intercom.
By the time electric lights were common, businesses had discovered the value of true wired intercoms, but it wasn’t until the ‘40s and 50’s that wired intercoms and internal home telephone communication became common even in wealthy homes.
But then it then took no time at all before “music over the intercom” became vogue, sharing tinny renderings from a central radio to several rooms. The state of the art in 1959 was an in-wall AM clock-radio with switches to turn on or off the music to individual rooms, while a talk lever enabled announcements to be sent throughout the home. Fancy units like this lovely orange number even had a jack on the front that let you play a phonograph into it, presuming you didn't mind a phonograph on the kitchen sink... not to mention changing the record every few minutes.
Next it was an 8-track tape player, then a cassette, a CD, and now even satellite music sources. Speakers and amplifiers have improved the sound, but the intercom model of entertainment distribution generally fails to satisfy any but the most background of music desires. Home owners liked the hidden equipment and widespread coverage. They missed the quality listening experience they had with a stack of components. The need to control sources and provide stereo sound worthy of foreground listening has largely driven entertainment distribution out of the intercom and into a separate system evolution.
When distributed music made it out on its own, it quickly diversified into flavors.
However, until recently,
multi-room distribution of more than music has been difficult and not
About Home Entertainment