TV, Internet, Telephone
Kitchen technology may sound like the blending of science and cooking but it refers to things like having a TV, PC or music in your kitchen. Technology also includes all of your household communications like telephone, intercom, and wired or wireless internet access.
While the kitchen is often the hub of any home, it doesn't need to be technology hub. That doesn't mean it shouldn't offer all of the services, it just shouldn't play host to all the wiring panels, hubs and equipment. The operational hub should be placed somewhere else in the home, such as a closet, basement, attic or similar accessible and out of the way space. The kitchen is already burdened with plenty of wiring and plumbing along with space being at a premium. If service or wiring issues occur, you don't want to disrupt the already busy kitchen with their repair. Enjoy the benefits of technology in your kitchen, but keep the infrastructure as simple as possible.
Television - If you wish to have television in your kitchen, you will need to wire for you antenna, cable or satellite signal feed. Also, if your service depends upon a decoder box to decode the signal or even to serve as the channel tuner, you will need to allow space for the box as well as the TV. While there are small TVs that can mount under a cabinet, the selection is very limited, prices tend to be high and the quality of some is poor. Instead consider a name brand LCD TV and mount it on an available wall or the backsplash. Another option is to install it inside a cabinet, or appliance garage so that it can be hidden when not in use. Be sure to orient it so that the open door will not block your view or interfere with the flow of your kitchen.
Music - Whether you install a whole house sound system, play music through a TV, set up an iPod in a docking station or listen to a simple clock radio, adding some music in a kitchen is a great way to enjoy music conveniently while you prepare a meal. A whole house system will require wiring (best down before drywall work) and in-wall or ceiling speakers. Other music systems can be placed on the countertop, inside a cabinet or inside a wall niche created for the purpose.
Telephone - Wiring a kitchen for a telephone is no longer essential because of the convenience of cordless phones or are even obsolete with the prevalence of cell phones. However, if you want your answering machine for your land line in the kitchen, then wiring a telephone for it will be necessary.
Intercom - Once popular, now somewhat quaint, intercoms do have the advantage of allowing you to communicate without shouting through the hallways. If you plan to install an intercom, telephone wire or network wire (Cat6) is typically used for the purpose.
Internet - Having a PC in the kitchen is not unusual anymore. In fact, more and more appliances and devices are becoming web-enabled. Just a few years ago, if you were planning a web enabled kitchen, it would have required hard wiring network cable such as Cat 6 to each device. Now, wireless networking has become so reliable and mainstream that the only planning that is typically required is to make certain that your kitchen is receiving a strong signal and if it isn't to add a node or repeater. However, in the interest of greatest reliability, it may be prudent to run one Cat 6 cable from your network to the kitchen, possibly to the same location that your TV connection is installed.
For more information on technology in the home and technology wiring, see Technology Wiring in our Electrical Section.