Allow me to take a little trip into the not-so-distant future and give you a glimpse of what IT in the home might look like in five years. It all revolves around the concept of the digital furnace.
Many years ago, my good friend Desmond Fuller needed a central file server for his house. He got a small-spec Qube system with a reasonably large hard drive, put it in his basement near the furnace, and named it "furnace." It became the center of his home network, handling storage, DNS, DHCP, and a variety of other tasks that at the time weren't readily available in production consumer-NAS boxes. Now, of course, you can go to Best Buy and pick up a home NAS with large disks for a good price that performs the same functions. But that's the way these things work -- the early adopters build it for themselves, and at some point, it becomes a product for the masses. His concept of the digital furnace, however, is key.
Make no mistake: IT concepts and technologies are already entrenched in many homes, in the form of routers, firewalls, NAS units, desktops, etc., but home IT will soon take on a whole new approach, and the digital furnace will be the center point.
Imagine a box mounted to the wall in your basement. It has a few terabytes of storage, either SSD or hot-swap hard drives in a RAID array. It has no monitor, only a Web-management interface and a serial console. It probably runs Linux using an ARM processor and has a gigabit NIC, optional cable/satellite tuners, and maybe a gigabyte of RAM.
This box is responsible for all the digital I/O in your house -- TVs, movies, music, even the phones. It interfaces with your ISP/phone company and runs a small PBX that controls the IP phones located throughout the house and handles the voice-mail system. Your cell phone is also a SIP client and uses your home network to make and receive calls when you're there, using cell service only when you're out of the house. There are no analog phone lines necessary for the home -- the phone lines are just a SIP trunk. It also interfaces with your ISP to handle all TV and movie selections.