The Future of Smart Music Systems

The Future of Smart Music Systems

Anthony Nguyen
Nov 19, 2010

We know more than a few audio aficionados out there who are wondering where the future of music systems in our homes. In an age where digital is king, where bytes are non-degradable, and where experiences can be replicated in nearly any living room, what can we say about the future that lies ahead?

There's a couple of directions smart music/multimedia systems can go in the next few years. Assuming everyone's got a dedicated home media server by then, our collections will be projected into the cloud and will be creating conversations in the social media space (think Ping, Boxee, etc.).

Recommendations will be mathematically catered to your tastes and in context of other media you've "Liked." Video will play an essential role in engaging personal mood preferences and will be 99% correct. Most of the time.

Like the industrialized nation that we are, we'll see mass production of not just devices, but entire experiences. No longer is a superior experience limited to a well-designed MP3 player, but households will be able to transform entire spaces into living, contextually aware, and personalized entertainment zones.

While this personalization is likely key to the success of such systems, we do recall a lovely quote from our readers via a discussion held a few months back discussing the next step after vinyl:

Reader giant robot stated his reasons for owning older media: "1) pride of ownership 2) paying for something physical that you can bring to a friends house, your car, share, whatever vs. paying the same price for digital content and having limited ownership over it 3) artform, packaging, presentation also tells a story. There are good points about collectivism and about the things we cherish. I think a nice library or presentation of media can say a little or lot about you and your space."

There is something definitely interesting and some would argue even, essential, from the tangible media age that still remains relevant even today. The question is, how do you feel any sense of ownership when everything's being done for you? When you can't touch or hold the music you're experiencing? When things can't be lost anymore and everything's re-downloadable? Will the same sense of pride of ownership and connoisseurship exist then?

If anyone wants to afford the solution we have pictured above, it's the Bang & Olufsen's BeoSound 5, which comes with a master control and a "black box" that houses all the PC and Web connections. It uses a "More of the Same" program which creates playlists from your existing music collection using math formulas. It's pretty close to what we're trying to get at, but not for $5,900 (plus $500 for the floor stand), we probably won't see it in our living rooms any time soon.

The other media player pictured is the Olive HiFi Music Server, which acts pretty much like the Sonos, allowing for wireless multi-room music enjoyment.

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