Thoughts on CES 2009 – Has the Connected Digital Home Finally Arrived?

It’s interesting reading the stories coming out of CES. Most focus on the length of the cab lines, but what I really found fascinating from my perusal of the floor is how the consumer electronics world is becoming truly “connected.” Now I use the obligatory quotes around “connected” because in the past the word has been over-used to depict the vision for the home of the future, or the Connected Digital Home.

For me, the great news coming out of CES is that it is really happening, and it’s happening in an incremental, practical way without the consumer really even realizing it. Virtually all new blue-ray players have ethernet jacks. LG has a TV allowing you to connect to the Internet and stream movies. Gaming consoles are connected to the Internet so that you can stream movies or play on-line with people around the world. Samsung has a set-top box that streams movies and Pandora and sells with a 2.1 virtual surround sound system – all very impressive. So in the not-so-distant future, it will be impossible for consumers to buy entertainment electronics that are not connected to the Internet. This is where the Squeezebox comes in.

The Squeezebox is your connected music player. It replaces your traditional radio because you can get local radio on the Squeezebox; it replaces your CD player or iPod doc because it streams all your music you own (including iTunes-purchased music now that Apple is DRM-free, but I will elaborate more on that in another blog post); and it replaces your satellite music player for services such as Sirius or other specialty music services because the Squeezebox plays them all – including Pandora, Last.fm, Rhapsody, Deezer, Slacker, etc.

So my take-away from CES is that (whether we know it our not) we are all well underway to living in a connected home with our entertainment driven from the Internet and delivered conveniently to our living-room sofa, kitchen countertop or bedside table. It is making life incredibly cool.

Author

Vice President and General Manager, Streaming Media Systems

2 comments

  • ” the Squeezebox plays them all – including Pandora, Last.fm, Rhapsody, Deezer, Slacker, etc. ”

    ONLY IF YOU LIVE IN THE U.S.! Is there any progress in bringing Last.fm to the livingrooms on the European continent??

    • My apologies to our European friends. You are right. Not all services are available everywhere. Last.fm is available in the UK and Germany. We are working closely with them to expand their coverage. We just announced last month that we now have available Deezer smart radio and Web radio available in France, UK and Germany. It is a fantastic service with a lot to offer. We are working on more pan-European partnerships that I cannot disclose now, but please be assured, the European continent is extremely important to us and we have people dedicated to continuing to improve the service offering. And as you likely know, all Squeezeboxes are immediately updated with new services as soon as they become available. So instead of your Squeezebox becoming out of date, it just gets better and better.

      Best regards,
      Robin

  • Will the Squeezebox access radio stations through Hughes Satellite Internet? If not, will it work through DiectTV? We have both, but not cable or DSL internet connections.
    Thanks
    James

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