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.