Why i hate digital media? Part 2

Lets give a quick summary from the previous installment before we go on. Basically due to problems of tangibility people do not respect digital media and have trouble managing it. This means digital media will not stray far from the PC. However for digital media to really become main stream it will need to skip the PC middleman.
So now lets have a quick look to see where we are today with some “post-pc era” products.
Philips Media Centre HTS

This is the second product in Philip’s foray into the digital media center home entertainment system (HTS). Looks pretty good. If we used the first version as a basis for discussion , the system has a lot of functions (internet surf, Mp3, Movies, photos etc.) and can almost be seen as a normal “PC” media centre converted into an interior object. Sort of a more lifestyle version of Mac-mini. However as they removed alot of the interface devices like keyboard or mouse, you would still need the help of a PC to get and manage the information in the system. That being said you should be able to rip music from your CD directly into the built in harddrive.
The system also streams, via Wi-Fi, digital media content to other small “waystations” that you could put anywhere in the house. However if its anything like the first generation system I reciently saw, it suffers for Wi-Fi drop out which leaves the user wondering if he pressed the right button or not.
Conclusion: Still needs a little help from the PC.
Squeezebox by Slim Devices

Easy to use and set up—It takes just a few minutes to install: simply load SlimServer, our powerful and free Open Source software, onto your computer and connect the player to your network. Squeezebox automatically configures itself and is ready to use.

Nice design and a cool package. But in terms of post-pc product, its not quiet there yet. This system basically plays off the computer’s content, and can be thought off as an extension of a PC. Nice idea, but it assumes you have some knowledge of the PC environment, as you need to set it up. After that the device can connect your MP3 on your pc’s harddrive to any other device in the house.

Conclusion: A cool but complex PC add on.
B&O Beo4

The Beo4 is a CD player, FM radio and has an SD slot. If you’d like DAB radio, you can get it factory fitted as an option. B&O says this is the first audio system of its kind to be able to record music from a radio or CD to the SD without a computer

From the Gizmondo rumour mill. If this product is true and sold, it will be one of the few, that actually focuses on the creation of digital media, and playing it thru removable media. Another one is the Teac CR-H255. As it has no harddrive in the specifications or PC connections, we can assume the system it targeted to people who have the original CDs, andwant to digitize your collection.
I like this format because I can mange my collection via flash memory chips and the ability to move it around to various other devices, if necessary, like say the Beo3 clock radio (left image). The downside, is it looks to be only a task specific music system (a start of a trend?), and probably not play Divx. Take a look at the Beomedia 1 for that visual media angle.
Conclusion: Targets non-music downloaders, but music-downloaders can find a place too.
Roku Soundbridge Radio

Internet Radio – Listen to thousands of free Internet radio stations from around the world – one-touch access to talk, jazz, rock, pop or your old home town favorite! You do not need a computer to listen to Internet radio; you just need broadband and a Wi-Fi home network.

This is currently the closest product we can get for avoiding the pc middle man. This internet radio, connects directly with out a computer. Notice also its a pretty task specific product, and it does the job well.
Conclusion: As close as it gets, but as expected it suffers from limited scope.
Ok, thats it for today, stay tuned for the next digital media installment where we look at a little more of the aspects of ditigal media that influences the human psyche.
On to part 3.

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