Friday, December 31, 2004

My Audio Manifest

I want to own music. That is, I want to buy the right to listen to titles anywhere and as long as I want. I want to have the right and technical possibility to copy this music on any medium I deem fit for my listening demands. Owning music implies that I can listen to this music until I die, not until my DRM license expires or the format I bought the music on gets unsupported by the world.

I have several places, where I want to listen to music (that includes albums FM and internet radio):
  • In my living room
  • In my bedroom
  • In my kitchen
  • In my bathroom
  • In my car
  • On my bike
  • At work
I don't think that an iPod or a computer running iTunes 24/7 can satisfy all my demands. My audio focus is not mobile. An iPod could help, but it is not audio nirvana for me.

I think the following four componets could bring me closer to audio nirvana:
  • An audio hub. This could be a computer running a rendezvous server like iTunes, but it could be something like my Pioneer receiver. It would could contain a harddisk to store the music library and a WLAN interface to stream music to other parts of the flat. It might or might not have a UI of its own. An important fact is, that I want to be able to control this from other parts of the flat, as if I was sitting directly before it (making playlists, browsing the library, making ratings, etc.)
  • WLAN audio satellites in every room. These can be a "WLAN to Chinch" bridges like AirTunes or a active speaker with a WLAN receiver build in or a classical AV receiver with WLAN. They can have a UI (display and buttons), but don't need one necesarrily because of:
  • WLAN remote. This could look something like a Philips SBC RU 865 or a Philps Pronto.
  • Mobile audio player. Now this could be a iPod. But don't know how well it would do in my car.
On these devices, I have some demands:
  • Easy sync. If I rate a song with five stars at work, I want that rating everywhere. If I import a song at home, I want that song at work as easy as possible.
  • Easy UI. If I listen to music from my bathtub, I don't want to go to the computer to change the song. I might not want to create playlists from the bathtub but it would be nice to rate a song from the bathtub :-)
  • Plug and play. It must be easy to set up a secure WLAN network with all these compontents.
These technologies I would use:
  • MP3 and AAC for audio compression
  • WLAN for networking
  • Shoutcast for push and Rendozvous for pull
  • http for anything that cannot be covered by the above
Voila, there is NOT ONE SINGLE NEW technolgy needed to create my audio nirvana. Just add goodlooking devices with good UI. Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive, do you read this? Could you please create a "audio receiver"? I know, it will look unlike anything on the market and it will work differently than anything on the market, but could you please build an audio receiver? I hate my Pioneer AV receiver and I could help. I really would like to help. Please?

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