In this space, I’ve talked many times about my music enjoyment woes. In “What Happened to the Music?” I lamented the fact that a pure musical experience in the living room might soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the inevitable demise of high-definition physical media and the rise of low-def MP3s. And in “3 Ways to Stream Whole-house Audio from the Cloud,” I wrote about how to take advantage of a new digital music future, but I’ve never been entirely comfortable with this future of music.
Despite the ubiquity of the iPod and iTunes, I’ve never fully bought into Apple’s hold on the digital music scene. Sure, we’ve had several iPods—many versions, in fact—in our house, and they’re great little devices. We all have our separate iTunes accounts, and I try valiantly to keep everyone’s account updated with cover art and accurate album information, but in our Windows-centric connected home, iTunes is notoriously buggy. The latest version of iTunes is a step backward in usability, doing away with the snazzy cover flow and introducing a new bug that won’t display some downloaded cover art. I find myself spending far too much time tinkering with separate iTunes accounts that don’t play well with Windows 7, the OS that’s more omnipresent throughout our house.
We’ve had this disconnect in the music component of our connected home for years—ever since the first iPod entered our home. We have excellent individual devices with which to enjoy our music, but the software back end is terrible with no sense of convergence, automation, or coherence.
The situation would be different if ours was an Apple household, of course. Apple TV and Apple Airport Express would let me implement a whole-house audio solution that we could enjoy through our iPods, an iPad (should we choose to invest in one of those), and could connect to our existing living room AV implementation. And this is a viable solution for those types of connected homes, for sure, as is Apple’s Airplay. Some third-party AV receivers even offer Airplay connectivity built-in. But as much as people love Apple gadgets, the Apple whole-home back end isn’t catching on in a big way. In my home, it will never catch on.
(Read the rest at Residential AV Presents: Connected Home.)