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AV Education on RHT

Is Convergence Finally Upon Us?

Written by Jerry Del Colliano

Convergence is the buzzword that the audio-video industry uses to describe the inevitable merger between PC-related devices and the Internet with home theater components and audio/video systems. There is no question that the process of convergence is now underway, but it has been a slow and sometimes painful journey so far. Some industry analysts think consumers are at a critical point with convergence, past any return to the ways that stereo and home theater systems have operated for decades. This is mostly good news for movie and music enthusiasts. Let’s take a look at some of the areas where convergence is underway and how it can positively affect you and your AV system right now.

Apple’s iPod – The Ultimate Act of Convergence?
There may be no more successful example of convergence than Apple Computer’s iPod. With a seamless integration of ultra-slick hardware that puts even the best Walkman to shame and connects via one plug to your Mac, with a direct connection to an online store to buy music, you have convergence defined. Consumers are falling all over themselves to get the latest, greatest and most stylized iPods. Critics and audiophile pundits warn that consumers pay a price when they are willing to sacrifice sound quality on an ACC file for mega-convenience, portability and true simplicity of use. Integration of an iPod-based system to your home theater is developing but isn’t all the way there yet. You can connect your computer or iPod to your home theater or music system via Apple’s Airport Express wireless network, which many users find extremely useful. More complex systems demand RS232 control of an iPod or computer-based music server on a PC. This is still not a reality in the home theater PC world, yet pricier servers from Escient, AMX and ReQuest do allow you to manage your music for your multi-room system, as well as access your server from remote locations like your office or a hotel room.

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