Spring Audio Capitalizing on the Web
Other companies are hoping to offer consumers a way to purchase and download music through home audio devices that are not reliant on the PC. Imerge, a British company who has been offering high-end hard disk audio recorders/servers, is experimenting with building commerce into its products. Its new Single-Room SoundServer ($1,400) hooks up to an A/V or stereo receiver and can be controlled through a user interface that appears on a television set. An onboard CD drive rips CDs directly to the server and a built-in modem lets you purchase and download music through the company's XiVA-Net Web site. The server is available now, but the Web site's commerce section will not be active until the fall, said company representative Gary Boyer.
Harman/Kardon is also attempting to marry a home A/V component to the Web. Working with ZapMedia, a company who provides a Web portal for downloadable audio and possibly video, as well as daily news and entertainment content, Harman is bringing out the DMC-100 Digital Media Center. Along with a broadband connection for the Web, the device includes a 30GB hard disk and a built-in CD/DVD player that can rip audio tracks into MP3, though it will not copy DVDs. Users would be able to buy digital material over the Web using the media center and store the material directly to their home entertainment systems. The device also includes USB ports for attaching external MP3 players. The media center is projected for a September release at around $899, with a monthly service fee of $9.95 for the ZapMedia service.