As I much as I enjoy designing Blu-Ray cases, the reality is physical media is on its last legs. Soon everyone will have a Media Center beside (or within) their TVs that will contain all their movies, TV shows, books, and music.
Currently PVRs, TiVos, and Web Media Centers (like Boxee and Apple TV) are becoming more and more commonplace. And while these are all well and good, I believe a new trend will succeed them in the not-too-distant future: Designer Media Centers.
These Designer models would be available in a wide range of styles to reflect many different personal tastes, and packed to the brim with bells and whistles. They will become the centerpiece of the entertainment center, possibly the entire household. In many ways, this will be like placing a jukebox in every living room – a showy piece of hardware that contains all of your media.
I base this prediction on this: currently people surround themselves with physical media, usually arranged in a proud display. Books, music, video games, and films help define our individuality. We like to see our personal tastes and lifestyle manifest in all this media. It says who we are and what we love – both past and present. Simply put – we like to show-off our physical media.
So with physical media on the decline, it will eventually fall on the Media Center to make a personal statement about who we are and what we like. And because we like so many different things, these Designer Media Centers will be grandiose in their appearance and operation. Make no mistake, they will be expensive – a carefully measured investment for many – but they will cost nowhere near as much as assembling large libraries of physical media as we do now. Somewhere along the lines of buying two game consoles, methinks.
A few examples of Designer Media Centers: a Harryhausen fan will buy a Media Center that is adorned with several sculptures reenacting a scene from Jason and the Argonauts. A Disney fan will grab a Media Center in the shape of the Cinderella castle from Disneyland. A U2 fan will grab a Media Center that looks like one of their tour stages, with the band included (lights and pyrotechnics as well -maybe).
The logistics of these DMC’s could take the form of many scenarios: they could be aligned to a few platforms (Google TV, Windows TV), could have upgradeable/interchangeable hardware, or the external cases could be partitioned from the hardware – meaning you buy the media center and the designer exterior case separately.
I will be designing many geeky/fancy Media Centers going forward. How about I finally talk about the one shown above?
This Media Center is for film buffs, and is a small scale movie theater. As you can see it features a detailed marquee with many LED lights. The sign board is customizable, and there are few poster frames to place your favorite movie posters (you print them out yourself). It could also feature swiveling spot lights for a more authentic look. The light show is entirely on-demand.
This would go nicely with this IKEA entertainment unit I designed. If you like this concept check out this Talisman media center from a while back.