When it comes to home karaoke machines, The Singing Machine is one of the biggest players in the field. They’ve also moved into new technology with their iDevice-connected ISM-series and a new compact TV system called the 4tv. They’re branching out with a new product called the Home and I haven’t seen anything like it.
No disrespect to the karaoke industry, but as fun as they can be, a home machine is usually not something you can geek out about. The concept has been pretty much the same for a pretty long while: you stick a CD with song and lyric information into a big box with microphones that connects to your TV by RCA jacks. That’s all pretty much obsolete technology. The Home is a product that takes that paradigm and shatters it. They took an entirely fresh look at what a home karaoke machine should be. In fact, they even made this a useful device when you’re butchering a Fray song.
Let’s take one step back first and move into aesthetics. Most previous home karaoke machines are pretty ungainly. The Home looks likes it’s designed for even the most image conscious homes with an elegant black upon chrome design. In addition to being a karaoke machine, the home is a 2.1 channel omnidirectional speaker and the most compact system of this type I’ve heard of. Most are 2.0 without the subwoofer. Bluetooth makes it pretty much platform agnostic and the range is over 30 feet. I’d have to hear it to make any final decisions, but as a speaker alone, this looks like pretty credible hardware.
However, when the sun goes down, and you want to have a bit of fun with family and friends, is when it really shines. It goes from audio to video as soon as you plug it into your High Definition television via the HDMI port. And the interface is designed for HD as are the videos. No more song CDs with backgrounds straight out of 1989. The song videos are cloud hosted and there will 8,000 of them at launch. They do require a subscription to their Singing Machine Play service, though it comes with a free trial. It also requires a WiFi network since it’s not connecting to the cloud through magic. Remote is dual function, also acting as your microphone. You can pair two for your duets.
The Singing Machine Home costs $299 and will be available from both Best Buy and its website towards the back end of October just in time for my birthday… I mean the holiday season. As both a technology geek and someone who can carry a tune, this product has me intrigued. If we get one for review, you can bet you’ll be hearing about this again.