Wurlitzer Digital Jukebox Next Year's Big Christmas Gift?

The new consumer electronics division of Gibson Guitar, Gibson Audio, will officially unveil its first product at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show (Jan 8-11). That product, a new line of digital jukeboxes designed specifically for the home, will be sold under the world famous Wurlitzer name. This new Wurlitzer is a giant leap forward from those of the '50s and offers some incredibly innovative features that music geeks like us will fall in love with.

According to Mi2N.com, the Wurlitzer Digital Jukebox:

* Allows users to store up to 1,000 CDs of music, then control the collection from a wireless touch-screen remote that utilizes an easy-to-use interface.

* Provides direct access to the Wurlitzer Music Service, a digital music service offering 100 channels of digital radio, as well as a download store that allows users to purchase and download hundreds of thousands of songs directly to the jukebox.

* Allows users to create playlists, create mix CDs, export songs to a portable MP3 player, and/or distribute music wirelessly to other Wurlitzer receivers throughout the home.

* Provides top quality audio with a custom-designed amplifier and speaker system from Klipsch Audio Technologies.

* Instantly organizes a CD collection. When a CD is inserted, the jukebox automatically captures and stores the Artist, CD and song title, genre, and (what I wish iTunes would do) digital cover art.

* Allows users to select the compression rate at which they would like to import their CDs. 160, 256, and 320 kbps, as well as an uncompressed digital format are all available.

The digital jukebox is targeted at non-tech savvy consumers. "We believe that there is a significant untapped market of folks who are aware of the power of digital music, or have a 'techie' friend who swears by it, but who continue to use physical CDs because they have yet to be offered a user-friendly digital music solution," said Kris Carter, President of Gibson Audio. "The Wurlitzer Digital Jukebox is just what they've been waiting for."

There are three versions of the Jukebox available. The flagship is a floorstanding, all-in-one model that looks like a modern version of the classic jukebox design. That design has floorstanding speakers with amplification system and sub woofers built into the base of the jukebox. For those who already have a bad ass home theater system, a Digital Jukebox "CP" is offered that has functionality identical to the floorstanding device, but without speakers and it comes in a "stereo rack" form that will fit in existing entertainment centers. The final version is a smaller, tabletop jukebox designed for kitchens and bedrooms. It stores about 500 CDs.

This thing looks amazing. No price has yet been released for any of the three jukebox models, but it is sure to be a must for regular party throwers, audiophiles and even the average joe. Check out the Gibson Audio website for more info and photos.

Wurlitzer Digital Jukebox Next Year's Big Christmas Gift?