Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Nintendo, and others want to turn your living room into a Web-enabled entertainment center. Roland wants to make it into a full-featured karaoke parlor. Their new "VIMA" keyboard is a bizarre mash-up of digital piano, digital media hub, and karaoke machine. Plug in your iPod, hit center cancel to remove vocals, plug in one or two mics, and the keyboard transforms into a karaoke workstation. The keyboard can even store digital audio, photos, and videos for making custom music videos or karaoke accompaniment, with full support for lyrics display. It's either the perfect way to start your own karaoke bar, or, if you believe the Roland press release, to create "customized family entertainment." Coming hot on the heels of the do-all entertainment center / DJ-VJ station / Windows PC synth MiKo, the VIMA is a further sign that music keyboard makers want in on the battle for the living room. But will it catch on outside Japan? (Hint: large quantities of your favorite alcoholic beverage might help the customized family entertainment.)
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