Tech: A Stereo with a Brain

You can train Bose's new system to play songs you like. Is it worth the price?

The stereo in my living room knows too much about me. It knows that I listen to cheesy love songs by Rod Stewart and that I am hooked on show tunes from the Mamma Mia! original-cast recording. It remembers which songs I play five times in a row and which ones I skip altogether. Called the Bose Lifestyle 48 and available this week for $3,999, the stereo understands all this because it comes with uMusic, an "intelligent playback system" that stores hundreds of CDs on a hard drive and can learn its owner's musical tastes.

The Lifestyle system is aimed...

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