Multichannel sound is the next frontier for home audio. If standards for recording and playback can be firmly established, and some way of dummyproofing installation and room acoustics can get worked out, it will be as much of a leap over normal 2 channel as stereo was over mono. Unfortunately, 5:1 straight out of a box doesn't even come close to touching its potential. It takes a experience to tweak it properly- perhaps installation services that make house calls and set the whole system up... like a cable man. I had a professional install my sound system, but the only sort of calibration service he offered was THX certification, which in my opinion is overpriced and not at all what I was looking for. I had to do all of my tuning myself.
By the way, binaural recording is tremendously limiting and only appropriate for certain types of recordings. 5:1 is much more flexible and has the potential to improve every kind of recorded sound, from television broadcasts to recorded music of all kinds.
Agreed on the first chapter. Due to the requirements, unlikely to EVER become widespread enough. How many real households can afford listening-only room ?
Similar problem was with the quadrophonic systems ( quite a number of presently available "surround" recordings started their life during quadro era in the 70s )
I do not see binaural THAT tremendously limiting - but I agree 5:1 to be more flexible. With one fly in the ointment : it is inherently flawed ( some say; I heard it for real only once and do not have a room sized to implement it properly, so I will leave it at that. )
I remember Chesky being one of the prime detractors for binaural say around 2005 or so. They had all kinds of reservations. Look at them now: like any other manufacturer of audio gear and/or record label, they saw where the action ( $ ) is. To each speaker centric high end system - how MANY headphone based portable systems preferred by young people are sold nowadays? Who buys then more records/downloads ? And they simply conformed to the real world market needs...