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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 4, 2006 at 9:52 AM

More info on wireless music streaming devices

Here’s some more info on the Logitech Wireless DJ that I described in today’s column, and other devices for streaming music wirelessly around the home.

Wireless DJ works on Windows XP machines, but it requires a lot of system memory. Logitech recommends at least 512 megabytes of RAM, and said 1 gigabyte is even better. It worked for me on a laptop with 256 megs of RAM but it slowed things down, especially at startup. Here’s a link to Logitech’s page with more details, screen shots and system requirements.

I didn’t mention the battery. Wireless DJ comes with a rechargeable battery built into the remote, which charges when it sits in the dock by your stereo.

Logitech prices the system at $250, but I’m starting to see lower prices around the Web. I recently saw Dell selling them for $150, but it may have been a mistake, and prices there are back to $250. Elsewhere on the Web they’re down to around $220.

There are many devices for streaming digital music around the home. Some connect to a TV, and use the TV’s screen to display the list of songs on your PC, what’s playing, etc.

Others have small displays like an iPod. The Wireless DJ is in that category, as are a number of Wi-Fi devices in the same price range: the Roku SoundBridge, Slim Devices’ Squeezebox, Creative Soundblaster Wireless Music product and the apparently discontinued Netgear MP101.

(Logitech, by the way, recently bought Slim Devices. I see that as more evidence that streamers are moving from enthusiast devices to the mainstream. It could also lead to Logitech doing some interesting product mashups, maybe a Squeezebox with a better remote control, or a Harmony all-in-one remote that also streams content.)

Higher-end options include the Sonos and Olive‘s line of hard-drive streaming devices.

Some stereo manufacturers have also added streaming features to receivers. I haven’t tried these, but they seem expensive and don’t have great displays. They include Onkyo’s Nettune receivers, Yamaha’s Musiccast system and the new Marantz DAvED system.

I’m guessing stereo companies will show some cool new options next month at the Consumer Electronics Show, but I’d be amazed if any were in the $250 price range.

Microsoft’s Zune could someday evolve into a home music streamer, since it has Wi-Fi built into the player, but the company isn’t saying whether this is part of its plans for the current or future Zunes.

Comments | More in | Topics: Digital media, Gadgets & products

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