[opendtv] Sending Digital Music To Your Hi-Fi via Wi-Fi

  • From: Monty Solomon <monty@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 08:56:28 -0400

June 30, 2004

Sending Digital Music To Your Hi-Fi via Wi-Fi


One of the hottest product categories in consumer digital technology 
today doesn't even have a name. It consists of gadgets that claim to 
let you play media -- mainly music -- stored on a PC, with audio 
equipment or TV sets in a distant part of a house. This is done over 
a home network, usually wireless.

The idea is that all that music stored upstairs on your PC's hard 
disk should be easily available on, say, your expensive stereo system 
downstairs in the family room. Giants like Microsoft, Apple Computer 
and Hewlett-Packard are getting into this game, and so are dozens of 
smaller companies. But nobody has done it quite right, yet, for a 
couple of reasons.

First, many of these devices are just too hard to set up on a 
wireless network. Even computer owners with some skills can find it 
tough to do this with PCs and Macs. It's a bigger challenge with 
supposedly simple consumer gadgets. Second, it's difficult to design 
a user interface for these gadgets that a consumer can see from 
across a room when she's wielding a remote control.

This week, my assistant Katie Boehret and I tested a contender in 
this "network music player" category that seemed to have the promise 
to overcome these twin difficulties, albeit at a stiff price -- $250 
or $500, depending on model. Alas, our high hopes weren't quite 

The product is called the Roku SoundBridge, and is from Roku LLC, a 
small Silicon Valley outfit stocked with smart industry veterans who 
have done classy, high-end home digital products in the past. It's 
due to go on sale in the second half of July.


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