Exclusive: Belkin’s TuneStage Bluetooth stereo solution | iLounge News

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Exclusive: Belkin’s TuneStage Bluetooth stereo solution

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Thursday, December 16, 2004
News Categories: iPod Accessories

Discussing the future of its iPod accessory line with iLounge today, third-party developer Belkin Corporation has disclosed details of its newest iPod accessory, provisionally titled “TuneStage,” a Bluetooth Class 2 stereo solution for the iPod.

TuneStage will consist of two components - a receiver and a transmitter - which will connect any iPod via wireless Bluetooth link to any stereo system. The receiver will connect to a stereo via 3.5-inch minijack or RCA left and right ports, and Belkin is currently considering whether to additionally include an optical TOSLink output on the final product. TuneStage’s transmitter will attach to the top of the iPod, enabling it to wirelessly broadcast audio to the receiver and act like a “remote control” for the playback of iPod audio, explained Belkin product manager Randall Stowasser.

Numerous design factors can impact the audio quality of Bluetooth signals, but Belkin is “extremely pleased” with the sound quality of the TuneStage, according to Stowasser. It will output digital stereo sound taken from the iPod’s headphone jack, which while not line-out quality is likely to satisfy the needs of most iPod users. iLounge will have photography of TuneStage closer to the product’s first public showings at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show and the San Francisco Macworld Expo next month.

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Comments

1

If using in a car it seems like a complicated itrip.

Posted by Brads214 on December 16, 2004 at 2:51 PM (PDT)

2

Unless your car stereo is Bluetooth Class 2 compliant, there won’t be much use for this in a vehicle. Class 2 is capable of transmitting high-quality audio signal, “regular” Bluetooth systems in cars are made for low-bandwidth signal transmission that’s good enough for phone calls, but not for great sounding stereo sound. This sounds intriguing!

Posted by wired in L.A. on December 16, 2004 at 3:14 PM (PDT)

3

now what would be really cool is if they had bluetooth wireless headphones, I’d buy those for sure smile

Posted by MATRIXsjd in Burbank, Ca on December 16, 2004 at 3:16 PM (PDT)

4

Like these?

http://www.behandsfree.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=WHEAD1014&c1=googleadwords&source=accessory&kw=bluetake

Expensive. But. O So cool.  wink

Posted by hbbengal in Huntington Beach on December 16, 2004 at 3:37 PM (PDT)

5

Cool thing about Bluetooth is that you never get static interference like with an FM transmitter. It either works or it doesn’t.

Posted by wired in L.A. on December 16, 2004 at 6:50 PM (PDT)

6

I’ve been considering a RemoteRemote 2 to change songs at home while iPodding to my stereo.

But with a digital transmitter, if small enough, maybe I’d just choose to let the iPod BE the remote. That’s pretty cool with iTrip—I do it sometimes despite FM being poorer than a direct connection.

Posted by Nagromme on December 16, 2004 at 7:44 PM (PDT)

7

It doesn’t sound like a big leap to expect a similar BT broadcaster for desktops and laptops.

Posted by quadraphonic in alberta | canada on December 16, 2004 at 8:19 PM (PDT)

8

BT does indeed get static..

Posted by dfbills in NYC on December 16, 2004 at 8:40 PM (PDT)

9

What a WASTE!!!!

If they really wanted to make a superior product, Belkin would have it plug into the port connector, providing line out level sound to the transmitter.  The reciever should come with both a toslink and digital coax connection (toss in an additional 3.5” minijack, if there’s room).

Of course, the DRM police (RIAA, MPAA, Apple, etc) would never let them get away it, and I’m sure the herd of iPod sheep out there is large enough that the product, as specified, will certainly sell well enough (of course, if I painted a brick white and called it an iPod accessory, I could probably find plenty of sheep who would pay me for it!).

What a wasted opportunity for a truly great product…

Posted by IDSmoker on December 17, 2004 at 7:03 AM (PDT)

10

Dudes… the Toslink or Coax SPDIF digital out seems a waste in this situation… normally I’d be in favour of it.

the iPod signal is already analog, since it cannot output a digital signal, even via the Dock connector.

So then you’re taking an analog signal and then converting that to digital to send over Bluetooth.  Now does this have the bandwidth to send the audio from your lossless files anyway, or does the device down sample?  So lets assume it can actually pass the whole lossless audio without munging it up, but who knows.

So now it’s digital on the other end, and i suppose you could argue if only for convenience or maybe in some strangely deluded way that that that last hop makes a difference if you use a slightly better DAC, even though the audio has gone

iPod -> ADC -> headphone jack -> TuneStage TX—> Bluetooth—> TuneStage RX—> ?  (analog/digital jack on your receiver or AV preamp )

<shrug>

Posted by DukeTogo on December 17, 2004 at 11:10 AM (PDT)

11

Duke got it right, and this is the reason Belkin is not sure about including TOSLink. They explained that they do not want to mislead people by offering a feature that isn’t fully capitalized upon, but that some people might want it anyway. Thoughts?

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on December 17, 2004 at 11:55 AM (PDT)

12

they do not want to mislead people by offering a feature that isn’t fully capitalized upon, but that some people might want it anyway.

Even if the optical link is compromised by the lack of pure digital output, it’s generally easier to hook up units to an amp using optical. That way you avoid ground loops and annoying noise floor hums. You can avoid ground loops using electrical conducting wires by exercising care, but this is sometimes time consuming and fragile. There’s nothing that depresses me more when I am listening to a quiet piece of music and instead of silence I hear that annoying humming.

I have been known to beat a dead horse on occasion but I do hope Apple relents and enables the SPDIF on the 5G. To pacify the RIAA, Apple could use something like DAT’s SCMS protection against multiple generation copies, maybe Macrovision’s CGMS-D?

That is a lot of TLAs.

Posted by Demosthenes on December 17, 2004 at 12:10 PM (PDT)

13

“I have been known to beat a dead horse on occasion but I do hope Apple relents and enables the SPDIF on the 5G. To pacify the RIAA, Apple could use something like DAT’s SCMS protection against multiple generation copies, maybe Macrovision’s CGMS-D?”

Please do this website a favor and no longer post.  If the only reason you post is make yourself sound smarter than others, please stop.  You’re not impressing anyone. 

Posted by ipod21 on December 17, 2004 at 1:28 PM (PDT)

14

please stop

What is your problem? If you have something of substance to say then say it. Personal attacks benefit nobody and make for dull reading.

Posted by Demosthenes on December 17, 2004 at 2:03 PM (PDT)

15

I would like the output to go directly to “blue tooth” speakers that are battery or wire powered.  I can then move the speakers anywhere and use the ipod as the source anywhere nearby.  Who needs the “receiver”.

Posted by stuschwartz2004 on December 17, 2004 at 4:12 PM (PDT)

16

stuschwartz, I guess that solution is a pretty cool idea, but would probably get more expensive since you’d need to pair both of these individual speakers with the transmitter.

Posted by wired in L.A. on December 17, 2004 at 5:01 PM (PDT)

17

Personal attacks…make for dull reading.
No they don’t. They spice it up, if anything.
I would buy this accessory if it was cheap enough. It seems cool.

Posted by Joshdude in Long Beach, CA on December 17, 2004 at 6:06 PM (PDT)

18

The Bottom Line:  If Belkin thinks it will make money (increasing their bottom line), by adding a feature or ability to TuneStage, then they’ll include it…. 
Otherwise it wont be in there.  End of story.

Posted by Newarkguy in newark, de on December 18, 2004 at 3:40 AM (PDT)

19

blue tooth does get staticky

Posted by reactions in cali on December 19, 2004 at 6:27 PM (PDT)

20

I am not sure if you folks have seen the Ten Technology’s naviPlay stereo Bluetooth adapter that has been released. This is based on line-out and has remote control of the iPod over Bluetooth.

You might want to check that out.

Posted by Baskar in India on December 31, 2004 at 12:36 AM (PDT)

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