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Roku SoundBridge allows music anywhere in your home

Author's pic

By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, February 3, 2004
News Categories: iPod Accessories

picAlthough this device is not directly related to the iPod, it does share a common feature playing digital music. The SoundBridge allows consumers to listen to digital music that’s stored on their computers, in any room of their homes, whether from the comfort of the couch or the convenience of the kitchen. All that is required is a network connection (ethernet or wifi) and a connection to speakers or a stereo amp. The SoundBridge is compatible with Mac (iTunes) or PC, supports streaming music in MP3, WMA, AAC (Note: SoundBridge can not play back protected AAC files purchased from the iTunes Music Store.), AIFF and WAV formats, provides a large vacuum florescent display (VFD) and a remote control to browse and select music by artist, title, album, or genre. It’s available in two sizes, the 10” wide M1000 ($249) and the 17” wide M2000 ($499). Roku is taking pre-orders with expected shipping starting as early as this month.

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Comments

1

Wheres the bluetooth?

Posted by Mike W. on February 3, 2004 at 5:26 PM (PDT)

2

“wifi” that is bluetooth

Posted by Michael on February 3, 2004 at 5:33 PM (PDT)

3

Wifi isn’t Bluetooth. Different protocols. Anyone notice it will not play purchased AAC’s from iTunes? Basically a sleeker Audiotron, that supports DRM free AAC’s. Maybe good for a new user, but I’ll stick with Turtle Beach for now.

Posted by Rob on February 3, 2004 at 5:49 PM (PDT)

4

he meant that wifi is referring to wireless connectivity and that is bluetooth

Posted by john on February 3, 2004 at 6:27 PM (PDT)

5

“Anyone notice it will not play purchased AAC’s from iTunes?”

omg, i couldn’t believe it either. just about EVERYTHING plays AACs bought from itunes, nowadays.

Posted by eric on February 3, 2004 at 6:58 PM (PDT)

6

My bad… i thought this was website was IPODlounge.

Posted by Steve Jobs on February 3, 2004 at 8:30 PM (PDT)

7

The body looks good, everything else’s just marketing (there’s not that much true features if you think about it) - all that marketing but really just so you don’t have wire between your computer and stereo?

The remote looks pretty cheap and impractical (no screen - see below for the big house comment) - especially it’s infra-red (so no other rooms!!!)

Why not just put your iPod into a dock that hooks into your Hi-Fi? Or is your house is so big (assume you have speakers in most rooms) that you like to listen to tunes all the time / everywhere? without knowing which song you are picking from your library? it’s pretty flowed when you have to be in the same room as the device to control it - there are definitely cheaper options…

comments?

Posted by voodoo on February 3, 2004 at 10:26 PM (PDT)

8

are you a #####? why do u want bluetooth. at 300 kbps max thruput u cant even stream a high bitrate mp3 without buffering.

bluetooth = 300 kbps, 30 meters range. wifi = 10 mbps+, hundreds of feet range. which would YOU choose to send files across your house?

use your ####### brain.

Posted by orange on February 3, 2004 at 10:28 PM (PDT)

9

orange - your quite correct man, but you ruined your point by being abusive.

What we need is a wifi adaptor which connects to the ipod, with another wifi adaptor connected to the hifi (ie give a much larger range than an itrip etc) so people could walk round the house with the ipod and select the songs to play.

Posted by dmeineck on February 3, 2004 at 11:43 PM (PDT)

10

This device is good if your collection greatly exceeds the limits of your Ipod especially if you’re using WAV files.  You can have access to your entire collection without syncing and it can use the iTunes database (playlists included).  It also has digital out, so if you’re an audiophile, you can have the highest quality.  I plan to use this for a hi-fi headphone setup I have at home.

You can also control it from your pc too. 

Posted by iamdone on February 4, 2004 at 7:42 AM (PDT)

11

http://www.slimdevices.com/ :D

The Roku SoundBridge uses the SlimDevices software on the PC end.

Posted by Fred on February 4, 2004 at 7:52 AM (PDT)

12

MobileBlackBox.com makes a great product and you can still use your current player.  I bought the newest model 2 months ago and just love it…the coolest thing out there.

James

Posted by James on February 4, 2004 at 9:13 AM (PDT)

13

The MbileBlackBox is just a FM transmitter just like the iTrip.  This is not a hi-fi solution or really compariable to the Roku.  The Roku is on the same level as the Squeezebox or the Audiotron, both of which cost more than the small Roku.

Posted by iamdone on February 4, 2004 at 9:29 AM (PDT)

14

Does anyone else think it’s crazy that they’re charging $200 for a larger LCD display (it’s just song info, after all)?  All of the other specs seem identical…

Posted by ender on February 4, 2004 at 9:47 AM (PDT)

15

The Roku is on the same level as the Squeezebox or the Audiotron, both of which cost more than the small Roku.

Well Squeezebox cost a total of $20 more. Remember Roku comes without the WiFi card (and needs more expensive CF WiFi card) vs. the Squeezebox that cost $250 without the PCMCIA WiFi card (less expensive).

These guys are trying to piggyback on the open-source efforts of the SlimServer developers. “Not that there is anything wrong with that!”

The bigger one looks really nice, but $200 difference with identical specs. WTF is that?

Posted by pbox on February 4, 2004 at 9:59 AM (PDT)

16

The $200 extra doesn’t make sense to me either.  It does allow you see it across the room but they should just offer a LCD remote that would solve that problem and still cost less than $200 more.

I plan to use mine with headphones so the small size is great because I can have it on the table with the rest of my rear right next to me. 

Posted by iamdone on February 4, 2004 at 10:00 AM (PDT)

17

On second though, large graphical vacuum-fluoroscent-displays are very expensive. You can easily spend $600-$700 for the identical-size diplay only…

Posted by pbox on February 4, 2004 at 10:01 AM (PDT)

18

Yes, the Roku would actually cost more than the Squeezebox with the wi-fi card.  I guess I just like the Roku better based on looks.  The Squeezebox looks like a police scanner radio. 

Posted by iamdone on February 4, 2004 at 10:05 AM (PDT)

19

i love that song!

Posted by dave on February 4, 2004 at 10:15 AM (PDT)

20

Notice in all the SoundBridge photos there are no wires. But if you look at side profile picture you can see the hookup. Is it me all will a tube with wires sticking out the side not look so cool?

Posted by Attis on February 4, 2004 at 11:37 AM (PDT)

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