Apple AirPort Express with AirTunes | iLounge

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21

I don't know if the person who wrote this article was aware of what apple has planned on doing. If you vist the apple site, you can view a video of the WWDC (world wide developers converence) and this video explains it in much detail, but the main idea is, there are four main spots for people listening to music. Their computer, there living room or some room, their ipod and their car. Apple has reached all of these four places, and airport express is made to both offer up wireless internet, and music streaming. And, if you want to know how to change what music you want, since there aren't really any remotes, you can just clear you party mix playlist, then just put every song you want, and start it up. I also would like to add that the main direction of the airport express was for laptops, or people who have stereos in diferent rooms.

Posted by M Bargo in Chicago, IL on July 16, 2004 at 7:58 AM (PDT)

22

I think the key will be a remote control with intelligence. The remote control will go through AirPort Express and IR so it can become your only remote. It will talk to the PC/Mac and can populate the screen with your playlists and you can choose what you want to hear anywhere in the house since it will use 802.11 technology. I think the next step will be iMovie where you store your movies on a hard drive and stream them to your home theater system but you have the same remote control to run it all.

Posted by John on July 16, 2004 at 8:09 AM (PDT)

23

I'm not going to hold my breath, but it WOULD be cool to have an iPod base station that would transmit AirTunes.

Posted by Nagromme on July 16, 2004 at 8:14 AM (PDT)

24

To answer questions posed and unanswered at this point:

Netwalker: Your point's a fair one. The review was long enough as is, so we didn't go into the "when can other programs start to stream to speakers" discussion, but we would expect that Apple is looking at adding software functionality. Though not widely publicized, iTunes does support AC3 (Dolby Digital) and DTS, though the question of where (besides a ripped DVD or a Super Audio CD) one would get a multichannel track for iTunes is open to discussion. See http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93870

John V: Most users (including us) would say "perfectly." Apple encodes all streams to the speakers using lossless compression, which means that any music you hear via AE should not be perceptibly different from the source material. However, we're confident that someone will eventually point out a subtle difference that 0.05% of the population could perceive if they had the right speakers and a lot of time on their hands.

Kyle and Bob: They're Celestion AVF302s, normally dramatically overpriced at $800 a pair. These were purchased new for $299 (a Best Buy closeout) and were a good value at that price, purchased more for looks than performance. They sound quite good but really require a subwoofer for bass augmentation.

Adam: We said "competing but lesser products," not "similar devices." For right now (emphasis on right now), AE is a print-ready wireless base station with a great novelty feature for iTunes fans, but we do not think that it will outsell the often-rebated-to-~$40 802.11G base stations and routers offered by companies from Linksys to D-Link to Netgear. Yes, it is a unique and great product, and we are sure that it will become even greater through future software updates, but whether the average joe needs iTunes-only music-streaming is totally open to debate.

Mongoose: We tried that. We used a D-Link wireless network based on 802.11B and added AE to provide the music streaming part, then tested music streaming from our PowerBook's AirPort Extreme card. It worked, though Apple makes no guarantee that it will do so on all hardware configurations.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on July 16, 2004 at 8:15 AM (PDT)

25

Yes please tell us about those glass speakers!

Posted by Mark on July 16, 2004 at 8:51 AM (PDT)

26

May be possible to stream audio to multiple AE from a single Mac.

I haven't received mine yet (I ordered two) but I intend to test this as soon as I get them:

With iTunes 4.6, you can play two different songs simultaneously using user switching. If I do that and have each user's iTunes (on the same Mac) play to a different AE station I believe I can achieve the "stream from one to many" feature.

I've seen several web sites explaining how a single music library can be sahred between multiple users of a Mac so, if the first test works, it seems there will be nothing preventing me from us from streaming the same song (or different ones) to multiple AE stations.

Perhaps someone who received theirs could do the test and post the results...

Posted by Altos on July 16, 2004 at 9:08 AM (PDT)

27

Did you guys test to see how far you could go with the laptop before you lost the connection? 50ft, 100ft? Although I love the music side of the AE I am also very interested in the extension of my internet connection. I know that this article wasn't focused on this but could you give us some feedback?

Thanks!

Posted by Harold on July 16, 2004 at 9:20 AM (PDT)

28

the listed specifications on apple say that a person with a airport or a 802.11b can have a range of 150 feet, because it is slower. And people with a 802.11g can have up to 50 feet in range, because it has to transmit more code.

Posted by M Bargo in Chicago, IL on July 16, 2004 at 9:40 AM (PDT)

29

I know you just got it, but I'd be very interest to hear how well music streaming handles various bandwidth issues. Dropouts are the only thing that sucks about a wireless music system.

e.g.
Is 802.11b enough to handle the bandwidth of Apple Lossless?
What happens to the music if you try and transfer a big file?
What happens if you turn on the Microwave or pick up a 2.4 GHz cordless phone?

I'm hoping that the 2-3 second delay you mention is not because of encryption/decryption (which should be faster than that) but is because the stream is buffering on the Airport Express.

Wishful thinking?

Posted by Brad on July 16, 2004 at 10:31 AM (PDT)

30

The xbox can use a wireless connection. I currently use a linksys wet11 to connect the xbox to my wireless network. Could I use the airport express to replace the wet11 device.

Posted by Drew on July 16, 2004 at 11:11 AM (PDT)

31

it sounds like in the tests, the router has nothing to do with the AE. from the tests described it seems that the connection is from an airport-enabled mac directly to the AE. what i am wondering is if non airport-enabled macs (i have a desktop g4) can work with the AE, because it's attached via ethernet to a wireless router.

even the D-Link test jeremy described uses the router for an internet connection, and still communicates with the AE from the airport card directly.

Posted by nick on July 16, 2004 at 1:03 PM (PDT)

32

I read about this product a while back and it got me to thinking about the convenience of being able to easily play all of my music, and in fact this thinking is what led me to buying my iPod mini. But the more I think about it, the more I think I need a remote in the living room, since the source computer is a desktop that is not in the living room.

So I'm interested in reviews of other products that compete with the AirTunes part of this product. The one that sounds like it might be the best is the Squeezebox from Slim Devices. It's more expensive and it can't play iTMS songs, but it sounds like the actual living room experience is likely to be better.

Posted by Mike W in Silicon Valley, CA on July 16, 2004 at 1:52 PM (PDT)

33

I have the same question as nick.. I want to be able to pump music from my wired G4 desktop, through the wired network to an older Apple 802.11b grey airport, out of the old airport wirelessly and over to the new airport express connected to a stereo. Possible, or do I have to replace my grey airport with a new, white airport 802.11g airport?

Posted by Ken on July 16, 2004 at 1:56 PM (PDT)

34

My stereo and DSL connections are rooms apart.

With an Airport Express and pre-Extreme base station can I set up a network that serves the internet and AirTunes at the same time?

Posted by steveb on July 16, 2004 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

35

I just bought one. I love it! I haven't even gotten the stereo hooked up yet, but the wireless internet is flawless!!

Posted by Jay Holler on July 16, 2004 at 4:04 PM (PDT)

36

I got mine hooked up today and wrote a little review about it if anyone is interesting.

Posted by Tom Boucher on July 16, 2004 at 4:40 PM (PDT)

37

"High price tag relative to competing but lesser products"

It seems like the reviewer did not understand that one of the main points of the airport express is that it is tiny and portable, meant to be slipped into a pocket or bag for travel size.

Obviously Apple's price at $129 retail is dead on and *cheap* in my opinion when compared to similar devices like the new announced Netgear WGR101 $100 (which does not have audio streaming nor USB printing port). Sure, you can buy a Linksys wireless router for less, but can you shove it in your pocket like an ipod?

Sounds to me like the reviewer was just grasping at straws for something to fill in the blank for the 'con' without actually doing their research.

Posted by JeremyN on July 16, 2004 at 4:52 PM (PDT)

38

Oh, in case someone wanted the Netgear WGR101 $100 info

http://www.macnn.com/news/25278

Posted by JeremyN on July 16, 2004 at 4:53 PM (PDT)

39

is anyone really going to buy a router to travel with?

"maybe my hotel will have a stereo so i can connect my laptop to it. or maybe it will have a broadband connection and with this i won't need to plug the cable into my laptop."

small size is nice but really who will use this outside a home. people who talk about using portable routers in hotels are the ones grasping for straws to criticize. dont get me wrong airport express looks great but don't pretend you will be carrying it where ever you go.

Posted by podo on July 16, 2004 at 10:58 PM (PDT)

40

The airport express is useless as a Digital audio receiver because you can only stream to one destination (you can't even listen from your computer speakers while streaming to a airport express) and you have to control it from your PC or MAC so you must have either your powerbook or desktop in the same room as your stereo to control it. When the airport express came out I thought it was going to address some of these issues, but really the audio fuctionallity of the unit is just garbage. Although at $129 it is fairly competative as a wireless base station. I ended up buying a slimdevices squeezebox which I am finding to be tremendously enjoyable and recommend highly. Turtle beach has a similar product called the audiotron which is also supposed to be quite good.

Posted by Bill on July 17, 2004 at 5:03 AM (PDT)

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