Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Toy: A Wireless Digital Music System

I've said before in a previous post that my ideal "toys" work really well at solving real problems. Unfortunately it seems like a lot of companies don't get this concept, and those that do want to charge a premium price.

So here's my problem statement: I have a pile of music. I want to listen to any of it, anywhere in my house. And I want to listen to internet radio too. I want to be able to put on some generic soothing background music while I putter around the house doing chores, or while I have company over for a party. (C'mon, humour me.)

To that end, I bought the D-Link NAS, and I've been ripping my music collection from CDs to MP3s to store on the 1-terabyte network drive. So that puts all my music on the network, available from anywhere in the house (within wireless range). That's half the problem solved. Now, how will I play that music?

Options I've considered (or am currently using):

1. Play it off my computer (iTunes). The cheapest option, but not the most convenient: I don't want to have to lug my computer around.

2. Keep the music on an iPod. I'm sure it will be a shock and a surprise to everyone I know, but: I just don't get iPods. They're just not for me. Sure, I own one. But I don't use it. I can't even find mine right now. In the car, I'd rather have something simpler so I don't have to mess around with cables and docks and chargers.

3. PlayStation 3. The PS3 can play music and movies off the NAS. Mostly. Sort of. The interface is clunky and slow and needs the TV turned on to play music. Say what? This feels like a hacker's solution and I'm just not that impressed.

4. Wifi Internet Radio. I had one for a while. It works. The question is, if I want to listen to this stuff in different places, do I buy more of these units?

So this led me down the road toward...

5. Wireless music streamers. Expensive, but could this be the solution? What I liked about this concept is that it's not just a standalone device, it's a system -- a whole household of units that inter-operate, even synchronize themselves to play the same music at the same time, all over the house.


If all this sounds like an attempt to justify to myself another expensive gadget purchase... well, it is.

1 comment:

  1. Now all you need is a system that lets you listen to your music at the same time in multiple rooms AND works as an intercom. Maybe also a bugler alarm. And a regular alarm. Actually, if it could syncronize to your oven, so that no matter where you are, you hear when you're done cooking, that would be handy...

    Oh, by the way, the website asked for a URL along with my name, so I gave it one.