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Logitech Squeezebox Radio - Music Networked in the Home

If you like to listen to music, and enjoy your digital music collection and online music services, then the Logitech Squeezebox line offers stand-alone "radios" that connect both to your home PC music collections, and directly to the Internet to bring all that great digital music choice wherever you want it in the house.

The Squeezebox Duet package ($399) and new Squeezebox Touch ($299) are focused on bringing music to your existing stereo system or stereo system.

Or if you want an all-in-one "radio" player with built-in speakers, the Squeezebox Boom, and Squeezebox Radio provide stand-alone access to all these digital music sources.

The new Squeezebox Radio with color display is more compact to fit in smaller spaces (~ 8 1/2 x 5 in. x 4 1/2 deep with knob), and is available in black or snazzy red ($199).

The Squeezebox Boom (see previous post) is wider (~ 13 x 5 in.), with stereo speakers on each side to punch out the sound, and includes a remote contol ($299).

After all, digital music has freed us to enjoy our music collections anywhere with our iPods and media players. And Internet radio and streaming music services have brought the world of music to us, to enjoy on mobile phones and wireless players like the iPod touch and on mobile notebooks.

But at home, digital music is still tethered to your computer, to play your files and access the Internet -- preferably on a desktop computer with a good speaker system.

But what about enjoying your music elsewhere -- in the kitchen, or garage, or on the porch -- like we used to do with portable radios? And what about the idea of having a "stereo system" set up in the den or family room with good speakers to really enjoy listening to music?

The answer is in better interconnection between the PC and CE worlds -- data on personal computers and playback on consumer electronics devices.

With video, for example, there are products like Apple TV to bring your iTunes library to your living room television, Slingbox to play your TV signal on your computer (and vice versa), and Vudu to bring Internat video on demand directly to your home TV. And with audio, products like Sonos let you control music playback from your computer to speakers in multiple rooms around the house.

Or the Logitech Squeezebox Boom and Squeezebox Radio access the Internet and PC media from stand-alone devices. These boombox style radios connect to your home network, by wired Ethernet 10/100 or Wi-Fi wireless 802.11g networking, so you can access music on your home network from your personal computers and networked (NAS) drives, or connect directly over the Internet to online music -- with no local computer required:

- Play personal music collections and playlists from your computer with SqueezeBox Server software (Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux)
- Access music from NAS / networked drives on your home network
- Tune to thousands of Internet radio networks (including BBC, CBC, Live365, SIRIUS)
- Access subscription music services -- including custom music (i.e., Last.fm, Pandora, Slacker), music on demand (MP3Tunes Music Locker, Mediafly, Napster, Rhapsody), and even music stores (Amazon).

Besides updating the SqueezeBox Server software (formerly SqueezeCenter), Logitech has also moved to an "apps" model for adding services to its new SqueezeBox products, and expanded beyond music playback to also show photos and artwork on the front panel displays.

You can add new sources like a music subscription services using the front panel of the radio (somewhat painfully scrolling through each letter of the login and password), or log in to the MySqueezeBox.com site (formerly SqueezeNetwork) to more conveniently update your device online, which is immediately installed on the radio.

Logitech currently offers apps to support the various Internet radio stations, music services, and podcasts (via Mediafly). Plus there are apps for Facebook to share with friends and to view Flickr photos (on the newer products).

These are both serious and solid radios, with all-digital 30-watt amplifier; stereo XL technology to widen the sound stage, 6 preset buttons, and a 7-day alarm clock. The Squeezebox Boom has two 3/4-inch, high-def, soft-dome tweeters, and two 3-inch, high-power, long-throw woofers, and the smaller Squeezebox Radio has one of each. Both also have line-in via a stereo jack for playing from other devices.

It's the new model for the tabletop radio -- so you can enjoy all your digital music, and the music available online, anywhere in your house.

See my Home Networked Media Gallery for more on the Squeezebox line and related networked media products for the home.

Find the Logitech Squeezebox Radio and Squeezebox Boom on Amazon.com

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