I’m not easily impressed, but my jaw is hanging open today after installing two Sonos S5 Music Players to cover my home with end to end music. I’ve used computers, Media Center Extenders and all kinds of hardware and software in the past to move music around my home, but I always had to cobble together pieces and use separate devices and controllers to get what I wanted. What did I want? Well, everything imaginable. The list below is not in any particular order:
1. The ability to stream from ANY of my computers (using Play To or anything else) to more than one music player/renderer simultaneously.
2. To be able to control the volume above individually or together.
3. Play Pandora Radio and other Internet sourced digital music
4. Use existing/create new playlists
5. Use iPhones, iPads and iPxxx whatever to control and manage the device as a remote control (including graphical menus).
6. Use the system as an alarm clock with choices to wake from alarm, music, Internet music, whatever
7. Wireless connectivity in my Living Room
8. A system that was upgradeable.
9. Quality sound
I’m still stunned that I found a system that does ALL of the above. (And I’m betting I discover more features – I’ve only had a few hours experience with this all, so my exploration and discovery has only just begun).
I’d forgotten that I’d converted many Battlestar Galactica Recorded TV files recorded using Windows Media Center to mp4 files and stashed them away on a NAS drive.
I just had one of those A HA moments and uploaded one of them to my iDisk in the cloud (which comes with my MobileMe subscription). I had been thinking of iDisk as a place in the cloud to stash files, but not as a streaming server. I downloaded the iDisk app to my iPad (and to my iPhone) and yup, I’ve got another place to store media files that can be served to my computers and iPxxx devices over the Internet. Apple supplies 10GB of cloud storage space (compared to the 25GB Microsoft supplies with SkyDrive, but MS doesn’t seem to have an App in the App store <G>).
Here are a couple of captures from my iPad:
There is a lot of interest in this technology and naturally, accompanying confusion as to what this is and how to get it. Some of this has been driven by a recent Windows 7 was My Idea commercial. That commercial and possibly similar ones, have stirred up things in the past few weeks. See:
What they don’t tell you is that you need a specific computer with Intel GMA HD graphics and the Intel WiFi embedded radio. Initially, three laptops only were initially available, exclusively from Best Buy.
For more in depth info on the technology see:
Dell has just announced an Inspiron model that can be custom ordered to include this technology. You will need to be sure to order or configure to order the right combination of components including the Intel HD GMA video chip and Intel WiFi. And be sure to order the Netgear Push2TV adapter as well.
Intel announced on June 21,2010 that “Intel Wireless Display is now available on more than 25 systems based on Intel Core i3 or Intel Core i5 processors from manufacturers like ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba. It is now available at more than 10 retailers including Amazon, Best Buy,Dell.com,Fry”s, Sony Style, OfficeMax, Tiger Direct, and more. Enhancements to Intel Wireless Display are available for download with the 1.2 software version. This enables people to access an extended display mode for watching a video on TV while surfing the Internet on the laptop. New remote only mode allows you to watch a video with a black screen on the laptop to lower glare and distractions. A new fast cursor improves navigation on the TV. Intel Wireless Display is available on select Intel Core i5 or i5 systems and requires a Push to TV adapter from Netgear.”
I’ve been using this technology since it became available in January and recommend it highly. I blogged about it here.