Sony’s New HomeShare System.

One of the things I really like about Sony products is they get industrial design. The stuff they make pretty much always looks great. One of the things that has annoyed me about them in the past, is they tend to be fairly closed about their technology, and arrogant about its superiority (think memory stick for their cameras, and Mini Disc Walkman). When they do wake up and realize they need to make products that work with other technologies (think iPod) the results are a solid compliment to any given product.

With CES in full swing, Sony unveiled a new iPod/iPhone stereo system that could rival the Sonos systems that have been around for a number of years. The new SA-NS300 and NS-400 systems are really nice looking units that use wireless network speakers designed to broadcast tunes from a variety of sources such as DLNA-enabled PCs or BRAVIA internet music services found on Sony’s latest Blu-ray players. And while Sony has put their product first, they have also embraced Apple’s new Air Sharing so that iPhones and iPods can join in when placed in HomeShare compatible NAS-SV20i and NAC-SV10i docks.

iPod/iPhone dock

Like any number of Sony products, these go far enough beyond the capabilities of a standard remote, so Sony is also introducing the HomeShare-friendly touch screen RMN-U1 Wi-Fi universal remote. The remote allows you to send music through out the networked HomeShare system, and serves up things like Album art, Lyrics, Liner notes etc. Unfortunately, the remote is bought separately and will set you back an additional 300 bucks.

HomeShare Remote.

From the sound of the press release, it looks as though Sony has set this up to zone your network so you can send media to every room or specific rooms, which is a definite plus. The system uses standard 802.11b/g WiFi so it should be compatible with any wireless network you have in your home.

The Subwoofer. Why is there a button called "Party" on this?

The best part of this is the price point. Sony says that this will be available in March for $200.00 to $300.00. Better than Sonos or many of the competing products on the market today. And since it is Sony, you can bet the build quality is going to be solid, and the software is going to be well thought out.

This March I am going to have to head to a Sony Style store and check these out in person.

Wireless Speakers

iPad Where is the Streaming Media Option?

I have a simple request for Apple. I want to stream the music I bought on my iPad to my remote speakers, via my Airport Express. This seems like a no-brainer to me. There are times when you either don’t want to, or can’t plug in to the headphone jack on your iPad or iPhone. Both devices have WiFi, both devices can receive streams from a computer, so why has Apple shut out the “streaming from” feature on iOS devices? I have scoured the internet looking for a software solution, and frankly I am coming up short. There are loads of discussions, but no real solutions unless I jailbreak both devices.

There are things like Airfoil, and Cerulean RX, but Airfoil won’t stream from the phone or the pad, and Cerulean’s solution is a bluetooth hardware dongle that plugs into the connector slot on both devices. It works but it costs 90 bucks, and it’s one more thing to have to have on hand. I mean how hard would it be to simply connect to the airport via your iPad or iPhone, and say I want to play music via the remote speakers on that network? If anyone knows how to do this with software, please let me know.

Come on Apple show us the money, it’s not like people are asking for Flash support or anything.

Michiel Cornelisson’s Pod à Porter.

Last night while I was mowing the lawn in the oppressive Kansas City heat, I was thinking about a better way to lug my iPod around. Something that would free it from my pocket, or belt and not strap to my arm. Well today I think I might have stumbled on something; Pod à porter neckband for iPod shuffle. This is perfect for me, except that I would have to buy an iPod shuffle to make it work. Based on the design of the thing, forking over 79 bucks for a 4 gig iPod shuffle might make it worth my time.

This is a simple elegant solution that manages cables, and allows the iPod to rest around your neck negating the need for clips and straps. When I saw this my first thought was this would be great while mowing, but on second thought, it’ll be better while rowing by keeping the cables away from my moving arms and folding body.

Pod à porter is $27.00 and available here.