Last week, I expressed some doubt that Cisco Systems would be able to come up with a multiroom audio system that's usable by mere mortals. After all, home networking is still a pain to set up and debug, and Linksys isn't exactly a beloved consumer name.
Reading John Falcone's preview of the Linksys Wireless Home Audio System calmed my fears a little bit. Not only has Cisco hired some industrial and user interface designers, it has gotten a few things right that Sonos missed.
First, the Linksys system is completely wireless, while Sonos requires you to have … Read more
Network-attached storage servers, in my opinion, have generally not been user-friendly enough. Even the easiest-to-use ones require some getting used to.
This is looking to change with the two new Media Hub series released under the networking giant's marketing brand "Linksys by Cisco" at CES this year, the NMH400 and the NMH300.
The NMH300 series is a budget solution that offers just the core features of the Media Hub, and you need to use a computer to manage the device.
The NMH400 series, on the other hand, features an LCD screen that lets users view a variety … Read more
After hinting at a "digital stereo" product in The New York Times last week, Cisco unveiled the details of its Wireless Home Audio System today, which will be released under the networking giant's "Linksys by Cisco" consumer networking brand. At first glance, the system--which is actually a suite of six products that will be available separately or in a variety of preconfigured bundles--bears a remarkable resemblance to the Sonos Multi-Room Music System. Like the Sonos, the Linksys product has a large-screen remote and offers networked base stations designed to live in several rooms of the house where they can play digital music from networked PCs or online audio sources (Internet radio via RadioTime, Rhapsody subscription service in the U.S., and the AudioLounge premium service in Europe). The Linksys device can also use a "zone" system, so different rooms can access different audio sources, or be linked together for synchronized playback of a single audio stream in multiple rooms simultaneously. … Read more
Networking is a dark art, and putting the word "home" in front of it makes it no simpler. Debugging a home network is not for the faint of heart--the intelligence of the on-screen wizards peters out after the first few obvious fixes, and soon you're checking help forums, running ipconfig commands, and tweaking DHCP settings.
So today's news from The New York Times--that networking giant Cisco Systems is getting into the consumer electronics business--filled me with dread.
The idea of piping audio files from your computer to your home stereo or other audio devices is valid: … Read more