Over the last year we've talked a lot about Apple's AirPlay wireless streaming feature, but haven't said much -- if anything at all -- about the Windows version of AirPlay, Play To.
That's because until now, no company has billed its wireless speaker as a Windows wireless speaker, which is what Aperion Audio is doing with its upcoming $500 Aris Connected Speaker for Windows. Aperion says its giving Microsoft employees a sneak preview of the speaker today and will ship the Aris sometime in mid-June.
Aperion says you simply place the speaker where you want it, push a button to connect it to your home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and stream audio to it with a computer running Windows 7 or Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
"The Aris Wireless Speaker combines our experience in making wireless speaker systems with the media capabilities of the Windows operating system," says Mike Hopkins, product development manager at Aperion Audio. "The result is effortless listening from any room. Plus, with the new Aris app, smartphone users can choose music from any device on their network and instantly send it to any connected Aris speaker."
The speaker's key features:
- Single-piece brushed-aluminum enclosure
- Adjustable and removable steel base
- 6.5 inches high and 14.75 inches wide
- 100 watts total power
- Six internal speakers (four powered drivers, two passive radiators)
- Three sound modes: natural, bass boost, and enhanced stereo
- Push-button connection to home network using Wi-Fi Protected Setup
- Compatible with Windows 7 (compatibility with Windows 8 pending)
- DLNA certified
- Price: $499
- Availability: Preorders May 8, shipping mid-June
The Aris looks pretty impressive and we suspect it sounds very good, too, with a whopping 100 watts of total power. Aperion Audio, a direct-to-consumer home-theater speaker company based in Oregon, offers a number of quality speakers for reasonable prices, and CNET has rated them highly over the years. Of course, this is a bit of a departure for the company, and $499 is pretty pricey for a wireless streaming speaker, though it is par for the course when it comes to higher-end AirPlay speakers.
Currently, the Aris offers no support for streaming from Macs; this is a Windows-only product. Aperion says that it will stream from Windows 8 tablets (once certified), and the company is working on finishing an Aris smartphone app.
We expect to have a review up when this product ships in June, so keep an eye out for it.