Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wireless Digital Music Player

The premise is simple: As the ad copy says: "NETGEAR's Wireless Digital Music Player connects your existing home stereo to your home computer network so you can listen to your MP3 and Windows Media format digital music files - with the great sound quality of your stereo speakers - wherever you like to relax and entertain."

It's a great concept, but not as easy as it seems -

I was the lucky recipient of this player sometime last year as part of a digital home makeover. All I was vying for was a black cap, so it was quite a surprise to win a RANGEMAX WIRELESS ACCESS POINT, a storage unit and other accessories.

Long story short, I set up the software on my Windows XP box; it then pulls in all of the available MP3s creating a massive digital jukebox. So I plug this unit in, hook it up to my stereo in the living room and after countless tries and three weeks worth of tinkering, I could never get this unit to work as intended. Since the unit was trying to play songs wirelessly via the Windows PC unit, the playback would start out nice and then run into a series of digital "skipping" or "hiccups".

It was then I had a technical and yet practical, epiphany moment! Why go to all of this technical trouble to play songs from my PC when I can listen to them sitting at the PC! I mainly work now from the Apple iMac where there are 9600 items in the iTunes library so I have another music source to listen from. Since the Wireless Digital Music Player unit runs through the stereo, why bother? I have all of my CD collection there along with the DirecTV music channels to choose from.

Please don't get me started on the customer support! I talked to a guy in India for 90 minutes; after we frustrated each other, he decided to get rid of me by sending me a new replacement unit which explained the three weeks that I fooled around with this device.

So without sounding like an ungrateful IGMO for winning this nice prize worth $90.00, it now sits on top of the TV as a techno shrine to an idea that doesn't quite work. I really think it's the Media Server software as it has a hard time making a network connection, bloats the Windows XP computer, locks up and sucks up a lot of bandwidth, especially if other computers are on line via wifi.

I haven't given up on it - I could run CAT cable to the unit as a direct connection, but for the reasons above, why bother. I'm positive it will work, but if it does, I have to drill holes in the floor and route the cable in the crawl space. I've got all kinds of wires underneath the house already with phone lines, cable and electrical running all over the place.

For more info: NetGear Digital Music Players

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