Palo Alto, Calif.-based
Roku on Wednesday introduced the SoundBridge M500, a new network music player that’s compatible with Macs and PCs. The new device has been created as a low-cost player that can play music from a computer to an audio system by streaming data a wired or wireless network, and it works with both powered speakers or component stereo systems, and is available exclusively at Radio Shack through the holidays. It costs US$199.
The M500 measures 10 inches wide and 2.37 inches in diameter — the same size as Roku’s SoundBridge M1000 — but features an LCD display measuring 40 x 2 characters, instead of the M1000’s higher-resolution vacuum fluorescent display (VFD). Wired Ethernet and 802.11b wireless networking capabilities are built in. The M500 streams music in MP3, AIFF, WAV, WMA and unprotected AAC formats and Microsoft’s Windows Media Connect software. The SoundBridge can play back protected WMA files from music services including Napster, MSN Music, Musicmatch and Walmart.com — it’s Microsoft PlaysForSure-certified. The device can’t play back the DRM-protected AAC files Apple sells through the iTunes Music Store, however.