on Monday introduced iCast, a $299 wireless interface for the iPod that helps it to interface with a home stereo system.
The price of the iCast includes both a transmitter and receiver — the receiver plugs into the home entertainment or stereo system, while the transmitter provides a dock connector for the iPod (multiple inserts are included to accommodate different iPod models). The transmitter and receiver connect without requiring any programming or setup.
The iCast transmitter charges the iPod’s battery when it’s placed in the dock, and tracking and menu controls continue to operate while the iPod is in the dock. The iCast receiver — made in black to match most home stereo gear — also duplicates several iPod functions, so it can operate as a remote control if the stereo is located in another room from the iPod.
The iCast uses the 2.4GHz frequency range to communicate between transmitter and receiver. It employs Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology to search for open bands, to prevent the iCast from being disrupted by interference with microwave ovens, cordless phones and other devices that work in the same frequency range. Soundcast said the iCast base can work up to 150 feet through multiple rooms indoors.
Soundcast also plans to offer separate iCast receivers if you want to connect your iPod to different stereos in your home — the receivers alone cost $129. Expect to see the iCast hit retail stores in April.