Belkin’s $149.99 TuneStage II is coming in late November, and turns your iPod into a remote control for your home stereo using Bluetooth technology. It works with the most dock connector-equipped iPods, including second-generation iPod nanos and video iPods.
Using a transmitter that plugs into the iPod’s dock connector, the TuneStage II plugs into your home entertainment system using an included cable. Your iPod not only serves as the source of the music but also, effectively, as the “remote control” itself, giving you access to playlists, album and artist information and all the other content you’ve grown accustomed to seeing.
The TuneStage II requires no additional software to use. It uses Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR technology for enhanced audio quality, and the transmitter also lets you link your iPod to other stereo Bluetooth hardware, such as car stereos and stereo headphones. The receiver can work with other devices, too, such as MP3 cell phones and computers.
The transmitter provides up to seven hours of playtime on a fully charged iPod. USB ports are built in to the receiver and the transmitter so you can charge your iPod without interrupting the music.
In related news, Belkin also introduced the $49.99 TuneCast 3, a new version of its FM transmitter that supports iPods and any other device that features a 3.5mm headphone jack. The TuneCast 3 transmits on FM channels from 88.1MHz to 107.9MHz and stores two memory presets. It integrates cable management and shows a status indicator. It doesn’t need to be plugged into a vehicle cigarette lighter or accessory outlet — it can use an internal battery that lasts 20 hours per charge.