I’ve been a fan of Logitech’s Squeezebox family of networked music players for some time. More than five years ago, we discovered the original SLIMP3, which gave you access to your iTunes music library from within your stereo cabinet. The line was modernized with the Squeezebox. Now, at long last, there’s a version with an integrated amplifier and speakers, targeted not for the stereo but for a place of honor next to your bed as your Internet-enabled alarm clock and music player—and it’s called Squeezebox Boom.
Despite the name, the Squeezebox Boom is not the size of a boom box, as you’ll see in this video. It’s much smaller. The sound is good, the pre-set buttons let you play back Internet radio stations, playlists, or artist shuffles with ease… and it’s really cool to be able to wake up to an Internet Radio stream instead of buzzy old A.M. radio or, worse, a loud and droning beep. The device uses wi-fi (or optionally, Ethernet) to connect to a Mac or PC on your network with a nice collection of MP3s.
If you’ve had a hard time picturing what one of these players would look like and how it works, I hope you’ll take this brief video tour with me. The Squeezebox Boom costs $299, and for more information, visit its home on the web at slimdevices.com
Macworld Video #79
- Format: MPEG-4/H.264
- Resolution: 432 x 320 (iPhone & iPod compatible)
- Size: 13.3 MB
- Length: 5 minutes, 1 second
One important note: If you’ve got a large collection of protected iTunes music, this product isn’t for you. It doesn’t play back protected iTunes music. As a result, I refuse to buy protected iTunes music. If I can’t buy it as an iTunes Plus track, I buy it from Amazon.com MP3 instead. I’ve converted all my protected iTunes tracks by ripping them to CD and then back into MP3s, or via a third-party utility such as Requiem.
Everybody always asks me how these products compare to iPod docks. They don’t. iPod docks are for when you want to stick your iPod somewhere and listen to music played off of it—I do that, too. But the idea with these players is, you’ve got your iTunes library somewhere else on your network, but you want it to play out of speakers in a particular place. Yeah, you could copy them all to an iPod. But you have to walk over to the iPod in order to choose what playlist to play. These devices have a bright screen that you can see from across the room, and an infrared remote that lets you pick what to play next.
(Yes, using an AirPort Express or Apple TV and an iPod Touch is another way to go. Though I don’t always have my iPhone with me when I want to hear music and investing in an iPod touch just to run the Remote app seems like overkill to me. Your mileage may vary.)
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