Wifi speakers Stories December 23, 2015

AAPL: 108.61

1.38

Portable Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days – Amazon lists more than 37,000 of them! Though our shootout should help narrow the choice if you’re in the market for one. But portable AirPlay speakers are rather rarer, pretty ones even rarer and the Sugr Cube goes one step further in its bid to stand out from the crowd: it offers gesture-based control.

You tap the top of the speaker to pause/play, tilt it 45 degrees left to return to the previous track or 45 degrees left to skip to the next.

When I saw this on our sister site 9to5Toys, I wondered whether this would be a gimmick that you use a few times, or a genuinely useful form of control. There was only one way to find out, so I took delivery of one earlier this month to put it to the test …

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Wifi speakers Stories August 20, 2015

AAPL: 112.65

-2.36

If you want a Wi-Fi-based multi-room audio system, you so far haven’t had many alternatives to the market leader, Sonos. Other manufacturers offer their own solutions, but generally only in a handful of products. That looks set to change as Yamaha today announced that its MusicCast system will be supported by more than 20 products, with pricing starting from $250. That includes all but one of its 2015 receivers, reports CNET.

Unlike Sonos, MusicCast supports five different lossless audio formats, including Apple Lossless, FLAC and WAV. It’s controlled by an iOS app, which can stream both your own music library and services like Spotify, Pandora and Rhapsody. Support for Apple Music seems likely further down the road …  expand full story

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Wifi speakers Stories September 3, 2013

Spotify Connect offers Airplay-like wireless streaming with greater freedom

Spotify has announced a new service launching towards the end of the year that offers a new way to stream music from iPhones and iPads to any compatible speaker system. Unlike AirPlay, once you set the streaming going, music is streamed direct from the Spotify server to your wifi-equipped speakers, freeing-up your device for other tasks.

Unlike other wireless music solutions, using Spotify Connect won’t drain your battery. Plus you can continue to use your phone or tablet to call friends or start playing your favourite game without missing a beat.

A lot of big players are on board, including Bang & Olufsen, Denon, Marantz, Philips, Pioneer, Sonos and Yamaha. Some existing wireless speakers will also receive firmware upgrades to enable them to support the Spotify Connect service.

While the ability to be able to take the device out of the loop while continuing to stream music is a nice touch, it’s yet another standard and of course only works with Spotify. You’ll also need a paid Spotify subscription to use it. However, it’s likely that most (if not all) of the speaker systems supporting it will also support AirPlay, so you shouldn’t have to choose between the two.

The service will be iOS-only at launch (with apps updated to support it), with Android following later. Full press release below.

Spotify Connect: the new way to play at home

Today, in collaboration with the leaders in home audio, Spotify launches Spotify Connect – a new home audio experience giving you effortless control of your music across your phone, tablet and speakers with millions of songs built right in. Simple, seamless and hassle-free.

Bring your music home. You’ve just walked through the door, listening to your favourite playlist on your phone. With Spotify Connect, simply hit play on your living room speakers and the music instantly fires up, right where you left off – making sure you never miss a beat.

Then pick up your tablet to keep controlling the music from your sofa, or seamlessly switch the sound to your iPod Touch in the kitchen’s docking station.

None of the hassle. Thanks to Spotify Connect, you won’t need to rely on unstable connections to stream music between your devices. No longer will incoming phone calls, loss of signal range, or watching a video spoil the party.

Unlike other wireless music solutions, using Spotify Connect won’t drain your battery. Plus you can continue to use your phone or tablet to call friends or start playing your favourite game without missing a beat.

Choose your home speaker system. Spotify Connect will be available on a wide range of speakers and home audio systems from music hardware specialists including Argon, Bang & Olufsen, Denon, Marantz, Philips, Pioneer, Revo, Teufel and Yamaha, with further brands coming soon. Look out for the Spotify Connect logo on compatible systems.

“Today, listening to music at home can be a frustrating experience – dropouts, below-par audio quality, signal range and phone restrictions, battery drainage, it’s basically a hassle,” says Sten Garmark, VP Product Management at Spotify. “Spotify Connect solves this by giving you effortless control of your music across your phone, tablet and now speakers with millions of songs built right in.”

Spotify Connect will roll out to Spotify Premium subscribers on iPhone, iPad and home audio systems over the coming months, with Android and desktop updates to follow.

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