If you have a large collection of digital music or enjoy the vast variety of internet radio, you may have become frustrated by how inaccessible this content tends to be from any room in the house without a computer. Not a problem these days of course, with a plethora of solutions offering instant access to your music and integrating nicely into your current home cinema set-up - without the need for a full-on home installation.
Price comparison:Logitech Wireless DJ Music System More info: Logitech Size: 206x54x15mm (remote), 80x83x53mm (receiver) Weight: 350g File support: MP3, WMA Connectivity: Composite, 3.5mm jack Transmission: Radio frequency (2.4GHz) Additional features: N/A
Logitech Wireless DJ Music System
Logitech's Wireless DJ is a more compact offering than the others on test here, the bulk of the functionality being contained within the remote control. It also uses RF transmission rather than wireless, but despite being fairly unimpressed by the streaming quality offered by this standard in the past we found that in this instance it works very well. To get things up and running you need to hook up a wireless transmitter to your PC via USB and install the Streampoint software to share some folders or link to your WMP, iTunes or MusicMatch media libraries. Any music in the library will then be streamable to the receiver, this includes internet radio stations you have configured in the same applications.
Set-up is a case of following a simple three-step wizard, at which point you should be able to turn on the remote and browse your media library using typical artist/album/genre categories. In addition you can pick up multiple receivers and allocate them to different rooms, which can be browsed and controlled with the remote. It might seem a bit overpriced considering the lack of features found elsewhere in this test, but if it's a straightforward and compact streaming solution you're after it ticks all the boxes.
Compact, everything managed via the remote, support for multiple receivers, impressive performance Minus points
Not a lot else to it
Price comparison:Philips WACS7000 More info: Philips Size: 608x175x303mm Weight: 13kg File support: MP3, WMA, PCM, CD Connectivity: Composite, 3.5mm jack Transmission: WLAN, LAN Additional features: Built-in speaker, CD player, FM radio
Philips' stylish WACS7000 (which you can win here) is the latest from its Streamium series and offers a number of updates including an 80GB hard drive, direct access to content stored on USB sticks and playback up to 320kbps. It's a particularly attractive two-piece unit consisting of an audio centre and station, up to four more of which can be added to link multiple devices around the home. Each includes its own set of speakers and remote control and can be accessed and controlled independently, though more importantly you can connect them wirelessly to synchronise playback.
You'll find an FM tuner, and you can access internet radio and stream music from a PC over a wired or wireless network. You can also rip and store CDs via the built-in player either direct to the hard drive or USB storage, which includes ID3 tag track information. The advantages of the WACS7000 over many competitors is its ability to store your entire audio collection on the built-in drive and stream it around without the use of a PC, although neglecting to hook it up to a network will remove some additional features.
Despite the good looks, some impressive performance from the speakers and a decent degree of audio control, however, we were a little disappointed by factors like the small, low resolution display, occasionally awkward configuration and the relatively high price. Although you're getting quite a lot for your money with the Philips system, it won't really be worthwhile unless you take advantage of all of its features - if you will, then it's worth it, but there are much cheaper ways to stream your music around your home.
Very stylish, rip and stream all your music without using a PC, decent built-in speakers Minus points
Can be awkward to configure, sub-par display, expensive