Logitech revamps Squeezebox as Duet
Harmony-influence remote control comes to the fore
CES Say hello to the Squeezebox 4. It's actually called the Squeezebox Duet, and it's the first version of the networked music player released since Slim Devices was snapped up by Logitech.
Logtech's Squeezebox Duet receiver: musical box
The Swiss mouse maker's influence is clear: the new remote control – now equipped with a 2.4in colour display in place of the screen on the Squeezebox – is reminiscent of Logitech's Harmony universal remote control series.
Logitech's Squeezebox Duet remote: shades of Harmony?
The remote is an equal partner now, growing in status from a point-and-press tool to become the business end of the system. The Squeezebox itself is now just the receiver – that's even what the unit's now called.
Once again, the player uses 802.11g Wi-Fi – no 802.11n upgrade just yet – but now it's much more of a multi-room system with multiple receivers able to be operated by one remote control, an approach taken by the Squeezebox's main rival, the Sonos Digital Music System.
The Squeezebox 3 isn't being superseded by the Duet, and indeed the new remote works with both the older machine and the company's high-end box, the Transporter. The Squeezebox 3 is now known simply as the Squeezebox.
The Duet is due to go on sale in the US and UK later this month for $400 (£200). Extra receivers cost $150 (£80) and the remote on its own will be priced at $300 (£150).
Can it now handle RealAudio streaming (as used by BBC Radio) without requiring some software running on a server? Even Dixon's 50 quid Logik IR100 can do this, but the lack of this feature has always stopped me buying a SqueezeBox in the past.
@Could be good
Remember what happened to the "IR Blaster" feature in the Squeezebox 3 where you could hook up an infra-red blaster to the headphone socket and have the SB3 relay IR commands over your WiFi network to remote IR devices?
To me it sounded like a great idea, but it was never really implemented to anyones satisfaction and is in fact now dropped on the new Squeeze Receiver (it has no headphone port).
I love my Squeezebox and I love open source but I am under no illusion that open source will deliver every time and save the day. So for a company to charge a premium for powerful hardware that will only be fully utilised IF the open source community delivers the goods seems somewhat like a p1ss take, not to mention a major gamble.
Logitech should reduce the price of the remote to something more reasonable, or upgrade the functionality. Depending on the open source community to make up the value add seems a risky option.
Could be good.
"much of it's power will be left to the community to implement"
but if it's anything like the rest of the Squeezebox that's likely to come pretty quickly. I requested a feature on when i first got my squeezebox and someone implemented it as a plugin within a day or two.
I might well add one of these to my collection - the remote will be a great improvement to navigating the Squeezebox itself in the Living Room and the display-less receiver would work in the office where i can access it over the web interface (or get the other remote). The cradle is a good idea - one thing the Nokia really could use.
A lot will actually depend on the remote implementation. The original Nokia tablet is a pretty frustrating experience at the moment with slimserver as it's not very responsive.
and it's got a scroll wheel....
now i think i am sold.
I don't dispute the remote control is powerful, but much of it's power will be left to the community to implement (ie. IR support for other devices) which basically means there's a good chance that it's power will not be utilised at all. For $299 I would expect more capability out of the box and not leave so much to chance.
The lack of buttons is the biggest problem though, it really does restrict it to Squeezebox duties and not much else. I have a Squeezebox/3 and can't see myself forking out $299 for one of these, whereas if I were buying a Squeezebox from scratch I would consider it - so realistically it may only appeal to new buyers, or existing owners with multiple Squeezeboxen already installed. Existing single SB3 owners are unlikely to be tempted due to the high price/restricted functionality.
But if it had more buttons, and could control the rest of my AV kit I'd be very, very tempted.
If they released the application running on this remote on my Nokia Internet Tablet (after all, the remote is just a WiFi enabled ARM computer running the SqueezeOS interpreting Lua) I'd be interested in paying for the software, say anything up to $30. But the Logitech hardware is overpriced for what it is - the Nokia N800 is a more capable ARM computer and can be had for $230.