Spotify rolls out Connect feature for improved "whole home" experience

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 11:15am

Spotify, the leading on-demand music subscription service in the U.S., is launching Spotify Connect, a new feature that makes it easier to use and control the service on various devices around the house.

The "Connect" button now appears on the iOS app, and with it, the listener can seamlessly change the source of their Spotify music from handsets to different Wi-Fi-connected home devices (from 10 different manufacturers). It's an integration of the traditional music service with the in-home hardware systems like Sonos and the no-longer-supported-by-Logitech Squeezebox.

"It's important to note that you'll need a Premium Spotify subscription to use Connect," writes TheVerge. "That makes the feature another exclusive the company's using to try and convert free users to premium subscribers as it looks to reach profitability..."

Read more in TechCrunch here and TheVerge here.

CNet: Logitech latest tabletop Wi-Fi radio a great pick, unless you own a smartphone

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 1:20pm

Logitech UE Smart RadioBack in August, Logitech released a new line of Internet radio-friendly audio devices, from Bluetooth boomboxes to the UE Smart Radio: a tabletop Wi-Fi radio that succeeds the earlier Squeezebox Radio (more RAIN coverage here).

The UE Smart Radio is definitely a step up over the Squeezebox Radio, says CNet in a new review of the device. "But that doesn't necessarily mean it's the right compact music system for your home." Sure, the UE Smart Radio offers Spotify, Pandora, MOG, Slacker, TuneIn, Last.fm and more. And its "great sound," compact size and rechargeable battery "make it an attractive compact music system, but you may be better off with a Bluetooth speaker."

CNet explains that with the UE Smart Radio, you're "reliant on Logitech to add support for new streaming-music services, rather than simply using the app already on your phone." Plus most Bluetooth speakers are cheaper than the UE Smart Radio's $180 price tag.

That said, if your life doesn't revolve around a smartphone, "it's a well-designed product and a decent value." Find CNet's full review here.

Sony, Logitech, Netgear and (perhaps) Apple intro new wireless music streaming offerings

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 11:25am

New speakers and devices to stream web radioLong gone are the days when your Internet radio listening experience was limited to your computer speakers. There's now a wild, wide world of speakers and devices to stream web radio (see our story below for a new review of one popular choice). That world expanded today with the introduction of several new devices (and one new rumor from Apple). 

Logitech has launched several new devices including the new UE Smart Radio, "the next generation" of Logitech's Squeezebox web radio players. The tabletop radio can stream Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody and thousands of web radio stations.

Also from Logitech: the UE Boombox -- an impressive and "booming" wireless Bluetooth speaker -- and its little brother, the UE Mobile Boombox. Both are capable of playing music from any Bluetooth-enabled device (including your web radio-streaming smartphone). CNet has more coverage here.

On the topic of wireless speakers, be sure to check out the SRS-BTM8 offering from Sony. The distinctive device boasts Bluetooth and NFC connectivity ("an addition that lets you play music simply by tapping the speaker with your smartphone," writes Engadget). It's powered by four AA batteries (remember those?) "that promise 20 hours of playback time." Engadget has more here.

That's all well and good, but what you if happen to already own some decent speakers, perhaps as part of a home entertainment system? Netgear has you in mind. The company launched what it call the Powerline Music Extender, which boils down to streaming your music around the house using your electrical outlets.

You may have seen devices that share your network around the house via your outlets, but now Netgear offers a device (XSUB2511) that lets you stream music too. The device connects to any audio device via RCA jacks, reports SlashGear here and PC World here. Netgear's sytem supports both Apple and Android devices, even integrating with Apple's AirPlay system for iOS gadgets.

Speaking of AirPlay (click here for a refresher on what AirPlay is), The Telegraph reports Apple's wireless music/video sharing service may be getting an upgrade soon. AirPlay currently relies on your Wi-Fi network to stream audio (like Internet radio streams) and video around the house. But on September 12, Apple may announce "AirPlay Direct," an upgrade that would allow AirPlay devices to connect directly to each other, without the need of a Wi-Fi network. (Apple may also announce an update to some phone it makes that day, too). Find The Telegraph's coverage here.

So what do you think? Any of these gadgets sound appealing? Have a better suggestion? Let us know by leaving a comment!

More choices than ever for Internet radio enthusiasts

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 11:10am

Crosley's Radio RancheroThanksgiving is almost here and if your family is anything like mine, you'll be talking holiday gift ideas while carving up a turkey. Twice.com helpfully has a long list of gift ideas for the web radio fan in your life. Find it right here.

To that we'd like to add a few ideas of our own. First up is the Crosley Radio Ranchero (pictured), an iPod/iPhone dock with a "great-looking, vintage aesthetic," according to PC Mag's review. Find out more about the $200 device here.

For listening to web radio in the car there's always the Livio Radio Bluetooth Internet Radio Car Kit, which CNet recently listed as a Car Stereo Top Pick in its Holiday Gift Guide (here). You can save 20% when buying the device from LivioRadio.com when using the coupon code 'holiday.' AccuRadio (which is run by the same folks who bring you RAIN every day) has partnered with Livio Radio to offer $20 off and free shipping on the Car Kit. Find out more here.

Spar's Zephyr portable Bluetooth speakers are another great way to stream web radio on the go. They connect to your smartphone wirelessly to blast your favorite webcasts. Engadget has more here

Finally, Wired's GeekDad recently recommended the Logitech Squeezebox. Ken Denmead writes that the device is "a very interesting piece of home audio, successfully bringing streaming internet radio into the form factor of a slightly retro countertop-sized box meant to replicate the look and feel of a quality analog radio of decades past." Find out more here.

Got your own great Internet radio gift idea? Tell us by commenting below!

Logitech adds MOG to Squeezebox home music players

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 11:00am

Squeezebox TouchOn-demand music service MOG is now available on Logitech's Squeezebox home music players (like the Squeezebox Touch, pictured).

Squeezebox already supports Pandora, Spotify, Napster, Last.fm, SiriusXM and other services.

You can find the companies' press release here.

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