TechWeb

New Music Appliance Makes Tunes Available From Anywhere

Feb 24, 2005 (04:02 PM EST)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=60403407


A new company called MP3tunes today introduced a new music appliance called MP3beamer, which organizes a music collection in one location, then makes the music accessible from almost any device or location. Users can quickly store their CD collection and MP3 libraries, then organize the music and construct custom playlists. Once stored to MP3beamer, the music is universally accessible from computers, home stereos, PDAs, and portable devices including iTunes software and iPod players via iTunes.

MP3beamer is available for $399 hardware version or a $69.95 software version downloadable from the company's web site.

MP3beamer enables users to combine computer files and CDs into an organized library. CDs can be added by inserting them into the CD-ROM drive without additional user interaction. It takes three to four minutes to rip a CD, including automatic detection of artist, album and track titles. Tracks are recorded in MP3 format at high-quality 192kbps. Once it is completed saving, the CD is auto-ejected, making the MP3beamer ready to rip another CD. Individual MP3s can be copied to MP3beamer over the Internet or be transported via USB devices for import into a music library. Tracks purchased from online music retailers such as MP3tunes and emusic can also be loaded into MP3beamer. Once music is stored, songs can be sorted by genre, artist, and album, and users can construct their own personalized playlists.

A wide range of software, hardware and music devices can connect to MP3beamer with each playing different songs simultaneously. Users of the popular music manager iTunes can stream music from MP3beamer on both Microsoft Windows XP and Macintosh OS X computers by simply clicking on "MP3beamer" in the left-hand column. MP3beamer also supports a Web and Java interface, so virtually any Internet-connected device can connect and play music.

MP3beamer has several options for offline or remote music playback. For Microsoft Windows users, MP3beamer comes with MP3beamer Sync, a unique program that can be used to sync music on MP3beamer to laptop or desktop computers - making playback possible without an Internet connection. The Sync software also enables iPod syncing via iTunes. Linux users can take advantage of Lsongs music manager for streaming access to music as well syncing capabilities. Wireless access to MP3beamer is possible using WinCE and Palm-based PDAs.

MP3beamer can also play music in every room of the house over a WiFi or wired network using a low-cost media receiver. These wireless devices connect to MP3beamer without any special configuration, making it easy to connect to an existing home stereo, entertainment center, or wireless boom box in any room of the home or even outside. Each device can operate independently, and users can select, play, pause, fast-forward, rewind, and mute different musical selections simultaneously using the remote control that is included with the receiver. MP3beamer supports more then a dozen popular media receivers, but Linksys or SMC units are recommended.

MP3beamer uses the latest Linspire operating system (included with purchase of MP3beamer) and uses Lsongs as the music manager program to add music. This software handles all aspects of music collection, including importing existing music files and automated ripping of CDs. MP3beamer, Lsongs and MP3beamer Sync are all installed via Linspire's CNR Warehouse with one click and can be updated in a similar fashion.