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MacBytes
Jan 4, 2004, 11:07 PM
As noted by MacMinute, MacSense will start shippingHomePod this week. The HomePod (http://www.macsense.com/product/homepod/) is described as a digital stereo component that allows users to take advantage of their existing wireless network to stream music files stored on their computers to HomePods located anywhere in the house.

The device presently supports MP3 files, and is compatible with iTunes, MusicMatch, WinAmp and other applications by streaming over your local WiFi network. According to the company's site:

The HomePod enhances Apple's digital hub concept, complimenting iTunes and iPod. Think of HomePod as an iPod for home distributed entertainment. The handheld device functions just like an iPod, with the ability to browse by song name, artists, album, and genre.

The $249 unit is reported to be "upgradable" to AAC, WMA, WAV and more, but gives no indication as to possible Protected AAC support -- which is the format provided by the iTunes Music Store.

There have been some unconfirmed rumors that Apple might create similar media-pc bridging devices.

TomSmithMacEd
Jan 5, 2004, 12:06 AM
What does this have to do with anything apple. Or why is it a big deal? Oh well. I wonder how well the product works.

arn
Jan 5, 2004, 12:29 AM
Originally posted by TomSmithMacEd
What does this have to do with anything apple. Or why is it a big deal? Oh well. I wonder how well the product works.

For interest's sake.... potentially cool product, itunes integration. something like this is what some people have been clamoring for from apple.

arn

autrefois
Jan 5, 2004, 12:30 AM
The device presently supports MP3 files, and is compatible with iTunes (...)
The $249 unit is reported to be "upgradable" to AAC. (...)

"The HomePod enhances Apple's digital hub concept, complimenting iTunes and iPod." (...)

There have been some unconfirmed rumors that Apple might create similar media-pc bridging devices.

Sounds Apple-related to me. :)

Ling
Jan 5, 2004, 12:33 AM
Upgradable to AAC? I don't see how this is going to be useful to many people running iTunes 4. At least, it won't be useful for me. It seems like a really good idea...but it's not really developed yet. Hopefully, they will provide better format support in an 'upgrade' ...or maybe Apple will beat them to it!

Doctor Q
Jan 5, 2004, 12:40 AM
I didn't understand how you can use it to connect to a stereo system. My stereo system doesn't speak "iPod". So I read the spec sheet, and now I see. The HomePod has left/right and headphone audio outputs, built-in stereo speakers, and digital coaxial and optical SPDIF ports. So you hook it directly to whatever audio device you want.

dashiel
Jan 5, 2004, 12:49 AM
other than the fact it has built in speakers (which to be honest look a bit crap), and the portable aspect of the design (which is a bit weird considering the ipod already has a better portable form factor), i think slim device's squeezebox (http://www.slimp3.com/), is a much better alternative.

Bad Beaver
Jan 5, 2004, 01:53 AM
So, on the one hand this is really nice. Everyone who ever used iTunes via Rendezvous will agree.
OTOH these devices need to work with MP3, WAV/AIFF AND AAC in order to make sense.
I also think there must be some seriously expensive technology used, leaving next to no money for decent case design, as all of the products I have seen yet are so incredibly ugly that I would never ever consider to put them next to my stereo, or anywhere else where I might have to endure the sight.
B & O produces a very nice answering machine of about the same form factor, maybe the designers of these wireless products should have a look.

adt
Jan 5, 2004, 04:53 AM
Looks like a fantastic product. How and why 802.11b though? I use 802.11g for streaming music, and surfing, and that takes up most of the bandwidth.

If you were streaming music to more than one location a nice mp3, say 192/44100, how do you have enough bandwidth on the rest of the network to do other stuff, share internet etc?

It seems designed to use existing an existing server's wireless technology (the demonstration shows an old airport), but this seems a bit... 1999. ;)

slowtreme
Jan 5, 2004, 08:18 AM
Originally posted by adt
Looks like a fantastic product. How and why 802.11b though? I use 802.11g for streaming music, and surfing, and that takes up most of the bandwidth. .11g is backwards/parallel compatible with .11b

You don't need more that 11mbs to stream music files (and generally 10x faster than a broadband internet connection), Having a .11g network will give you plenty of bandwidth to use for other devices while this uses very little of it. Streaming 192k mp3 is using ~2% of the total bandwith of an .11b network, but almost 20% of a 1mb DSL line. (i think I got that right)

That said: I think it's pretty ugly, at least in the picture. It seems clumsy and out of place for a home entertainment system.

Skull Leader
Jan 5, 2004, 09:53 AM
Will 192kps stream over 802.11b at only 11 MB/s? My TiBook only has Airport, not Airport Extreme. My AACs are 192, no less. I already hard wire my PowerBook to my reciever to play on my stereo, and have a secondary stereo upstairs in my bedroom. If I could get this to happen wirelessly over Airport (I have the card built in, but no base station) AND get an Airport base station for wireless Internet in one unit....all I can say is SOLD!

Hope Santa Jobs announces one tomorrow...that and a cheap 2GB Minipod for the car (which already has an Aux-In :D )

jeremy.king
Jan 5, 2004, 10:19 AM
Its a step in the right direction, IMO.

I have seen and been intrigued by a slew of similar products that are Windows friendly and seriously considered getting the Linksys version (http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=33&scid=38&prid=554) since it also includes an ethernet port.

The jury is still out on a hands down winner in the home theater music streaming device, but its good to see some cater to Apple and its products.

sjpb15
Jan 5, 2004, 10:33 AM
Macsense sent out an email in December which specifically said iTunes Music Store downloads are not supported on the HomePod due to DRM issues. The only AAC it will work with is if you rip your own CD to AAC. Bummer. I'm waiting for the Apple iBox - that will be the component to get.

rjstanford
Jan 5, 2004, 10:52 AM
Originally posted by Skull Leader
Will 192kps stream over 802.11b at only 11 MB/s? Just in case this was a real question...

Yes.

192 kps == 192 thousand bits per second
11 mbps == 11 million bits per second

Now, you won't be getting 11 usable mbps. But you've got plenty, nonetheless.

-Richard

Skull Leader
Jan 5, 2004, 11:14 AM
Originally posted by rjstanford
Just in case this was a real question...


Yes it was, forgive my ignorance. ;) I haven't used the Airport Card in my TiBook 1GHz yet (want to very much!) so I have no idea what kind of practical performance to expect, especially if the TiBook is one floor up from the base station where my secondary stereo is (I hear their reception isn't all that hot on TiBooks, and it's only 802.11b, not g). Most internet radio is 96K to 128K...so I was just hoping that 192kps wouldn't be too much of a draw. If it works flawlessly in practical terms, with the occasional simultaneous web browsing....all I can say is oh baby! Bring it on!!!

frank5050
Jan 5, 2004, 11:26 AM
Great, more options for Mac users.

I'll be interested to see a review or two once actual production units are out there. Seems like this product has been poised to enter the market for some time (and was already released/announced once in a much different form factor).

I wonder what sort of "upgrade" will be required for support of AAC files (software upgrade? flash to firmware? hardware?). Slim Devices products already support AAC (M4a, *not* M4p) and integrate very well with Mac's and iTunes. They have quite a few units out there so many of the bugs have been discovered or are being worked on, this product will no doubt go through a similar process.

I don't think there are any products out there (except iPods and computers with iTunes 4) that will playback protected AAC files.

Does anyone know if any of the Windows compatible digital audio receiver devices (Audiotron, PrismQ, HP, Linksys, etc.) will play back protected WMA files downloaded from Napster, Musicmatch, Wal-Mart, others?

elgruga
Jan 5, 2004, 12:41 PM
This product streams music on a wireless network. Wow.
Talk about idiotic specialisation. Who needs this rather ugly looking thing?

I can plug my iPod into my home stereo right now.
Why would ordinary home users want this thing?

I dont get it. Sorry.


I actually thought it was a hoax.

Paul Turpin
Jan 5, 2004, 02:35 PM
I can plug my iPod into my home stereo right now.
Why would ordinary home users want this thing?

I dont get it. Sorry.


Well - for one thing my iPod 'only' holds 40gb. My music drive currently has over 120gb. So - how do I listen to the other 80 gigs of stuff using your method?

However - I also :
a. think its ugly
c. think it should have an ethernet port
b. think it should use 802.11g in case I want to stream 192kHz/24bit non encoded AIFF to it or even DSD which is like 2.4 mHz!
d. think it should have surround capability

But I'm an audio geek - not an "ordinary home user". Are ordinary home users the market base? I thought those people bought PC's and/or just watched TV! I think the market base for the home pod are mac geeks.

anodized
Jan 5, 2004, 02:38 PM
I know it's a little off the subject - What happened to the Panther feature that allowed you to store your home folder on your iPod? Is it coming back?

appelm
Jan 22, 2004, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by Ling
Upgradable to AAC? I don't see how this is going to be useful to many people running iTunes 4. At least, it won't be useful for me. It seems like a really good idea...but it's not really developed yet. Hopefully, they will provide better format support in an 'upgrade' ...or maybe Apple will beat them to it!

It supports AAC already. Just not iTunes downloaded music. See http://store.yahoo.com/gloolabs/homepod1.html

I think this thing looks awesome. I want one for each room of my house. They should make a shower version!

doogle
Jan 22, 2004, 06:56 PM
I have to say the Homepod looks really ugly..like PC ugly.

doogle
Jan 22, 2004, 06:57 PM
Originally posted by anodized
I know it's a little off the subject - What happened to the Panther feature that allowed you to store your home folder on your iPod? Is it coming back?


YES YES YES - where has this gone? I need it real bad , it would make the ipod more useful and valuable overnight...anyone have any news.:confused: