Roku SoundBridge Network Music Player now ships with free Wi-Fi

Roku SoundBridge, the network music player that lets consumers enjoy digital music in any room of the house, now ships with free Wi-Fi, formerly a $50 option. SoundBridge is the stylish network music player that streams digital music and Internet radio from any computer to powered speakers or a stereo system. SoundBridge features a bright, vacuum florescent display and an ergonomic remote control, so consumers can conveniently play digital music, change songs, look for new artists or create playlists, from the comfort of a chair or couch without having to touch their computers.

Roku is giving customers who ordered SoundBridge before today three added value options. They can receive a Roku-tested Wi-Fi card, take $100 off the purchase of another SoundBridge or a HD1000 high-definition digital media player, or get a $50 refund. Roku customers can go to http://www.rokulabs.com/support/wifioffer for more details.

“Roku SoundBridge was designed to be appealing for the living room and kitchen, with a unique display and remote control so consumers don’t have to go anywhere near their laptops or desktops to play digital music,” said Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood in the press release. “Now that Wi-Fi is included with all SoundBridge models, there are even more reasons why SoundBridge is the perfect network music player for any home.”

SoundBridge plays digital music in major audio formats, including AAC, the audio file format used by iTunes software jukebox. SoundBridge is the first network music player that has a license from Apple to make it compatible with iTunes, Apple’s popular digital jukebox for organizing, sharing and enjoying music. This means that consumers who use iTunes can add SoundBridge to their home networks and instantly begin playing digital music, including iTunes playlists, smart playlists without installing additional software.

Roku SoundBridge comes in two models. Roku SoundBridge M1000 is 10 inches wide x 2.37 inches in diameter and sells for $249.99. Roku SoundBridge M2000 is 17 inches wide x 2.75 inches in diameter and sells for $499.99. Consumers can purchase Roku SoundBridge and accessories, including a mounting rack at http://www.rokulabs.com.

21 Comments

  1. Strange…they carry on about being AAC compatible and playing from iTunes, yada yada, but in the fine print of the the product page is:

    (*AAC DRM files are not supported.)

    So what the hell use is a thingee that accepts iTunes streams, but won’t accept songs from iTunes Music Store?

    And what the hell did they license from Apple re AAC when AAC without Fairplay is just MP4, which they wouldn’t have to license from Apple–apparently just iTunes recognizing the SoundBridge unit, since Rendezvous is another Apple branded open standard.

  2. OJ:

    Indeed, your name is well deserved!

    The point of a thing that accepts iTunes streams is that a) only four countries on Earth have an iTMS and b) not everyone is committed to online music delivery preferring the pleasure of the tangible product and c) several hundred million people have enormous music libraries (I know four people who have 7200 discs between them) that they will never replace with the virtual iTMS equivalent.

    And they are the first people to use DAAP in a player, which allows them to feed directly off the shared playlists in iTunes.

    I saw one ‘in the metal’ on at the UK distributors on Thursday and had a chance to play with it before they wrapped it up to go to Paris: it’s sleek and easy to use, and sounds as good as it looks � especially through a large Harmon Kardon home cinema setup. So I’d approach it with an open mind if I were you.

    And if you are committed to M4P format files, go down the Airport Express route. Except you don’t get the ability to have [B]five[/B] players playing individual streams or the large and extremely legible display.

    So you pays your money and takes your choice.

  3. MCCFR:

    That there are some who have reverse engineered DAAP doesn’t change the fact that Apple doesn’t publish the spec.

    From the daap sf project:

    “May 8, 2003

    I have received an email from Amandeep Jawa, Senior Software Engineer for iTunes, who worked on DAAP. He says that there will soon be official documentation for the protocol from Apple, which will immensely help in the effort. In the mean time, I’m still going to be working on libdaap using my reverse-engineered docs.”

    and here we are in 2004, still waiting for Apple to publish the spec.

    As I said, so much for Apple supporting open standards.

  4. Benny:

    But your own quote says “He says that there will soon be official documentation for the protocol from Apple, which will immensely help in the effort”.

    Now it could be argued that if people like DVD Jon and Glaser didn’t persist in trying to ‘break’ FairPlay that Apple wouldn’t have a reason/justification to commercially protect ‘their’ protocols under the guise of a license.

    Your argument – when logically extrapolated – is that a commercial entity with shareholders and employees and (most importantly) partners verging on the paranoid (i.e. the music industry) should make each and every element of its development effort available for every sleazeball to plunder verges on naive zealotry – especially when a certain portion of the population appears to believe that copyright and intellectual property are but mere niceties that do not have to be recognised or observed.

  5. “Now it could be argued that if people like DVD Jon and Glaser didn’t persist in trying to ‘break’ FairPlay that Apple wouldn’t have a reason/justification to commercially protect ‘their’ protocols under the guise of a license.”

    Yes, that could be argued if one loves logical fallacies.

    DAAP doesn’t have anything to do with FairPlay.

  6. In the light of Airport Express, you can’t say that with any degreee of certainty.

    DAAP as reverse-engineered by the various projects has nothing to do with FairPlay. DAAP as delivered by Airport Express and AirTunes must have something (no matter how tangential) to do with FairPlay or it would not be able to deliver the M4P support.

    Also, there is encryption in AirTunes that is supposed to stop the stream from being intercepted by non-authorised ‘clients’. So again – in your world – you would have Apple publish all of this so that Glaser et al could a) squat on Apple’s intellectual property and b) ‘steal’ copyrighted works.

    I would argue that what Roku have done – and I have no knowledge to back this up – is to license Apple’s ‘encrypted’ DAAP to get the right to use iTunes’ shared music functionality, but that their license doesn’t extend to the M4P support which is – as far as I know – implemented in firmware on the Airport Express.

    Bad Apple for trying to protect rights holders. How could they? Do they not realise that open source is more important than anything else in the whole world?

  7. This is kinda like an airport express then? I am not sure I am clear on the differences. It looks like it has the advantage of an remote control but is that the only advantage over Airport express?

  8. “DAAP as reverse-engineered by the various projects has nothing to do with FairPlay. DAAP as delivered by Airport Express and AirTunes must have something (no matter how tangential) to do with FairPlay or it would not be able to deliver the M4P support.”

    DAAP doesn’t have anything to do with AirPort Express or AirTunes either.

    AirPort Express/AirTunes uses RTSP.
    http://www.cocoadev.com/index.pl?RemoteAudioOutputProtocol

    You are completely clueless. Keep up the logical fallacies though, I’m sure your fellow Mac zealots appreciate them.

  9. Which bit of tangential are you having a problem with?

    If there is ever a remote control for Airport Express – which I’m reliably informed by someone in the position to know at Apple is a racing certainty, although it will probably be fulfilled by a third-party – DAAP is the technology that will be used to advertise and control playlists, track playback etc.

    So DAAP data will be sent and received through the Airport Express, and part of Apple’s DAAP spec – which they invented – must be proprietary for competitive or other reasons. Last time I checked, this was still allowed in a competitive capitalist economy.

    I love people like you: you think – because you bought a Macintosh (or more likely an iPod) – that Apple has to share its every secret with you. It doesn’t – get over it. BTW, this is also my opinion re: Microsoft – although the big difference there is that MS uses proprietary IP to reinforce a proven abusive monopoly.

    If you want an open-source alternative, go and contribute to SlimServer and make that a better product than Apple’s own solution – then maybe Apple will adopt ‘your’ vision because of market forces.

    Or maybe you should go and develop for Windows and see whether that’s more open.

    Actually, I don’t care that much – not because I’m a zealot, but because (in the fullness of time) I don’t think your griping will matter.

  10. “So DAAP data will be sent and received through the Airport Express”

    No, it won’t. The AirPort Express is an RTSP server. It receives audio from an RTSP client and plays it.

    It’s the remote which will access iTunes using DAAP and then tell iTunes (probably through a new proprietary protocol, or perhaps through an extension to DAAP) what to play.

    (This will make the remote useful even if you don’t have an AirPort Express).

    “Last time I checked, this was still allowed in a competitive capitalist economy.”

    Yes. Appearently it’s also allowed to lie about supporting open standards.

  11. [B]Commitment to open standards[/B]

    Rendezvous/OpenTalk is an open standard – based on ZeroConf (Open standard, and available as open source)
    FireWire is a standard – IEEE-1394 (an open standard)
    Safari both takes and gives back development info to the Konquerer project (Open source)
    Apple both contributes and takes development info to the MPEG-4 development forums (Open standard)

    [B]DAAP over Wireless[/B]

    I’m in the garage with my Airport Express and my iTunes server is 50 metres away, so my Bluetooth device isn’t going to control my Windows or Macintosh system.

    So now I pull out my 5G iPod for which some smart SOB has developed a plug-in adapter.

    And now my iPod can speak to the wider world and issue instructions through the scroll wheel via Airport Express to the iTunes server.

    But I want my iPod to have a long battery life, which is anathema to an always-on network connection. So the iPod add-on has been developed so that the iPod sleeps unless ‘something’ changes (track/album/artist/playlist).

    Now, unless the Airport Express is seeing DAAP information (even if only as a ‘relay’), how is that going to happen?

    So please don’t tell me that DAAP information might never be seen through an Airport Express unit, because you are talking through the back of your head.

    And, even if Apple won’t release the specific piece of intellectual property that you want, it doesn’t mean that they’re not supporting open standards. It just means that they’re not willing to be the industry’s R&D centre and then have some sleazeballs from the Greater Seattle area steal it as per the last twenty years.

    Every company has secrets: some of them create unique value and need to be preserved, and some of them have the ability to deliver a paradigm shift if given to a wider community to foster and evangelise.

    Developing a proprietary extension to an open standard that you created and which adds value to your own customers without excluding the customers of other companies is not wrong or indefensible. But subverting an open standard so that it can no longer be used as such in a heterogeneous environment, whilst continuing to advertise it as ‘open’ is both morally indefensible and legally questionable.

    I would argue that Apple’s DAAP extensions fall into the former category and that MS’s shenanigans with Java fall into the latter – but feel free to argue.

  12. [B]Commitment to open standards[/B]

    Rendezvous/OpenTalk is an open standard – based on ZeroConf (Open standard, and available as open source)
    FireWire is a standard – IEEE-1394 (an open standard)
    Safari both takes and gives back development info to the Konquerer project (Open source)
    Apple both contributes and takes development info to the MPEG-4 development forums (Open standard)

    [B]DAAP over Wireless[/B]

    I’m in the garage with my Airport Express and my iTunes server is 50 metres away, so my Bluetooth device isn’t going to control my Windows or Macintosh system.

    So now I pull out my 5G iPod for which some smart SOB has developed a plug-in adapter.

    And now my iPod can speak to the wider world and issue instructions through the scroll wheel via Airport Express to the iTunes server.

    But I want my iPod to have a long battery life, which is anathema to an always-on network connection. So the iPod add-on has been developed so that the iPod sleeps unless ‘something’ changes (track/album/artist/playlist).

    Now, unless the Airport Express is ‘seeing’ DAAP information (even if only as a ‘relay’), how is that going to happen?

    So please don’t tell me that DAAP information would never be seen through an Airport Express unit, because you are talking through the back of your head.

    And, even if Apple won’t release the specific piece of intellectual property that you want, it doesn’t mean that they’re not supporting open standards. It just means that they’re not willing to be the industry’s R&D centre and then have some sleazeballs from the Greater Seattle area steal it as per the last twenty years.

    Every company has secrets: some of them create unique value and need to be preserved, and some of them have the ability to deliver a paradigm shift if given to a wider community to foster and evangelise.

    Developing a proprietary extension to an open standard that you created and which adds value to your own customers without excluding the customers of other companies is not wrong or indefensible. But subverting an open standard created by others so that it can no longer be used as such in a heterogeneous environment, whilst continuing to advertise it as ‘open’ is both morally indefensible and legally questionable.

    I would argue that Apple’s DAAP extensions fall into the former category and that MS’s shenanigans with Java fall into the latter – but feel free to argue.

  13. “So please don’t tell me that DAAP information would never be seen through an Airport Express unit, because you are talking through the back of your head.”

    Says the clueless zealot who thought DAAP had something to do with FairPlay.

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