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View Full Version : Feature request: Base Station with Attachable Modules



sirozha
2005-12-25, 07:46
This message is for the developers of Squeezebox.

There are a lot of people who need a device like yours for one reason only - listening to webcasts or on-demand radio programs. This category of people is expats from other countries who want to keep up-to-date with what's happening in their home countries. They used to listen to short wave, but a lot of radio stations are now on the web, and the quality of webcasts beats short-wave radios hands down. Until now, these people have been mostly tethered to their computers to listen to Web radio stations. There's, of course, a way to untether yourself by plugging a transmitter into a computer streaming audio from the web, and use wireless speakers or headphones to receive the audio. However, you have to have a computer running at all times. Now, what I've just said is no news to anyone, but I'm trying to make it clear that a device like yours can be used by a lot of people who couldn't care less about streaming music from their digitized music collections. These people are not audiophiles; they just want to get news and information from their home countries.

The reason I made that introduction is to encourage Slim Devices' developers to consider engineering and releasing a product with built-in speakers and a handle for carrying it around house. Your product is definitely superior to Roku's SoundBridge line, but they have released a SoundBridge Radio, which you have no match for at this time. Roku, obviously, cannot compete with you when it comes to supporting 802.11g and WPA, that's why I want to encourage you to hurry up and release a product that doesn't require external speakers.

In fact, I have an idea I will give to you for free. Make one "base" unit that can have different attachable modules. One module would have built-in speakers, a handle, and possibly room for batteries (I don't really know how long batteries would last on a Wi-Fi network). The other module would have a bunch of input and output interfaces to connect the "base" unit to various external devices (speakers, amplifiers, etc). The modules would be easy to snap on and off the "base" unit. This way, you could offer the "base" unit with either or both modules. Some people need a portable device that can stream radio and stored music with decent quality. The portability is important to them. Others, don't care about portability but want the flexibility to connect a squeezebox to a plethora of external sources and value the highest possible quality of the sound. These two categories of people have quite different demands, which you can satisfy with the same "base" unit and different attachable modules.

Another thing I would highly recommend is supporting 802.11a along with 802.11g. I realize the range of 802.11a is shorter, but the frequency spectrum is much wider. There are 12 wireless networks within the range of my townhouse and all of them are 802.11b/g. There are only 3 non-overlapping channels in 802.11b/g. Therefore, the spectrum is extremely congested. I run both 802.11a and 802.11g on my access point, so the clients that have the 802.11a capability connect on 802.11a. Even though 802.11g has a much better throughput than 802.11b, when the spectrum gets so congested, everyone's network performance degrades and neighbors' networks keep jamming one another. So, 802.11a would be a very nice addition. Also, I don't know if it's possible, but if you could make the radio module field-replaceable, the customers who buy your new devices would be able to upgrade to 802.11n when it becomes available by purchasing just the 802.11n radio module from you in the future.

I believe all these suggestions would make your device more appealing to a much wider customer base.

brothers
2005-12-25, 07:52
I walk around the house with SlimServer streaming to a Nokia 770 in my pocket.

- Dennis Brothers

sirozha
2005-12-26, 11:58
I guess, I would like to see something similar to this device:

http://www.acoustic-energy.co.uk/Product_range/WiFi_radio/WiFi.asp

It supports 802.11g and WPA. Also, it seems they are considering supporting SlimServer for streaming audio. So, are you guys going to release something similar to this?

Marc Sherman
2005-12-26, 12:10
sirozha wrote:
>
> It supports 802.11g and WPA. Also, it seems they are considering
> supporting SlimServer for streaming audio. So, are you guys going to
> release something similar to this?

Actually, according to the FAQ, it's "Slimeserver" that they're looking
into... :)

- Marc