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View Full Version : Linksys is getting in the game



Sike
2006-01-11, 07:24
I am a long time Slimp3 user and now have 9 active Squeezeboxes around my house and connected in different houses via Wireless Bridges.

But the market is starting to get interesting. First Sonos rolls out an ugly system with a !WONDERFUL! remote and now Linksys has entered the game with a "WMB54G". Links:

http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?childpagename=US%2FLayout&packedargs=c%3DL_News_C2%26cid%3D1134692325307&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper

http://www.linksysinfo.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=465

I know that there are others, but Roku Wireless B players don't do it for me, and if you read the forums on thier web page, there are lots of problems with stability.

What I want is a Slimdevice system in my house !BUT! with a really really good remote like the sonos. Slimdevices could also come up with a Squeezebox "light" edition without a screen, for people who want to hide it. Maybe a version with less connections?! I know there are a couple of audiophiles out there who would dissagree, but I (like most people here) have a 192kbs collection of MP3's and only use the analog connectors unless the stereo it's connected to has a spare optial input...

What is the most important is the remote. I don't even care if the remote is a Nokia 770 with software running on it (not a web interface). I just don't want to squint across the room...

Please gods of media players, hear my prayers

PS: What about a slim video player?

rick's cafe
2006-01-11, 07:36
i am rather new to the wireless game,.. but having just got my SB3 .. I am lovin it.... I agree with your comments about the remote.. and before learning of the SB3 I thought that Sonos would have been my best option.. but the beauty with SB3 is that it is open to change.. so in terms of my remote .. I use a sony PSP running on their latest firmware which allows you to connect to a wpa-spk encypted network.. I use the hand held skin and is is great for connecting to the server and using as aa remote.... I agree that a bundled package would be good .. but what with so many options out there it is quite easy to sort out your exact needs... i think the SB3 / PSP remote combo is pretty hard to beat.

Bennett, Gavin (LDN Int)
2006-01-11, 08:09
Sike,

>> PS: What about a slim video player?
for me the next big thing is a Slim like video player
Unfort. I can't see Slim doing it. There are already a few players in the market (Hauppauge, Pinnacle and now XBOX 360) and there are so many formats.

It's a shame because I love the Slim products and do not want to buy a video like device from anyone else, but having waited 2 years I have given up and investigating other solutions.

Ofcourse a video version would also solve the remote issues as you could have a screen based selection - this would be cheaper than shipping a Nokia like remote with the product. Price is v. important.

As all of the s/w is open source the only solution is for someone to write an "after market" program for Nokia etc.

Gavin
PS I know the disclaimer is huge !

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Mark Lanctot
2006-01-11, 08:15
Slim has long said that they would like to
concentrate on one product. This may seem
frustrating for users who'd like to see something
else, but for a small company like Slim, it makes
sense:

- reduced inventory
- greatly simplified sales process
- ease of technical support

They also do not want to expand into the video
market and want to devote their efforts on audio.
There have been many people asking for Slim
video, but I agree with Slim. Concentrate on
getting one thing right. Not only that, the
streaming video market is much more advanced than
streaming audio now. There are dozens of
competitors from some very big names. From a
personal perspective, I never understood what the
big deal about video is. IMHO it's much harder to
get audio right.

With regards to the Squeezebox display, I'm afraid
I'm going to have to disagree with you again. It
is as good as it gets! Supremely bright and
legible from at least 20 feet away with the
default fonts, 40 feet with the large font...and I
wear glasses!

Yes, the remote could use work, but since it's so
easily replaced by a universal remote it's a
non-issue. I wouldn't want to pay extra for an
included fancy remote when the SB doesn't really
need one. And if you want one, there are lots of
good universals out there - and of course the
ultimate remote control would be a Nokia 770.

You really should try out a Squeezebox with FLAC
files. You don't know what you're missing. This
is an extremely capable product with excellent
audio performance, better than most consumer
equipment out there.

Linksys may be a big name in networking, but audio
isn't their core competency in the slightest. I
would be very surprised if their product was made
with the same quality and was capable of the same
performance as a SB.

Sonos certainly pays attention to audio but their
closed format and extremely high cost keep me
away. And I don't like the fact that you don't
have a digital output and have to use their own
amplifiers. I'd like to use my own, thank you
very much...

In summary, I like the Squeezebox the way it is. :-)

Slim would be in danger trying to compete
head-to-head with Linksys. Apple is entering this
market too, with a stationary iPod device. The
very words "iPod base station" would likely
revolutionize this product category and get it
into the mainstream. Slim cannot hope to compete
with Apple and Linksys on their own turf. Apple
has chewed up and spit out their competitors in
the portable market. Slim does have a niche for
itself - making players capable of extremely
high-end performance, powered by free, open-source
software. Apple or Linksys couldn't and wouldn't
meet either of those requirements, so Slim will
live on provided it doesn't try to tackle these
giants head-to-head.

Sike wrote:
> I am a long time Slimp3 user and now have 9 active
Squeezeboxes around
> my house and connected in different houses via
Wireless Bridges.
>
> But the market is starting to get interesting. First
Sonos rolls out an
> ugly system with a !WONDERFUL! remote and now
Linksys has entered the
> game with a "WMB54G". Links:
>
> http://tinyurl.com/dv7xw
>
>
http://www.linksysinfo.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=465
>
> I know that there are others, but Roku Wireless B
players don't do it
> for me, and if you read the forums on thier web
page, there are lots of
> problems with stability.
>
> What I want is a Slimdevice system in my house !BUT!
with a really
> really good remote like the sonos. Slimdevices could
also come up with
> a Squeezebox "light" edition without a screen, for
people who want to
> hide it. Maybe a version with less connections?! I
know there are a
> couple of audiophiles out there who would dissagree,
but I (like most
> people here) have a 192kbs collection of MP3's and
only use the analog
> connectors unless the stereo it's connected to has a
spare optial
> input...
>
> What is the most important is the remote. I don't
even care if the
> remote is a Nokia 770 with software running on it
(not a web
> interface). I just don't want to squint across the
room...
>
> Please gods of media players, hear my prayers
>
> PS: What about a slim video player?
>
>

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

Sike
2006-01-11, 09:03
Gavin: So far for the Video I have a couple of old XBOXes attached to each tv in the house. The Xbox Media center (runs on moded XBOXes is the best player around. i can play ANYTHING)

Mark: I fully agree. I don't wear glases (which may be the root of the problem...) but I just love the idea of being able to control the Slim's from anywhere in the room without guessing what it says on the display..

I'll get a Nokia 770 when it comes out over here. Switzerland is always the last to get these things...

Bennett, Gavin (LDN Int)
2006-01-11, 09:14
Sike,

is that the original Xbox? Does it stream off a server? If so it sounds like a nice cheap solution.
Currently I have an old Pioneer DVD JukeBox which works well but is slow and running out of space.

thanks

Gavin





MAN FINANCIAL LIMITED E-MAIL DISCLAIMER

"This electronic mail message was sent by Man Financial Limited ("MFL") of
Sugar Quay, Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6DU, a Company registered in
England no. 1600658. MFL is authorised and regulated by the Financial
Services Authority in the UK and is a member of the Man Group. MFL appear on
the UK Financial Services Authority register under no. 106052. MFL is a
member of the London Stock Exchange.

This electronic mail message is intended only for the personal and
confidential use of the designated recipient(s) named above. If you are not
that person, you are not authorised to view, disseminate, distribute or copy
this message or any part of it without our consent; and you are requested to
return this message to the sender immediately and delete all copies from
your system.

The value of investments and foreign exchange can go up as well as down and
involve the risk of loss. You may lose more than the amount originally
invested and, in respect of products traded on margin, you may have to pay
more later. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed in this
message are not given or endorsed by MFL unless otherwise indicated by an
authorised representative.

Due to the electronic nature of e-mails, there is a risk that the
information contained in this message has been modified. Consequently MFL
can accept no responsibility or liability as to the completeness or accuracy
of the information.

Whilst efforts are made to safeguard messages and attachments, MFL cannot
guarantee that messages or attachments are virus free, do not contain
malicious code or are compatible with your electronic systems and does not
accept liability in respect of viruses, malicious code or any related
problems that you may experience.

MFL's e-mail system is for business purposes only. All e-mail may be
reviewed by authorised personnel, and may be provided to regulatory
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Mark Lanctot
2006-01-11, 09:14
I believe the poster was referring to a previous
product, the WMLS11B, but he certainly doesn't
have a very positive view of the product!

Slim's *discontinued* products are still fully
supported and functional to the best of their
hardware ability. There will be no new features,
but bugs will still be fixed.

Slim's record of squashing bugs is light-years
ahead of Linksys' track record based on what the
second poster states.

I also notice that there's no display. I don't
have a networked PC on all the time in the room -
it would be a hassle. The SB screen displays just
enough info to be fully functional. I have no
requirement for networked PC control except for
very occasional use.

Cleve wrote:
> Sike Wrote:
>
>>I am a long time Slimp3 user and now have 9 active
Squeezeboxes around
>>my house and connected in different houses via
Wireless Bridges.
>>
>>But the market is starting to get interesting. First
Sonos rolls out an
>>ugly system with a !WONDERFUL! remote and now
Linksys has entered the
>>game with a "WMB54G". Links:
>>
>>http://tinyurl.com/dv7xw
>>
>>http://www.linksysinfo.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=465
>>
>>
>
>
>
> If you read that second link - one of the posters
claims the Linksys
> product already been *discontinued*, stalled in
development, shelved,
> etc, due to various issues.
>
> LOL.
>
>

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-11, 09:19
Sike: try out the large display font. I can
easily read that without glasses. It is *huge*.

Regarding the Nokia 770, Canada may win the "last
to get it" race. :-) And it will cost a pretty
penny here - $500 CDN at least. More expensive
than a Squeezebox, certainly.

Sike wrote:
> Gavin: So far for the Video I have a couple of old
XBOXes attached to
> each tv in the house. The Xbox Media center (runs on
moded XBOXes is
> the best player around. i can play ANYTHING)
>
> Mark: I fully agree. I don't wear glases (which may
be the root of the
> problem...) but I just love the idea of being able
to control the
> Slim's from anywhere in the room without guessing
what it says on the
> display..
>
> I'll get a Nokia 770 when it comes out over here.
Switzerland is always
> the last to get these things...
>
>

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

dean
2006-01-11, 09:40
The WMB54G is a "virtual sound card" product and is similar to the
Airport Express in functionality, except without the access point/
bridging/print server functionality. No user interface, just a
driver for software, Windows only.

An excellent replacement for a long RCA cable, but otherwise not that
interesting.

wei
2006-01-11, 10:27
I also like Squeezebox the way it is, but it can always be better. Didn't we hear "good is the enemy of great"? :-) Honestly, big does not necessarily beats small, but fast can beat slow.

Slim has been an innovative company and it has to continue staying way ahead of others to even maintain its niche market. The reason is obvious: other commodity players will eventually figure out ways to do exactly what Squeezebox does today with a lower cost. That's exactly why Slim should stay ahead by continuous innovation and not play Linksys's commoditization game. Linksys is mostly a middleman, a business based on the ODM model. It does not have a substantial R&D inhouse, and has to rely on Asian manufacturers who have no deep insight into U.S. consumer behaviors to design and develop products targeted for U.S. consumers. The result is evident.

On the other hand, Apple has been a rather innovative company. Despite it's a lot bigger than Slim, it's still a small company in its market segment. And it is fast too. Apple have been beaten many times by itself and competitors if looking at its overall history. It has its dark past: sit on its success in its niche for too long and stopped innovation.

I would encourage Slim to tackle the so-call giant by playing smarter and faster, and continue innovating.




In summary, I like the Squeezebox the way it is. :-)

Slim would be in danger trying to compete
head-to-head with Linksys. Apple is entering this
market too, with a stationary iPod device. The
very words "iPod base station" would likely
revolutionize this product category and get it
into the mainstream. Slim cannot hope to compete
with Apple and Linksys on their own turf. Apple
has chewed up and spit out their competitors in
the portable market. Slim does have a niche for
itself - making players capable of extremely
high-end performance, powered by free, open-source
software. Apple or Linksys couldn't and wouldn't
meet either of those requirements, so Slim will
live on provided it doesn't try to tackle these
giants head-to-head.

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-11, 11:34
Yes, certainly, Slim shouldn't stay put with the
status quo.

They should build on their strengths and do
something no one else does or will want to do.
Lots of companies do video, some do audio, but
Slim is one of them that does audio *well*.

One of the key aspects is SlimServer. Due to the
architecture of the SlimServer/Squeezebox system,
radical changes in Squeezebox operation can be
achieved by software changes in SlimServer. Beat
that Apple or Linksys! And since the software is
open-source, development is rapid and 3rd party
plugins are abundant. A Squeezebox running using
SlimServer 5.x or even 6.0 isn't the same
Squeezebox running using SlimServer 6.2.1.

Another niche for Slim is sound quality.
Commodity manufacturers cannot hope to achieve
their sound quality. Commodity manufacturers
could likely beat Slim on price, but if they
attempted to match the Squeezebox's sound quality,
the cost wouldn't be that much lower because
they'd have to do some serious R&D to come up with
such a product. You can't fit all of Squeezebox's
operations on a C-Media chip...it'll require
serious R&D, specialized, low-volume parts and
lots of firmware development. This is expensive,
even for Linksys and Apple. It's also quite
time-consuming. Slim has a large head start in
this department.

A Squeezebox bundled with a Nokia 770 would be a
great idea. It would be an expensive package to
be sure, on par with Sonos at least. But Slim
would just be a 770 reseller, the warranty and
support for the 770 would be through Nokia, and
Slim would be able to get a volume discount. They
wouldn't have to stock or produce 770 parts either.

wei wrote:
> I also like Squeezebox the way it is, but it can
always be better.
> Didn't we hear "good is the enemy of great"? :-)
Honestly, big does
> not necessarily beats small, but fast can beat slow.

>
> Slim has been an innovative company and it has to
continue staying way
> ahead of others to even maintain its niche market.
The reason is
> obvious: other commodity players will eventually
figure out ways to do
> exactly what Squeezebox does today with a lower
cost. That's exactly
> why Slim should stay ahead by continuous innovation
and not play
> Linksys's commoditization game. Linksys is mostly a
middleman, a
> business based on the ODM model. It does not have a
substantial R&D
> inhouse, and has to rely on Asian manufacturers who
have no deep
> insight into U.S. consumer behaviors to design and
develop products
> targeted for U.S. consumers. The result is evident.
>
> On the other hand, Apple has been a rather
innovative company. Despite
> it's a lot bigger than Slim, it's still a small
company in its market
> segment. And it is fast too. Apple have been
beaten many times by
> itself and competitors if looking at its overall
history. It has its
> dark past: sit on its success in its niche for too
long and stopped
> innovation.
>
> I would encourage Slim to tackle the so-call giant
by playing smarter
> and faster, and continue innovating.
>
>
> Mark Lanctot Wrote:
>
>>In summary, I like the Squeezebox the way it is.
:-)
>>
>>Slim would be in danger trying to compete
>>head-to-head with Linksys. Apple is entering this
>>market too, with a stationary iPod device. The
>>very words "iPod base station" would likely
>>revolutionize this product category and get it
>>into the mainstream. Slim cannot hope to compete
>>with Apple and Linksys on their own turf. Apple
>>has chewed up and spit out their competitors in
>>the portable market. Slim does have a niche for
>>itself - making players capable of extremely
>>high-end performance, powered by free, open-source
>>software. Apple or Linksys couldn't and wouldn't
>>meet either of those requirements, so Slim will
>>live on provided it doesn't try to tackle these
>>giants head-to-head.
>>
>
>
>

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________

Michaelwagner
2006-01-13, 13:14
An excellent replacement for a long RCA cable, but otherwise not that interesting.
LOL! Good for people who *only* pulled cat5 through the walls before sealing them?

Michaelwagner
2006-01-14, 07:39
Regarding the Nokia 770, Canada may win the "last to get it" race. :-) And it will cost a pretty
penny here - $500 CDN at least.

Hi Mark:

The only thing I've been able to find about Canadian availability is "no comment". Is there actually a schedule for availability? And a price? Or are you just extrapolating?

Mark Lanctot
2006-01-14, 10:27
No I haven't heard anything specific, I'm just going
by past "hot products".

I can't find the MSRP for it anymore - it's like Nokia
has changed its mind about selling it. The Nokia US
web site says out of stock and gives no indication of
price or when it may actually be in stock...

IIRC it was about $350 US. After the exchange rate,
add the "gouging bonus" we usually get...$500 CDN at
least.

And that's *IF* it's ever available.

--- Michaelwagner
<Michaelwagner.21mpsn (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:

>
> Mark Lanctot Wrote:
> > Regarding the Nokia 770, Canada may win the "last
> to get it" race. :-)
> > And it will cost a pretty
> > penny here - $500 CDN at least.
>
> Hi Mark:
>
> The only thing I've been able to find about Canadian
> availability is
> "no comment". Is there actually a schedule for
> availability? And a
> price? Or are you just extrapolating?
>
>
> --
> Michaelwagner
>
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