Who’s afraid of Airport Wireless?

13 thoughts on “Who’s afraid of Airport Wireless?”

  1. Why do I have the feeling that Airport Express will still make it to market before the SoundBridge, which has been coming “in 2-3 weeks” for around 2-3 months now? And why do I feel that, like Roku’s other product, this one will be a bit of a
    disappointment?

    Guess that’s what happens when you rip off another company’s software.

  2. Haha! I have to agree with the other posters here about the VAPORBRIDGE. It looks like a large (or giant, for $200 more) schlong – somebody at roku must have a pretty serious inferiority complex. I should start forwarding them my “enlarge you PENJS” offers. Can’t blame them though. They totally blew it with the HD1000 (review here and I’m sure that this product will be an equally flaccid offering.

  3. Please stop giving press to these charlatans. They haven’t shipped any product, their other product can’t even make it through a review without breaking down, and they’ve done everything they can to rip off the open source community.

  4. It is unfortunate that the Squeezebox looks so cheap and poorly constructed. That alone is enough to prevent a lot of people from buying it. Frankly, they could drop the digital display and add video out and make it a very thin standard stereo component size and they would sell a lot more…

  5. You’ve got to be kidding me. “We are focused on software and user interface”? I think that should read more like, “We are focused on [stealing] software and [doing as little work as possible to emulate someone else’s] user interface, but most of the others are [actually developped from scratch](or)[ACTUALLY SHIPPING A PRODUCT and not stringing their would-be customers along]”

  6. Brad, Ralph — The SlimServer software is open source, and as such, Roku are free to use it, no? [This is said innocently; don’t flame me if I’m wrong!]

    TN — I think the Squeezebox looks pretty smart. I have a SliMP3 (used wirelessly, of course 😉 and the display is fantastic, absolutely ideal for remote playing of music. Slimdevices are a clever bunch, are close to their market and listen carefully to customers (just have a look at the mailing lists for numerous examples of that). I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if they’re working on something integrating video.

  7. I come by to comment on the use of the Slim software and am well beaten by the crowd…

    Om – I’d be curious in your discussions how they feel about selling a product that uses the same software and offers the same functionality, but costs more purely based on industrial design. Like it or hate it the Roku (in my opinion) looks very slick but when it comes out, it will probably cost much more than the Slim Devices hardware.

    TV hook-up is not of interest to me personally, so that would be hard to justify as a reason for the cost increase. I imagine the reason for this bit is so it integrates with the TV set-top they’ve been cooking as well, no?

  8. I own a SliMP3 and was the first to reivew the Squeezebox. I’ve seen most networked media players since – the Roku, Linksys, Netgear, Gateway, Actiontec and NONE of them offer the ease of use, speed (this is a really big thing) and sound quality as the Squeezebox.

    TN – the Squeezebox really isn’t cheap. And do you really want to be forced to turn on your TV to listen to music?

    I can’t see comparing the Apple to any of these products though. It is very specialized and it does not have any digital audio outputs. With no TV (which I hate anyway) and no on-device display, it just seems a bit clunky. Nice idea, but just not quite there yet.

    Check out our reviews of these products at http://www.designtechnica.com – I didn’t review the Roku but did all of the others. I personally would have rated the Roku lower.

  9. To Martin Little: Roku are in violation of the GNU public license. They’ve taken the source to old version of the server, and are changing features for their personal gain without participaing in the overall SlimServer effort.

    Jeff Fila: please read the product description on Apple.com… the express does indeed have digital out.

  10. The specifics of the GPL violation have been debated, but Roku’s use of open source software certainly violates the spirit of open source.

    You might compare them to Apple and their use of KHTML for their Safari web-browser. While Safari is a closed-source binary, Apple has become a major contributor to the KHTML project. See Dave Hyatt’s
    Surfin’ Safari for more.

    Roku, though, just grabbed SlimServer code from SlimDevices, slapped a skin on it (created by an (uncredited) Slim user), made their own modifications, and — poof — had server software.

    As for the Airport Express, I think it’s important to realize that Apple’s not yet done. They’re surely testing the waters for this market with something cool and inexpensive and completely useful even without the music capabilities. Add a cool iPod-like remote control and you’ve suddenly got a powerful solution.

    There is room for more than one player in this market. Cool and dominant as the iPod is, there’s plenty of other players selling fairly well and carving out their own niches. The same will be true for network media players, particularly ones that do what Apple clearly won’t do: be open souce, support linux, play ogg-vorbis, etc.

    I’d predict than when things settle we’ll have a dominant iTunes-based solution (from Apple), a dominant “slashdot” solution (currently from SlimDevices), and a handful of WMA-based solutions (the current candidates are probably the Prismiq, the Audiotron, and probably something from LinkSys).

    Roku, likely, will go the way of ReplayTV.

  11. Ah thanks for pointing that out James. I’d like to see how they do it – optical and analog on the same connector. They sell a $39 connection kit. It looks like they don’t include the cables in the $129 price.

    And yes, I agree that Roku is in violation of the GNU public license in their use of the Slimserver software.

    I think the soundbridge looks cool and a 2×80 VFD is nice – but the price of it is crazy. I’d love to pop one open and see whats inside. The only difference between the SlimDevices products that I can see is the CF slot for WiFi. Slim Devices’ implementation of WiFi is much better than that.

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