June 6th, 2009
I’ve ordered the SoundBridgeRadio. I spent some time looking over its website, and it really impressed me for several reasons:
- It’s one all-in-one device with Wifi, FM and AM tuners, speakers, even an SD card slot and atomic clock shortwave receiver.
- It has explicit support for Linux. Roku actually sponsors the Firefly Media Server (package mt-daapd in Debian), which will serve up music to this and other devices. They also can stream from SlimServer. In general, it supports any UPnP AV server.
- They publish specs for just about everything: the TCP-based Roku Control Protocol that lets you control the SoundBridge remotely; user-editable localization files; even detailed IR specs for the remote control. The only other thing I could wish for would be the firmware on the device itself being Free.
- Their manual has a “Hey geeks, read this!” section describing telnetting to a port. People are doing some fun stuff with it.
The N800 is also a good suggestion. It has an FM tuner built-in, and of course is capable of streaming media files. I have an N810, and I just don’t think a device this size would be capable of playing loudly enough for a kitchen. So I’d have to get external speakers, and then we’re into a mess of wires and stuff — making it less portable to other rooms in the house.
One person also suggested a Chumby. It sounds like an awesome gadget, but I couldn’t find anything on their site that indicated that it could stream music from my own server. From the Internet or an iPod, yes, but not from my server.
Thanks to everyone for your ideas. I’ll post a review of the SoundBridge Radio when I get it.