Get ready for SqueezeBox 2

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If you love Squeeze Box, then you are going to love the next version of the device, very imaginatively titled Squeezebox 2. Slim Devices is going to introduce the device tomorrow for $299 and will start shipping it by end of this month. The new device has better wifi connectivity amongst other features and has more range.

Bridging–Squeezebox2 doubles as a wireless bridge, extending Internet connectivity to any room in the home. Products such as Playstation, XBOX, Tivo, VOIP phones, and home theatre PCs can now be easily connected to a home network without running ethernet cabling.

But more than the hardware upgrade, it will be upgrades to the server software that are the most impressive. I think, the idea that the collection will use Music Magic and Moodlogic as music recommendation engines and scroll through the music library to create playlist. You can automatically import existing playlists from
iTunes. I think they have added features which like Sonus Music System let you listen to music in up to 50 rooms – either the same files or different playlists. This whole wireless mesh thing is finally beginning to take off inside the home.

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I just setup a Pluto Home system (smarthome + media server). It’s really cool and works great with SqueezeBoxes. Just plug the squeeze box into an Ethernet jack. When it sees the squeezebox request an IP address it automatically installs the slimserver and sets everything up on its own. There’s no software to install at all. And if you have a Bluetooth mobile phone, that turns into the remote control—complete with cover art, access to playlists, etc. Plus, it knows how to control all the other stuff too—so when I start playing music on my squeeze box it automatically turns on the stereo and sets it to the right input.

There’s only 1 problem… They have these interactive maps so I can see what’s playing around the house and make the same thing play in multiple destinations. If all the destinations are squeezeboxes, it’s great. But if some are squeezeboxes and some are media PC’s, Pluto uses slimserver to go to the squeeze boxes, and videolan to stream to the PC’s—and the 2 ‘groups’ are not in sync. They say it’s because the only slimp3 player that emulates squeezebox2 and runs under Linux requires Java. Pluto sends a network boot image to all the media pc’s in the house—that’s how it turns your other PC’s into set top boxes. They don’t want to add the whole java runtime to the net boot image and bloat it just to get a slimp3 player. There are 2 open source C++ slimp3 players that are small and lean, but they are old and don’t support the new protocols.

So, is anybody out there working on a C++ squeezebox2 player? This is the only small piece that’s missing. With that piece this would be a total sonos killer. You would still have a cool GUI with cover art. But it’s even better than Sonos’ because it uses your existing mobile phone—one less thing to lose—and your music follows you automatically as you move throughout the house. Plus it does movies—not just music. And controls a/v equipment and home automation too. And costs 1/10 the price.

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