Editors' Note: As of February 2008, this product has been replaced by the Logitech Squeezebox Duet. The rating has been lowered accordingly.
Building on the success of its innovative, user-friendly Harmony remote controls, Logitech is applying the same expertise elsewhere in its accessories empire. Case in point is the Logitech Wireless DJ Music System: The $250 system is anchored by a wireless remote control with a built-in LCD readout that allows you to access and navigate digital music files on your PC or the Internet and hear them on your home stereo.
Unlike competing audio devices that stream PC audio over a home network, the Logitech Wireless DJ broadcasts music from a wireless transmitter that plugs into your PC's USB port. The audio is sent to a small receiver that can be placed elsewhere in your home and plugged into any stereo system with a free auxiliary input. The receiver doubles as a charger/cradle for the Wireless DJ's third and most important component, the wireless remote control.
The remote's slick design and superior ergonomics are obvious descendants of its predecessors in the Harmony lineup. The silver-and-black wand is 8.25 inches long by 2.25 wide and nearly flat, and it includes a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery housed in its bottom quarter. Its streamlined controls are comprised of just seven keys clustered around a central iPod-like scrollwheel which has a clickable Enter button in the middle. There are three standard transport buttons (previous track, play/pause, next track), Home and Back keys, and two DJ buttons for building and accessing playlists on the fly. Volume controls, including mute, round things out. The remote sits perfectly in your hand, with all of the buttons and the scrollwheel within reach of your thumb, making one-handed control a breeze. The top half of the remote houses the 2-inch-diagonal square LCD readout. The menus on the bright blue monochrome display--My Music, Internet Radio, Now Playing, DJ List, Settings, and Rooms--again take a page out of the iPod book, each having its own contextual submenu.
The Wireless DJ Music System is essentially a step-up product from Logitech's previous streaming solution, the Wireless Music System for PC. But while the addition of the informative visual interface on the Wireless DJ's remote marks a significant step forward, the DJ also retains two of the big advantages of last year's version: no network setup hassles and no DRM (digital rights management) restrictions. Installing Logitech's new StreamPoint software enables the Wireless DJ System to control a variety of leading audio software, including iTunes, Windows Media Player, and Musicmatch. You can stream paid subscription content from any of these services just as easily as home-ripped music.
Setup is fairly straightforward. First you install Logitech's StreamPoint software, which guides you through the configuration wizard; we used a release candidate beta version but didn't encounter any stability problems. The software looks for iTunes, Musicmatch Jukebox, and Windows Media Player libraries already on your PC, and lets you add any other music-rich folders of your choosing. It needs to index these folders and settings periodically so it can stay up to date with your newly ripped or downloaded music, but you can set it to do so automatically at custom intervals.
Next you plug in the wireless transmitter to a free USB port on your PC when the software's onscreen instructions request it. The software verifies that it's working, and then you basically forget about it; just make sure it's placed far enough away from the PC to generate an unfettered signal.