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Wireless music technologies: CNET Top 5

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CNET Top 5: Wireless music technologies

3:34 /

The dock may be dead, but you can still crank your music up with these five iPhone-compatible wireless solutions.

If youÃ?Â?ve recently upgraded to an iPhone 5 or a new iPod Touch or iPod Nano, youÃ?Â?ve probably noticed that it doesnÃ?Â?t work with your old speaker dock. AppleÃ?Â?s new Lightning connector is a punishing blow to your old accessories, and if you invest in a new speaker with a Lightning dock, whoÃ?Â?s to say Apple wonÃ?Â?t change their connector again next year? Fortunately, there are tons of great, affordable ways to listen to your music wirelessly. IÃ?Â?m Donald Bell, and in this CNET Top 5 IÃ?Â?m going to tell you the top 5 wireless audio technologies for your home, all of which are compatible with the iPhone 5. Starting off at #5, a Bluetooth speaker adapter. If you already have a speaker that you like, you can make it work over Bluetooth for less than $30. By going Bluetooth, this is going to work with just about any phone or tablet, and it will even work with the new iPod Nano. Now, it does degrade the audio a bit and the wireless range is limited, but if youÃ?Â?re looking for the cheap way to go wireless - this is it. If you donÃ?Â?t already have a great stereo worth patching with an adapter, how about #4? A Bluetooth speaker. As wireless speakers go, the Bluetooth variety are the more affordable of the bunch. You still have to sacrifice some audio quality and range, but there are some beautiful options out there including some great portable speakers. At #3: AirPlay. Now, thereÃ?Â?s something sad about being driven to a new proprietary Apple format, after the last one just burned you. But if youÃ?Â?re a fan of AppleÃ?Â?s whole Ã?Â?It just worksÃ?Â? mantra, then AirPlay is for you. It works with both audio and video, so you can stream content to an Apple TV, or an AirPort Express router, or a dedicated AirPlay speaker system. The audio quality is better than Bluetooth and so is the wireless range, since it works over Wi-Fi. The downside is that it only Ã?Â?officiallyÃ?Â? works with Apple products, so if your kid goes Android, youÃ?Â?ll just have to disown them. But if you do have a few Android users in the home and Bluetooth feels beneath you, thatÃ?Â?s where #2 comes in: a Sonos music system. Great sound, great range, and a great cross-platform app that controls everything. Compared to other options, Sonos is a little pricey, but itÃ?Â?s a solution for your whole house. From one app, you can put Barry White in the bedroom, Barry Gibb in the kitchen, Barry Manilow in the dining room, and then some Motorhead in the living room just to balance things out. Now before we get to our #1 wireless music system for replacing your old speaker dock, let me make sure that youÃ?Â?re aware of the $5 fix: a minijack cable. Plug this thing into the aux input on the back of your old speaker system and youÃ?Â?re good to go. The dock may be dead, but wireless speakers arenÃ?Â?t cheap, so just get a cable. Alright, and finally, our #1 option is a bit of a surprise. ItÃ?Â?s the Sony STR-DN1030 AV receiver. Is it small? No. Portable? Not a chance. But if youÃ?Â?re like most people these days, the best speakers in your home are hooked up to your TV. You plug this $500 receiver into the heart of it and you can use any wireless music standard you want. Bluetooth, AirPlay, DLNA, Wi-Fi -- it works with all of them. Now, I know a lot of you arenÃ?Â?t in the market for a new receiver, but I had to hand it to Sony -- they threw everything in here. Really, the perfect wireless system is going to depend on your needs and your budget. For a more in-depth rundown of all of these wireless audio options, check out John FalconeÃ?Â?s article, Ã?Â?The Dock is DeadÃ?Â? over on iPhone Atlas. And for more Top 5Ã?Â?s like this head over to Top5.cnet.com IÃ?Â?m Donald Bell, thanks for watching.
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