Philips' line of Streamium products was one of the pioneers in the network audio realm, but it never really clicked with consumers (at least in the U.S.), even as competitors like Sonos and Logitech's Squeezebox began carving out their own niches. But Philips is hardly throwing in the towel: the company has unveiled two new models, the Streamium NP2500 and the Streamium NP2900.
Both models offer the same basic features of the earlier Streamium NP1100: streaming non-DRM audio files from networked Windows and Mac PCs, as well as the ability to stream Rhapsody content (subscription required) and thousands of Internet radio stations (free) over a wireless home network. The new models distinguish themselves from the NP1100 with built-in color screens for navigation and album art and larger remote controls. Furthermore, the NP2900 includes built-in stereo speakers, so it doesn't need to be connected to an external stereo or amplifier.
Both the NP2500 ($229) and NP2900 ($329) are available now. But even without reviewing them, they feel a bit underfeatured and overpriced. Consider the Logitech Squeezebox Boom. While the $300 boombox-style audio streamer lacks the color screen found on the Philips products, it offers a much wider range of both free (Pandora, Last.fm, Slacker, Live Music Archive) and subscription (Sirius) in addition to the same Rhapsody and Internet radio options found on the Philips. Thankfully--like the Logitech--the upgradeable firmware on the Philips allows the potential for such additional services to be added down the road, when and if Philips signs them up.