Logitech today announced the Wireless DJ Music System, a streaming audio device with a unique three-part design. 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 small wireless transmitter that plugs into your PC's USB port. The audio is sent to a small receiver that can be placed more than 300 feet away (according to Logitech) and plugged into any stereo system with a free auxiliary input. The receiver doubles as a charger for the Wireless DJ's third and most important component, the wireless remote control. In addition to the familiar transport buttons (Play/Pause and Track Up/Down), the remote includes an LCD readout and an iPod-like scrollwheel, which gives you full access to your music files, playlists, and Internet radio stations.
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 makes it a big step forward, it 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, Rhapsody, Yahoo Music Unlimited, and Musicmatch. Paid subscription content streams just as easily as any home-ripped music.
Logitech provided CNET with a brief hands-on preview of the Wireless DJ Music System a few weeks ago. Despite the fact that the hardware and software weren't yet finalized, the system performed smoothly, letting us easily choose songs, artists, albums, and playlists on a remote PC and hear them on the stereo attached to the DJ's receiver. If we had one complaint, it was that the remote's scrollwheel wasn't quite up to the tactile response we're used to on an iPod.
The Logitech Wireless DJ Music System is scheduled to ship in September, and we'll have a thorough hands-on review as soon as we receive our final review sample. But we're hoping the system will prove to live up to the positive first impression we experienced. If so, the Wireless DJ Music System may be the closest thing to a "poor man's Sonos" that we've seen yet.