Slim Devices' Squeezebox now officially supports the Rhapsody streaming audio service. The 6.3.0 version of the company's SlimServer software, which had previously been available as a beta, was deemed ready for prime time earlier this week. (It's available as a free download from Slim Devices' Web site.)
joins as the second premium audio service available on the Squeezebox. Having tested the new software and verified that the Rhapsody function works as advertised, we've updated our review of the Squeezebox and nudged the rating (from 8.2 to 8.3). As such, the Squeezebox (not to be confused with the ) and the identically rated are now, in CNET's estimation, the two best network digital audio players you can buy for less than $300. The Squeezebox is best for discriminating listeners who will benefit from its support of advanced audio codecs (lossless formats such as Ogg Vorbis and FLAC) and impressive networking features (it supports WPA encryption and can even act as a wireless bridge). The $200 Roku SoundBridge, meanwhile, is more affordable and--unlike the Squeezebox--streams copy-protected PlaysForSure WMA songs purchased from various online music stores.
The Squeezebox and the Roku SoundBridge will have some potential competition later this year in the form of the Philips Streamium SLA5520. It will offer a competitive feature list, including a display (so you can access and page through the music collection on your networked PC), wireless networking support, Internet radio playback, and PlaysForSure compatibility, in addition to streaming WMA and MP3 files, of course. But the biggest draw of the Philips is likely to be its price: just $99. We'll have a full hands-on review as soon as it's available in North America.