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Altec Lansing Adds Wireless Multizone System

1/10/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS – Altec Lansing is expanding
its tabletop-audio selection with a
wireless multizone-audio system that uses
PCs, Android devices, and mobile Apple
devices as system controllers and as music
sources.

The first product incorporating the company’s
wireless multizone technology is the
MN5000 single-chassis tabletop speaker,
but the company promised other types of
products as well, possibly including amplifiers
that drive any pair of passive speakers.

The system offers capabilities not available
with Apple’s AirPlay, including the
ability to stream different songs simultaneously
to different rooms from a PC. In
addition, users can stream music from
one handheld device to more than one
speaker at a time, and a PC can stream
more than one song at a time while multiple
handheld devices simultaneously
stream songs, the company said.

The handheld devices, however, are designed
mainly to serve as system controllers,
the company said. From a handheld
device as well as from a PC, users find
music sources within the home and command
different networked speakers to
play the content, which can include Internet
music services. From handheld devices,
users also choose songs to play from
a networked PC and control the functions
of speakers placed throughout the house,
including volume and ability to link up multiple
speakers for “party mode” playback.

Another Altec feature unavailable with
AirPlay is a “now playing queue,” enabling
multiple devices in a home to add a song
to a play cue.

The handheld devices and PCs also
command the tabletop speaker to go out to
the web to access Internet radio stations.
For the system to work, users must install
Altec software on their PC and mobile
devices.

It uses Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and DLNA,
which provides device discovery, basic
device control, browsing of music sources,
and the means to stream files. To that,
Altec adds multizone and multi-room capabilities,
distributed play cue, and a user
interface that lets usersfind music faster
than they could with DLNA’s interface, the
company said. Altec also adds the ability
to browse Cloud-based music sources.