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PC-Stereo Links Get Enhancements

10/25/2004 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Multiple companies announced the inclusion of Windows Media Connect and Windows Media Player 10's Janus DRM in their digital-music receivers, enabling their models to stream protected-WMA downloads and subscription-based WMA downloads from PCs to home stereo systems.

Firmware upgrades, were announced for Linksys' current Wire less-B Music System and Wireless-B Media Link, OmniFi's DMS1 Digital Media Streamer and Roku's Soundbridge M1000 and M2000, and D-Link's 802.11g MediaLounge DSM-320 at a sug- gested $169.

In digital A/V receivers, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Linksys unveiled Microsoft-platform Media Center Extenders, which stream A/V content from XP Media Center Edition PCs via wired Ethernet or wireless.

Linksys' Wireless A/G Media Extender incorporates IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g. It ships at the end of October at an estimated everyday $299.

Hewlett-Packard's Media Center Extender is due in October at an estimated street price starting at $299. Wireless isn't built in. With a wired connection, up to five Extenders can stream different content from a single Media Center PC, the company said. Using wireless, consumers can stream up to two programs simultaneously to two Extenders.

Dell's Media Center Extender is expected to retail at an expected $275. Wireless isn't built in.

Media Center Extenders incorporate decoders for multiple audio, video and still-image formats that are decoded by a PC's Window Media Player 9 and 10 applications. Video decoders include Windows Media Video, AVI, MPEG, Windows Media Audio, CD audio and MP3.

Another A/V streamer, Belkin's PureAV Remote TV, isn't based on the Microsoft platform, nor is it PC-centric. Due in November at a suggested $499, it consists of a transmitter and receiver with built-in wireless technology based on 802.11a and Belkin's proprietary enhancements, including quality of service. The package delivers content from connected stereo and video sources, such as PVRs to remote stereos and TVs at data rates up to 40Mbps up to 150 feet within a home. It supports standard-definition video. A user's existing remote can be used to control the main A/V system from another room.

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