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Logitech Expands Home-Audio Offerings

8/17/2006 09:30:00 AM Eastern

Fremont, Calif. – Logitech stepped up its home audio offerings with multiple new products that include its first iPod hi-fi system with tuner and a second-generation digital media adapter, which is packaged with two-way RF remote that permits remote selection of a PC’s songs by title, artist, or genre.

The tuner-equipped iPod hi-fi system, called AudioStation, is Logitech’s first amplified iPod speaker system with AM/FM tuner and the company’s first powered only by AC. It ships in September at a suggested $299 in black but features white and silver accents to blend cosmetically with black and white iPods. It’s positioned as costing $50 less than the popular Apple amplified-speaker dock, and the same price as the popular Bose dock, while adding AM/FM tuner and delivering a wider range of audible frequencies at higher output levels.

 
 Wireless DJ Music System

“We’re going after the home audio space with products that completely replace the home stereo system for many consumers,” said Wells Brimhall, global product manager for digital music. With that goal in mid, Logitech designed the system to look like a minisystem, packed it with 80-watt total RMS power at 10 percent THD, and incorporated a two-way speaker system using 1-inch dome tweeters and 4-inch woofers. It also features composite- and S-video outputs to display photos and video on a connected TV from select iPods.

AudioStation docks with iPods, recharges them, and allows for remote IR control of iPod functions with included remote. It also features aux input for use with other-brand MP3 players, but the remote won’t recharge those or control MP3-player functions.

In a related introduction, Logitech is expanding its selection of on-the-go iPod speaker systems powered by batteries and AC. The $99-suggested AudioStation Express, shipping in October, is designed for “around-the-house” portability, said Brimhall, citing a chassis that’s larger than Logitech’s mm32 and mm50 AC/DC systems, which are small enough to take on trips. The Express uses 6 AA batteries rather than the internal rechargeables of its two companion pieces. It also features composite- and S-video outputs and comes with remote to control basic iPod functions such as track up/down.

In launching its second-generation system to wirelessly connect stereos to PCs located in another room, Logitech made numerous upgrades, including an upgraded RF remote that lets users select PC-based songs for playback by title, artist, genre and playlist. The first-generation system’s RF remote delivered only basic control of a PC’s music files, namely pause, skip and volume. A spokeswoman called it “Sonos for everyone” because it’s the only such affordably priced system to let users view song menus in their hand.

The $249-suggested Wireless DJ Music System, due late September or early October, consists of a desktop transmitter that plugs into a PC’s USB port, and wireless receiver/cradle that plugs into a stereo, and the RF remote, which docks in the cradle for recharging. It also streams Internet radio stations through the PC and allows for station selection through the remote.

Additional receiver/cradles are a suggested $79. The transmitter supports up to 10 receivers, but only one receiver can play at a time.

Like the current system, the Wireless DJ is Bluetooth-based with a range up to 330 feet in most situations, but the company is promoting 150 feet as offering a “consistent connection.”

Upgrades over the current model include the ability to use the Wireless DJ to switch music playback from one room to another without having to manually interact with the PC. The new system also adds the ability to create an active playlist from the remote itself and to select Internet radio stations from the remote.

Both versions:

  • use supplied software to aggregate all songs residing on a PC, no matter what folder or format they’re in, and even if a song resides on the PC in multiple formats, the song’s name appears only once on the RF remote, a spokeswoman said.

  • stream DRM-protected music by converting it into Bluetooth’s digital format for wireless streaming, she added.

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