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.