If the dream of unlimited access to the world of music intrigues you, the latest home devices from Logitech and Sonos are worthy of inspection.
More versatile in audio spheres than a portable Zune HD or iPod Touch, these network music devices connect via Wi-Fi wireless or hardwired Ethernet connection to your broadband service, then pull in Internet radio stations by the thousands - plus all the riches of on-demand and subscription services like Rhapsody, Last. FM, Slacker, Pandora and Sirius, as well as music stored on your computer.
SQUEEZE ME: The Logitech Squeezebox Radio ($199.99) delivers all that in a remarkably small, bright-sounding box - the perfect bedroom clock radio for the Internet age. This mighty mite also becomes the brand's first Wi-Fi portable radio when a rechargeable, 6-hour battery pack ($50) arrives next month.
Coincidentally, Logitech has just enhanced the on-screen (color) menu software and added new apps, making it easier to find the needle in the haystack - be it the latest from Ghostface Killah, a Squeezebox-exclusive Queen stream, a fave high-tech podcast, or new "apps" that let you share with Facebook friends or download Flickr images.
Better still, the growing family of Squeeze-box products can be synced to play the same music around the house or go their own separate ways, with one account to a music service good for any and all.
THE SOUND OF SONOS: A few months back, Sonos downsized its network music players - the ZonePlayer 90, which connects to a home stereo, and the amplifier-equipped ZonePlayer 120, which requires just speakers to raise a ruckus.
Now Sonos has rethought the wireless controller that runs the whole show. The new CR200 ($350) is an absolute charmer, literally putting a world of music in your hand. While a Sonos app for the iPhone and iPod Touch duplicates most functions, the CR200 is fully dedicated to the cause of multiroom music control.
The menu is super intuitive; the device reacts at lightning speed to commands tapped on the razor-sharp 3.5-inch touch screen, and the remote even updates itself automatically when new features and services are added.
Sonos' "best buy" is the Bundle 250 ($999) which combines a CR200, ZP90 and ZP120.
- Jonathan Takiff