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Sony’s PC-AV system

This has been out for over 2 years but with the release of Apple’s Airport Express I thought it was important to point out what Apple missed.

The only thing that makes Apple’s airport express interesting at all is that it supports music. You can plug it in somewhere near your stereo, connect it to your stereo and then play music from your PC to your stereo. Without that feature it’s just a wireless hub which you can buy from other companies for $70.

So, given that the only truly interesting feature is the music feature, is it really all that? Well, in a word, NO. Think about it. You have your computer in the computer room, study or home office room and you have it playing music in your living room. Want to play another song? You have to go all the way back to your computer room. Hands all sticky? Better wash your hands first.

What was Sony’s solution over two years ago? The PCNA-MR1. No, it’s not a wireless hub. That’s best left to a separate cheap wireless hub. What it is is a music AND VIDEO sharing device with remote control.

Plug it in into your PC network and a TV and it has it’s own remote and it’s own software so you can browse all the MP3s, Pictures and Videos on your PC’s hard drive from your TV. No need to go walk back to your PC room when you want to change a song. In fact, if someone is using the PC they can listen to their own music while you, in the living room listen to or watch whatever you want.

Not only that, it also lets you browse your pictures, watch videos and it will even let you use your PC as a Tivo. You can browse program listings from it, select things to record and it will program your PC to record them, from your living room. If you just want to record something you are currently watching on TV you can do that too.

You can even plug in more than one and turn your PC into the house media server. Each one can stream it’s own stuff. Pretty awesome!

  • billy

    A big factor I think that this has over the sony thing you mentioned is it’s portibility factor. Sony’s thing is small, but it’s more like a conventional computer device in that it stays were you put it. With apple’s it’s made to take places. All you do plug it into a wall and connect a ethernet cable and bam you have wireless access wherever you want it. Not to say apple is the greatest and that their ideas or wholely original, but a portable wireless router is a pretty good idea (not sure if they were the first). Props for portability, and I dunno about the airtunes part :)

  • frumin
    Apples and Oranges

    It might seem like you’re comparing Apples to Oranges. While Sony’s gizmo is specifically for multimedia purposes, Airport Express is what it’s called: an Airport. It’s a wireless G and B hub that you can take to hotels, etc. and has a USB printer hub feature. It has a nice, bonus, music sharing feature but it doesn’t seem to compete with products like Sony’s PC-AV system. Just my two cents.

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman
    my point

    I think you missed my point.

    The only thing that made the new Airport Express news worthy was the music feature.  Notice on Apple’s own page about it it says “With AirTunes” sticking out and the very first thing they talk about is “Enjoy your iTunes music library in virutally any room of your house”…

    Without that feature it’s not news worthy.  So, that’s the feature I’m concentrating on.  If that’s what you wanted to do the AirPort Express is the wrong solution. I don’t want my kids to have to listen to the same music I’m listening to or visa versa.  I don’t want to have to walk up a flights of stairs 3 rooms away from the living room to change songs.

    As for a small wireless access point.  Yea, okay, so you can take it to your hotel room and have wireless access instead of having to plug in your iBook to the wall.  Is that really all that news worthy?  There are plently of very small wireless hubs out.

  • DanChan
    Steve Jobs takes a crap, sells it as gold, consumer demand exceeds supply

    I’m joking of course. Apple makes sleek, stylish, useful products. I wish more companies would give design as high a priority as Apple.

    I agree with Greggman about the AirportExpress. When Apple’s new device made the Daypop Top 40 I figured it’d be something very cool, either a new way of doing wifi or a new way of _using_ wifi. It’s a small AC-adaptor form-factor hub. Cool so far. Does that justify costing more that $100? For an Apple product? Maybe.

    But what I’m really interested in, and I know Apple is headed in this direction, is the music streaming ability. The first thing I think of when I see the device is, how do I control what songs are being played? Right away, part of me suspects that Apple cheaped out. Don’t tell me Apple expects me to set up a playlist on my computer in the OTHER ROOM. That’s NOT a solution. I just saw a Netgear appliance with screen and remote for $120 at Fry’s that does wifi streaming MP3 (yes, I know it doesn’t act as a hub).

    So my question is, where is the iPod-like remote control for the AirportExpress? :) (Seems inevitable…)

    Apple is marketing the device based heavily on its music streaming capability, but for me, it’s overhyped and like Greggman said, certainly not newsworthy.

  • MrSony
    SONY WINS

    FOR SIZZLE MA NIZZLE ITZ DA BIG PHAT TILZZLE

    what i mean is that Sony is going to take out Apple

    and by the year 2012 Sony will take out Microsoft.

    Sony will make there own OS.

    and the part “tilzzle” well thats when Sony dies out in year 2030,.