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Oh, the woes of wires. Unless you live in a studio apartment, playing your music throughout your home may seem like a complicated process involving long runs of unsightly wires, holes drilled in walls, and expensive custom work. And nobody wants to deal with doing it.
The good news is that there are several wireless music distribution systems on the market that are perfect for getting music throughout your home. And they're easy to set up all by yourself.
So how does it work? First you need access to your digital music, which can be music stored on a computer or the Internet. Online you'll find thousands of Internet radio stations (no fee) and online music services like Rhapsody ($12.99 per month) and Pandora (free). So, one component in a wireless audio system will connect--wired or wirelessly--to either your broadband router or your computer. To send music to other rooms in your home, wireless music systems use either Wi-Fi networks, their own proprietary networks, or a combination of the two.
In each room where you want to listen to music, you’ll need a receiver unit from the music system, a pair of speakers, and an amplifier. The amplifier could be built into the receiving unit, into the speakers, or as a standalone piece. And if you’re starting fresh, you can opt for an all-in-one solution. So no matter your needs, there's a solution for you.
Cisco Linksys Wireless Home Audio Premier Kit ($1,000) The 2-room premier kit includes one DCM250 Director that streams music from your PC (via a connection to your wireless router) and from online music services; one DCM100 player that extends your music system to another room that has an existing stereo or powered speakers; and one DMWR1000 Controller for wireless control of the whole system anywhere in the house. The DCM250 Director, which serves as the transmitter, also includes a stereo amplifier so you just have to add speakers.
Sonos Bundle 150 ($999) This bundle is a starter pack that gives you two rooms (or zones, as Sonos calls it) of entertainment. It connects to your PC or your broadband network to access online music services. With the 150 bundle you get one amplified ZonePlayer (for unamplified speakers), one unamplified ZonePlayer ( for powered speakers, or connecting to an existing stereo system) and a handheld controller with a nifty color LCD touchscreen to guide you to your music.
Logitech Squeezebox Duet ($399) The Duet uses your existing broadband network to pull music from online music services or your computer. The receiving unit in the two-piece system connects to powered speakers or your existing stereo. Additional receiving units can be purchased for $149.