Intel Compute Stick seems like the multi-room DIY dream. Put it in a receiver and you get digital audio (and video) from a full fledged computer with the size of a (large) usb stick and the power footprint of a smartphone charger. Put spotify on it to enable Spotify Connect functionality and AirServer for AirPlay functionality. Pick your software choice for playing music from the device and your network. I will get back to this type of DIY setup in more detail in the future.
Bluetooth 4.0 is built in. It has a quad-core Atom processor, Windows 8.1, 32 GB of eMMC storage, 2 GB of RAM, HDMI, USB, a microSD slot and wireless 802.11b/g/n. All this for 149$. There is also a 1GB RAM/8GB memory Linux version priced at $89. Both arrive in march.
Philips adds the Spotify Multiroom Adapter SW100M to its existing Spotify Connect lineup.
The adapter can be connected to existing audio systems through analog (RCA) or digital (coaxial, optical). Then you’ll be able to send music from your Spotify app on your smartphone to the adapter or send it to more than one Philips speaker/adapter in party mode.
It launches in Spring 2015.
Harman Kardon has a new addition to its Omni family of wireless audio products. The Omni Bar is a 2.1 soundbar and has its own wireless subwoofer. The system will cost $800 and arives in April 2015.
The Omni Bar connects to a TV through digital optical or HDMI, and connects to your home wi-fi network. It’s controlled with Harman Kardon’s Controller App. You can stream the same audio (including TV audio) to the rest of the Omni speakers in your system. As the rest of the Omni family, it supports playback of 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution audio.
The Omni system also gets more compatible services including Tidal, Qobuz, Tunein, Rhapsody and Juke, made available in April 2015.
Sony announces multiple speakers, support for Google Cast and a new Song Link app to control them with in a multi-room environment, up to 10 wireless speakers/devices.
Among them, the new Sony SRS-X99 wireless speaker that has Hi-Res audio, 154 Watts, supports Google Cast, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth and NFC. The SRS-X99 also supports Hi-Res audio up to 24bit/192kHz.
Sony uses a new LDAC codec that, they claim, transmits data three times more efficiently than Bluetooth.