Cisco unveils Linksys Media Hub and Wireless Home Audio

Cisco introduced a home media server, a wireless home audio system, new software and partnerships at the CES 2009. Media Hub: Two Media Hub models are available, with the only major difference being the inclusion of a small control screen on the Media Hub 400 series. The Media Hub is a Linux-based NAS device, which offers media aggregation and […]

Cisco introduced a home media server, a wireless home audio system, new software and partnerships at the CES 2009.

Media Hub: Two Media Hub models are available, with the only major difference being the inclusion of a small control screen on the Media Hub 400 series. The Media Hub is a Linux-based NAS device, which offers media aggregation and serving of Music, Videos and Music to devices around the home as well as streaming across the internet. Backups of folders on PCs around the home can be configured and automated via the bundled NTI Shadow software.

In terms of protocols, the Media Hub is DLNA 1.5 compliant, so will work with a wide range of playback devices and support a host of file formats. An iTunes Server is included so the hub is also viewable within iTunes. If you’re looking for a dedicated media access device, that’s easy for any of the family to use, the Linksys Media Hub is feature rich and rewarding to use. Availabile in March in the UK, North America and Northern Europe, a 500Gb version (Media Hub 305) will cost you $299 for a 500GB version (incorporating a very quiet WD Green Power drive), $349 if you want to add in a small control display on the front panel (Media Hub 405) and $449 for a 1Tb model (Media Hub 410).

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Wireless Home Audio is a collection of devices that connect to your media hub, home server or other storage devices  and can playback your music collection, Internet Radio and subscription music services around the home.

You can choose from three playback devices depending on how you want to intergate the system with other music devices in the home. Director (Pricing TBC) has fully integrated speakers an amplifier and a CD player, Conductor ($449) has an integrated amp, but you’ll need to attach your own speakers and a third device, Player ($299) connects to existing hi-fi systems to allow networked playback from your storage device.

An optional iPod Dock ($80) allows you to control and playback music stored on an iPod, including support for playlists stored on that iPod and my favourite device, a touchscreen wi-fi remote with LCD display ($349) allows you to browse and control any of the Wireless Home Audio devices in the home, with full album artwork displayed and synchronise playback to one or multiple devices simultaneously around the home.

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