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PC World

Reroute MP3 to your stereo

September 1, 1999
Web posted at: 12:05 p.m. EDT (1605 GMT)

by Mark Brownstein
message board MESSAGE BOARDS:
MP3: The new wave

(IDG) -- X10 Corporation has done it again. It's given one of its older products a new purpose in life. First it was DVD Anywhere; now it's MP3 Anywhere.

The idea behind any of these products is to combine the musical capabilities of your computer and your stereo, and use each for what it does best.

MP3 Anywhere, released in late August, is a moderately repurposed version of DVD Anywhere. In turn, DVD Anywhere is a refocused version of X-10's video and audio transmitter/receiver combination, with a wireless mouse added.

This may sound somewhat confusing, but it doesn't mean anything is wrong with the products or the X10 approach. Instead, it shows the versatility of some basic products with minor changes and application-specific enhancements.
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MP3 Anywhere has three basic components: a 2.4-GHz transmitter, a 2.4-GHz receiver, a Wireless MouseREMOTE, and a piece of software called Boom. The package costs $88, and you can buy it directly from the X10 Web site.

The basic idea behind MP3 Anywhere is that you can connect the audio from your computer's stereo line out to the transmitter. You then attach the receiver to the stereo in your living room, den, or wherever you have a high-quality receiver and better speakers than on your computer. The transmitter and receiver use one of four channels to transmit video and stereo audio between them.

Using the MouseREMOTE, you can now play MP3 audio on your computer, and hear the sound through your stereo system.

MP3 Anywhere costs less than portable MP3 players. But it gives you access to all the MP3 or other audio files in your computer, and lets you listen through any sound system you choose.

As with DVD Anywhere, you can also view DVD or any video that your computer can produce, if your computer has a composite video output jack.

Boom works with RealAudio's RealJukebox, as well as other MP3 and audio playback software, allowing you to switch tracks, mute, pause, and adjust volume using the handheld, portable MouseREMOTE--and it really works.

Nice touches, more tunes

I particularly appreciate being able to press the Pause button on the MouseREMOTE and stop the music temporarily so that I can take phone calls. It's a lot easier than opening a player application and looking for a pause button.

If you already have DVD Anywhere attached to a VCR, DVD player, or computer with DVD output, you can use the receiver (probably connected to a TV set) to receive your MP3 audio. You set the DVD Anywhere transmitter to one channel, and the MP3 Anywhere transmitter to a different channel. By switching channels on the receiver, you can select from different sources.

MP3 Anywhere may be even more useful for using your computer as an audio recorder or player.

For example, if you have old vinyl, and a turntable connected to your stereo, and want to save the sound as .wav files (or eventually as MP3), MP3 Anywhere will help you do it. You can attach the MP3 Anywhere transmitter to your stereo, and the MP3 Anywhere receiver to your computer. You can then broadcast a wireless audio signal to your computer and record the audio.

Depending on the distance between the transmitter and receiver, the quality of the audio may vary. However, for old LPs, the signal will probably be more than adequate. If you don't want to record onto your computer, but want to listen to a radio station, cassette, CD, or other audio on your stereo receiver, MP3 Anywhere should do a pretty good job for you.

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