On 7 June 2005 I wrote about my purchase of the Linksys Wireless B Music System new on eBay for $55.
At the time it seemed a reasonable purchase. It was less expensive (at least on eBay) than the other available units and had built-in speakers.
It feels like I’ve owned it much longer than a year a half, almost. Probably because it worked perhaps only 30% of the time. The problem wasn’t with the device itself but with the awful media server from MusicMatch.
The server software simply crashed most of the time. At one point I wrote a batch file to check every few minutes if it was running and to restart it if it wasn’t. This worked for a while but mostly the software just crashes and crashes as soon the device tries to connect to it. This happens on multiple XP Pro machines.
The WLM11B never worked with any other server software, NeroMedia, Windows Media Connect or SlimServer.
Linksys support was totally worthless. They didn’t even seem to understand the product or what the server software was. They asked multiple times to present information that I already presented. In the end I just stopped communicating with them so they sent an email saying that they are assuming the problem has been favourably resolved!
While the musicmatch player software has been updated, the music server never was.
Now that the weather is changing and it’s becoming wetter and cooler, I wanted to start listening to some audiobooks, in particular, on the WLM11B. No luck whatsoever.
It has another drawback in that it can only play MP3 Internet Radio streams, not Windows Media Streams which many more stations, it seems, tend to use or have switched to.
The device itself also stopped updating available streams, automatically or manually.
So, out of total frustration this morning I ordered a SoundBridge directly from Roku. The issue of it requiring an external audio amplifier and speakers is resolved by the purchase of the Teac SR-L35W in June of this year. That has worked beautifully and it has external stereo auxiliary inputs to connect the SoundBridge to.
The SoundBridge also supports more file formats as well as WMA Internet Radio streams. It works with a variety of server software including its own, Windows Media Connect, Slimserver, iTunes, Rhapsody, MusicMatch, and more. Roku’s own server software can also play DRM’ed WMA files. (iTunes will not play DRM’ed iTunes purchased music over the SoundBridge.)
I purchased the M500 instead of the M1000 which is much more expensive and the only real difference appears to be the display which is of no consequence for my intended usage as a bedroom unit.
Being a Friday and with Monday being a holiday the unit probably won’t ship till Tuesday but I can wait. It’s much better than trying to listen in bed to audiobooks or music on an iPod. After the unit arrives I’ll post my impressions of it here… not that anyone is reading this.