Netgear has announced the launch of the industry’s first affordable and easy to use wireless network adapter for home stereos, the NETGEAR MP101 Wireless Digital Music Player with crystal-clear LCD display and remote control.
Compatible with 802.11b and 802.11g wireless networks, NETGEAR’s MP101 Wireless Digital Music Player features an antenna to enable a wireless connection to the home network at one end, and connects to the audio input jacks of any stereo system at the other end. The MP101 organizes a digital library of MP3 and Windows Media music by using the customers’ existing tags for artist, genre, album, track and playlist to aggregate music from all the PCs on the network into a single database. Listeners can use the MP101’s remote control and its large built-in LCD display to select the playlist from any PC, sending the music directly to the stereo speakers. Besides music files, the MP101 streams worldwide Internet radio and RealNetworks’ RHAPSODY™ digital music subscription service, offering music enthusiasts a whole-home “wireless hi-fi” experience.
“Music aficionados know that digital music can be an unparalleled experience and are frustrated that their music is trapped on the PC in the home office or bedroom while the sound system is in the family room,” said David James, Product Line Manager at NETGEAR. “Combination audio/photo devices currently on the market try to do too much. The result is that they fail to perform either function very well and are too clumsy and expensive for the average consumer. Our focus groups have told us that the music lover is eagerly awaiting a simple, reliable, high quality but cost-effective way to deliver digital music to the home stereo.”
The MP101 Wireless Digital Music Player is the result of collaboration between NETGEAR and Digital 5, Inc., capitalizing on NETGEAR’s expertise in networking technology and the Digital 5 middleware technology for connected consumer electronics devices. “The NETGEAR/Digital 5 partnership has resulted in a product that provides customers with unprecedented ease of use, functionality, and affordability in a networked entertainment device,” said Scott Tandy, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Digital 5.
Included with the purchase of the MP101 is a 30-day free trial to the RHAPSODY digital music subscription service. NETGEAR is offering customers access to RHAPSODY’s 400,000-CD jukebox for legal, stress-free music enjoyment without fear of record industry copyright infringement. Support for Internet radio brings alive thousands of voices from around the world offering free news, sports, and music. For example, a consumer in the U.S. can listen to a rugby match in Britain, a concert in Brazil or news from Korea.
“Our research shows that less than 4% of Internet households are currently able to listen to Internet-based digital music on their regular home stereos, but more than 50% are interested in doing so,” said Michael Greeson, Vice President and Principal Analyst for Parks Associates, a Dallas-based industry analyst firm. “Considering the limited market appeal of today’s all-in-one media products, NETGEAR’s decision to focus solely on music with its first media adapter is a logical approach to meet this need.”
NETGEAR’s MP101 Wireless Digital Music Player is powered by industry standards such as the Digital Home Working Group and Universal Plug and Play. The MP101 includes NETGEAR’s media server software for Windows 98SE, Me, 2000 and XP; this software aggregates listeners’ music files from all the PCs on the network, using existing tags for genre, artist, playlist, album and track. It delivers features such as automatic device recognition and communication technology, offers standard stereo AV jacks and a headphone jack, and supports Ethernet and IEEE 802.11b/g wireless connectivity. It is protected with hardware-based Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) 64-bit and 128-bit encryption security. An infrared (IR) remote and large, crystal-clear LCD let the user select music from the comfort of the couch without turning on the TV.
Backed by a one-year warranty and 24/7 technical support, the NETGEAR MP101 Wireless Digital Music Player is available in limited quantities at the NETGEAR online store (www.buynetgear.com) and will be available via leading retailers, as well as direct marketers, e-commerce sites, and value-added resellers in February at an estimated street price under 200 US Dollars