Revisiting Roku

Back in April, I wrote a couple of columns about the Squeezebox, now offered by Logitech. In the first one, I mentioned that it and the Roku SoundBridge were generally acknowledged as the best in their point-to-point class, but I hadn’t gotten any hands-on time with the SoundBridge until recently when I checked out the SoundBridge Radio. There’s a lot to like here. The all-in-one design eliminates the clutter of separate speakers although sound quality won’t compare with the best table radios.

That said, it has dual alarms and a generous snooze bar. And I also liked that there’s an SD slot if you’re nervous that some interference will prevent your favorite tunes from streaming you from your dreams. Older SoundBridges had a Compact Flash slot, but the Squeezeboxes have been constrained to local network and broadband music sources. Roku, unlike Slim Devices/Logitech and Sonos, has been relatively quiet on the deal-making side with broadband music service providers.

The user interface is also pretty easy although text entry is less efficient than on the SqueezeBox. A great setup feature, though, is that it recognizes iTunes playlists without needing to install separate software like the geeky SlimServer. For that reason, it is a better fit for people who place the most emphasis on simplicity in accessing music from their PC.

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