Philips introduces seamless music system


  • Business
  • Wednesday, 21 Sep 2005

IMAGINE having 750 CDs stored in a single system that you can access at the touch of a button, then have your favourite song follow you as you move from room to room. It's the music lover's ultimate dream and, thanks to Philips, that fantasy can be realised with Streamium Wireless Music Centre. 

Want to stay connected to your home network wherever you are, say in the car or at work? Stay tuned, as Philips Consumer Electronics already has the technologies to do so and created the products to make this global connectivity possible, says chief executive officer Rudy Provoost. 

“But to make this vision a reality – and accessible to all – we need to develop partnerships with other key content and telecom providers,” he said during the Philips press conference at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) in Berlin earlier this month. 

Besides its partnership with Germany's leading pay television operator Premiere as category sponsor for consumer electronics at the FIFA World Cup 2006, Philips was actively developing more alliances, he said. 

In music, it was working alongside Yahoo! Music, Andante, Radio Free Virgin, Radioio and Bluebeat; and in movies and photo imaging, it was partners with Yahoo! Photos, Yahoo! Movies and iFilm, he added. 

“We're continuing to work with European telecom partners to develop devices that deliver new entertainment experiences for consumers using broadband,” he said, adding that some great music offerings with selected partners would be announced for Christmas. 

Rudy Provost

Philips' WACS700 music system was unveiled in May at the European Imaging & Sound Association (EISA) convention in Geneva, Switzerland, and subsequently voted European Audio Compact System of the Year 2005/06.  

The system can store up to 750 CDs on its 40-gigabyte (GB) hard disk in MP3, Windows Media Audio and WAV formats, and stream that music up to five satellite stations.  

Its six-line LCD screen displays a comprehensive array of information, including artist's name, album name, genre and track titles. The information is also replicated on the LCD display of the unique remote control handset supplied with the system. 

Once the centre unit and its stations are activated, they automatically communicate through a combination of WiFi (wireless fidelity) and UPnP (universal plug and play) technology which also enables the easy integration of the system with existing networks and content already loaded onto personal computers. 

Features like “My Music Follows Me” allow music to follow the listener seamlessly from one room to another while the “Music Broadcast” party mode plays the same music or playlist on all receivers, in all rooms, in perfect synchronisation. 

The complete WACS700 package – comprising one Wireless Music Centre and one Wireless Music Station – is now available in European Union countries, at 999 euros. 

Philips' WAC5 music system, meanwhile, is designed to enhance a “conventional” hi-fi separates set-up – including an audio receiver or amplifier – by offering the same hard disk/wireless functionality as the WACS700. 

The main difference is that the WAC5 contains a larger hard disk of 80GB that can store up to 1,500 audio CDs and, at 360mm wide, is designed to sit on a shelf or rack system like other audio components. 

Like the WACS700, it can be connected via WiFi and UPnP to up to five stations around the house, and connect into existing home WiFi networks. This system will be introduced in Europe in November at 799 euros. 

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