Linksys Delivers a Media Hubbub

By Bill Howard  |  Posted 2003-07-14

For playing MP3 music on your stereo and showing digital photos on your TV, the Linksys Wireless-B Media Adapter is the new front-runner among digital media hubs. For $200 (street), the Wireless-B offers essentially the same functions as the HP Wireless Digital Media Receiver ew5000 does for $100 more. And although the Wireless-B has a few rough edges, the features-to-price ratio cant be beat.

At 7 by 1 by 5 inches (HWD), the Wireless-B is roughly the size of, well, just about every other compact Linksys SOHO networking product. The box sits vertically or horizontally next to your stereo system and television and connects to your PC via wired or wireless Ethernet. A snippet of always-running software on the host PC tracks and serves up compressed audio. Like the HP unit, the Wireless-B also tracks and serves photos. You control everything with yet another wireless living room remote.

Setup of the silver-and-charcoal adapter is relatively easy, though one test required two installs before everything worked. The unit automatically configures itself to coexist on a small home network. By default, it searches for content in your My Music and My Pictures folders; you can add others, including on other PCs on your home network if the drives are mapped as local.

The 22-button remote is large, clearly labeled (albeit in small fonts), and a model of simplicity. Press Power, then Menu, and then choose Music, Pictures, or Help; or just press the remotes direct Music or Picture buttons and follow the choices. Thats it. Over time, Linksys, like others, may add streaming video and Internet Radio, which is why there is a menu button even though you only have two choices, currently.

For the full review, check out the PC Magazine story.

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