The Slim Devices Squeezebox is a great networked digital music player that plays music stored on a PC (or even an Infrant ReadyNAS network-attached storage device) and plays the music to a connected stereo system. The Slim Devices Squeezebox includes an ethernet cable for direct connection to a home LAN, and some versions include Wi-Fi connectivity, which is great for stereo systems that might not be near an available ethernet port.

The Slim Devices Squeezebox accesses music stored on a PC via the SlimServer, a piece of software that's installed on the PC or the NAS device. After a quick download from the Slim Devices website, you can configure the Slim Devices Squeezebox to connect via your Wi-Fi network or just attach it to your LAN via Ethernet.

The SlimServer software scans your PC or NAS for available music files, and can identify pre-existing playlists created with other music software (including iTunes). If you haven't yet done this, the SlimServer software can help you create playlists, but it's easier to create them with the other applications. After the SlimServer is done scanning the system, you just have to leave the computer on to enjoy music from the Slim Devices Squeezebox.

The Slim Devices Squeezebox comes with a great remote for choosing what music to listen to – all of the standard methods for browsing are here – listen by album, artist, genre, etc. You can use the remote to select different playlists, and there's a "favorites" button that plays specific favorite playlists (you have to identify a playlist as a favourite before it will show up in that specific area).

If you get bored with your own music, the Squeezebox can play music from internet radio stations – the Slim Devices Squeezebox comes with a number of different preloaded stations, and the device supports a number of different internet radio services (such as Live365, SHOUTcast, and so on). Slim Devices itself has a number of its own internet radio stations, so there's enough music to choose from without having to search for your own.

If you don't find what you're looking for, just open up iTunes and find your own station this way. The system can also play podcasts, either ones stored through iTunes or your other music application, or through a supported "podcast" menu option (although it only plays the "top 50" or "new" podcasts from www.podcastalley.com).

The only downside on this great device is the Slim Devices Squeezebox's lack of support for M4P files, also known as DRM-enabled content from the iTunes Music Store. This isn't too much of a problem (many other devices don't support the file either), but it was kind of a pain to look at some of our playlists and try to remember whether the songs on the list were from music that we had burned from a CD or whether we bought it from the iTunes Store.

Slim Devices Squeezebox: Specs

  • High fidelity 24bit Burr-Brown DAC
  • digital optical, coax, and analogue connections
  • true 802.11g wireless and ethernet ports
  • plays MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, AAC & Ogg files
  • aqua display with visualisers
  • search 100,000 song libraries in seconds
  • access virtually any internet radio station and RSS feed any time, even without a computer
  • works with iTunes, MusicMagic, Live365, RadioIO, Shoutcast and Windows Media radio
  • stream music throughout your home or office by adding players to any room
  • clock with 7-day alarm, wireless bridging, synchronise multiple players
  • High fidelity 24bit Burr-Brown DAC
  • digital optical, coax, and analogue connections
  • true 802.11g wireless and ethernet ports
  • plays MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, AAC & Ogg files
  • aqua display with visualisers
  • search 100,000 song libraries in seconds
  • access virtually any internet radio station and RSS feed any time, even without a computer
  • works with iTunes, MusicMagic, Live365, RadioIO, Shoutcast and Windows Media radio
  • stream music throughout your home or office by adding players to any room
  • clock with 7-day alarm, wireless bridging, synchronise multiple players

OUR VERDICT

If you've been waiting for a good networked digital music player, you can't go wrong with the Slim Devices Squeezebox. The sleek design will look good in a home stereo system, the Wi-Fi connectivity reduces cable clutter and the music stored on a PC has never sounded better.

Find the best price