Yesterday afternoon I had the chance to sit down with Jim Carlton, Director of Streaming Media Systems at Logitech, and have a play around with their new Duet Network Music System. For those who don't remember, the Duet is a little bit like the Sonos Music system, where you use a single remote to control music throughout your house, using networked boxes that connect to your hi-fi gear anywhere in the building.
And while I'll be delivering a full review to you guys in a few weeks once I get my hands on a proper unit to put through its paces, I think I can fairly safely say this: "awesome".
The whole premise of the Duet is having a controller that plays music stored on your computer (or other networked device) through any speakers you might have in your house using Wi-Fi. Or, more specifically, it uses 802.11g to stream your audio.
Like the Sonos, you can use the controller to control several different rooms, or you can have the same music playing in all the different zones. The interface is incredible simple - it's similar to the iPod's click-wheel, but offers more functionality, like being able to add music to a playlist on the fly.
But the most impressive aspect was the fact that the software is open source. That means that you can, if you want, use other Wi-Fi enabled devices (like an iPhone) to control your music, you can add controls to home automation devices, or you can access a wealth of third-party developed applications, such as downloading song-lyrics onto the controller.
And when you consider that you get the remote and a receiver unit for $599, as opposed to the $1899 starting price for a Sonos system, this little streamer looks pretty good.
If all that makes you lust for a Duet of your very own, be patient - at the moment the first shipment is currently on a ship on its way to Australia, and should be here in the next week or two. If you can wait, I should have a review up for you in about the same amount of time.