Christmas has come and gone for another year. Holiday sales from Black Friday through the end of the year have been crazier than ever, especially for mobile devices and audio/video electronics. Like many people out there, you’ve probably added some new wireless high tech toys and are excited about learning how to use them to their fullest potential. If you have a new AV receiver, TV or Mobile device, let me tell you about three ways to make your wireless Christmas tech gifts sound awesome!
AV receivers these days are following TV’s in becoming, “Smart”. Essentially what that means is that when connected to the internet they can access a world of music from your personal connection, or via subscription services like Pandora, Spotify and others. Even most newer receivers, like the ones we carry from Marantz have Airplay built in which makes it extremely friendly for Apple iPhone/iPad users. On paper, a connected receiver sounds great, but it has it’s limitations. You’ll need a wireless connection, preferably ethernet connected directly to your receiver or you may experience a bit of lag from time to time when streaming audio/video. The other issue is that need to access all of your music through the receiver which means you’ll need the TV on to see the on-screen display. Many receivers also have a dedicated app which is helpful to navigate through the menus, but in my experience they still seem a bit cumbersome.
2. New Smartphone or Tablet? Just add Airplay or Chromecast:
You may be one of the millions of people that have recently upgrade or purchased your first smartphone or tablet this holiday season. If so, you probably know that with the addition of a home wireless network any mobile device can connect, control and send music to Smart TV, AV receiver or my personal favorite and easiest to use devices; an Airport Express or Chromecast. For iPhone users, playing and controlling music is simple with Airplay. WIth Airplay you can easily find your connected devices, (like a Receiver or Airport Express) and you can send music from iTunes, Pandora and Spotify among others directly from your phone. The interface is simple and, like most Apple products it just works. The only downside is that Airplay is for Apple devices only, and you’re still limited to apps that support Airplay. For Android users, you can either use DLNA which is OK, but not very user friendly, however there are some apps that work great like 2player. Or, for $35 pick up a Chromecast. Chromecast will allow you to use your Android phone as a controller and push music from Google Play, Pandora or Youtube to the Chromecast. Chromecast in integrated directly into the Android OS and I’m sure Google will be adding more and more services in the New Year. At such a low cost, it’s a great way to get music to your receiver or TV with great control and functionality.
Our Allaire Zona, Home Audio Link is really the easiest way to get ALL of the music off the internet directly to your AV receiver, and you don’t need a home wireless network to do it. The HAL system works on a proprietary 2.4gHz wireless band independent of all other wireless in your home. The USB plug on the “Send” unit connects without software and will act as your soundcard, sending all audio from your computer directly to the “Receive” unit that can be connected to a home theater system, receiver, boombox or powered speakers. Simple and effective, plus you get a 100ft indoor range through walls. The only downside is there is no mobile app, everything is controlled via your computer.
Last but not least is adding a simple Bluetooth adapter to your receiver. Our Avantree Bluetooth Wireless Adapter can connected to any receiver or powered speaker and play music streamed directly from ANY Bluetooth enabled device, like a smartphone or tablet. Connection is easy and the sound is great using the APT-X codec. The only downside is that you’re limited to a 30ft range.
Between any of the three ways I’ve listed to either connect your tech devices to the internet, or play directly to them via a mobile device, you won’t need much to make your Christmas tech gifts sound awesome!