Today NETGEAR announced an upcoming new product release that will allow you to wirelessly stream music from your smartphone, tablet or Windows PC. The Powerline Music Extender simply uses your home’s power to turn any outlet into an Ethernet outlet that connects to your home router and enables many devices not equipped with wireless capabilities to connect to the Internet.
Any type of audio system is supported, from brand new home theaters to old stereos, which can be connected using RCA jack connectors. Portable speakers can be connected through their 3.5mm mini jack. It’s Airplay ready, making setup for Apple devices simple – just start to play music on your device, then select a remote speaker in your home that’s connected to the Powerline Music Extender to stream the music directly to it.
The extender can also be used to connect smart TVs, HD boxes, gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, network DVRs, PCs, or any other Ethernet-based device to the Internet via the built-in Ethernet port.
In addition, it can be used to connect your Windows PC to any remote USB devices in your home, such as printers or external hard drives, by downloading the NETGEAR “media extender app” to your PC.
The Powerline Music Extender starter kit, priced at $139, will be available worldwide in October 2012.
This new product is similar to what you can do with Apple’s slightly cheaper $99 AirPort Express, but it does differ in some ways. The AirPort Express is a full Wi-Fi router that can plugged into a cable or DSL router at home. Apple’s AirPort devices can connect to each other directly, but the connection requires either a physical Ethernet cord or wireless network setup, which may not always be convenient due to a lack of Ethernet ports or good wireless coverage in your home. The NETGEAR extender, on the other hand, allows you to easily create an Ethernet port in any room.
Bottom line? If you already own an AirPort router, you probably want to stick to just buying the AirPort Express for your wireless music needs as it is less expensive. If you don’t, this solution from NETGEAR can give you Internet in any room, plus a remote unit to connect speakers or other Internet-capable devices in another room.