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Podcasts Are Hard to Conveniently Listen To – Part 3

May 21, 2008

The third post in a series.

I would like to listen to podcasts in our Living Room and have the ability to resume where I left off listening after frequent interruptions from my family. I have nice audio system there: xDream wireless headphones connected to an audio system containing a Roku Soundbridge M2000 connected to J River Media Center running a UPnP server. Unfortunately, the Roku does not support fast forward and rewind within tracks, and attempt to pause playback for a significant length of time results in a disconnection from the server. This makes listening to long podcasts impossible because once interrupted, there is no practical way to resume listening.

I thought I might have an answer to this dilemma if I replaced the Soundbridge with a Squeezebox Duet. This product may someday replace my Soundbridges, but that day had not yet arrived. This product would allow me to listen to podcasts, but after trying this product for a week, filing bug reports and participating in the forums for this product, I realized would have to give up too much. The product is still to raw. It functions, but not quite as represented in ways that are problematic for me.

First, the Duet will not connect to UPnP servers. Logitech aims to have this addressed in the next release of their software, but the capability does not exist now.

Second, the Duet will not fast foward or rewind through any WMA files. There is some false information that this is only true for WMA lossless files, but this is not the case. Contrary to the documentation for the Duet, the device does not play any WMA files natively and must transcode everything on its server, making it hard for Logitech to implement seeking within WMA files. Most of my music was ripped into WMA files, so this limitation is quite annoying.

I tried out the pre-release builds of the SqueezeCenter software hoping some of these problems might have been addressed. I discovered they had not been and there were other problems with that pre-release software as well.

I’ll monitor Logitech’s progress in addressing these issues and certainly would try this product again. The device itself is nicely built. Having a remote with a graphical user interface is nice. There is a lot of third party support for SqueezeCenter (their server software). Logitech’s bug reporting system lets testers know what is going on to solve their problems. But, I’m not ready to spend $400 and hope that my issues get resolved.

In contrast, I once had hopes that Roku might implement seeking within tracks for their devices, but their attention to their Soundbridge products is virtually nil. They work well, but the lack of fast forward is a thorn in my side.

 

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