Cons: It's very expensive compared with most streaming players
Bottomline: The Squeezebox Duet is a little expensive, sure, but if you’re after a complete music streaming kit there's nothing offering better value
Modern home audio streamers – which take music from your computer, stream it over a home network and play it through a hi-fi or TV – have been getting smaller and better.
Logitech has come up with one of the most compact players yet with its updated Squeezebox.
The Duet features a remote control with a screen, which in turn can talk to several Squeezebox receivers at once (so you can have tunes playing in as many rooms as you have receivers, cash permitting).
Setup was extremely straightforward and once we'd created a free Squeezenetwork account and downloaded the Squeezecenter software to stream our own collection, we were pretty much ready to go.
The device can be connected to a home wireless network by following a step-by-step wizard on the remote control. From here you can choose which folders to share and play back through a hi-fi or home cinema equipment, which connects to the Squeezebox receiver using connections supplied (it can cope with any audio socket). As well as streaming your own music you can choose from a massive range of internet radio stations or podcasts, or sign up to any of the supported music download services (which are paid-for but offer free trials). Stations or collections can be saved to a favourites list and you can create playlists on the fly, with extras such as a configurable alarm, search, screensavers and wallpaper giving an impressive degree of control.
Managing all of these features and browsing the massive range of content available is very easy thanks to the well-designed remote and full colour 2.4in display. It features a mechanical scroll-wheel which is pretty effective at navigating large collections.
In terms of performance both the audio quality and the streaming capabilities are top-notch. There was almost no delay most of the time, and scrolling back and forth through tracks it was very responsive. The Duet isn't exactly cheap, but if you're happy to use your own home cinema equipment to output the audio you'll save a lot over the comparable Sonos system [/2164882], which now has a serious rival for the most capable home streaming setup money can buy.