Move MP3s to Home Stereo

NEW ORLEANS (04/28/2000) - Voyetra Turtle Beach Inc. wants to bring the digital music revolution into the living room this fall with a device that links your PC to your home stereo. The company unveiled its AudioTron home stereo at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here this week.

The Windows CE device connects to a stereo receiver or amplifier, as you would expect. But in the back of the AudioTron is a phone jack that links it to a home phone line network and ultimately to your PC.

It can remotely scan your computer's hard disk for Windows WMA and MP3 digital audio files. Using either the base unit or a remote control, you can play all the digital music stored on your PC. AudioTron also supplies the programs to create custom play lists, or you can specify random playbacks of available tunes. An LCD shows song titles.

"The problem with PCs is you've got this massive concentration of media in the least opportune place in your house," says Howard Brown, chief technology officer for Voyetra Turtle Beach.

The AudioTron is scheduled to ship this fall priced between $250 and $500, according to company representatives. A home phone line networking card is required for each PC that you plug AudioTron into; and the unit supports the Home PNA 2.0 specification. An add-on board providing Ethernet and Universal Serial Bus connections will be available for use in homes or offices wired with a dedicated network.

Brown says the device supports WMA streaming audio files that will allow you to listen to Internet radio stations. However, Brown can't say for sure whether the fall version of the AudioTron will support streaming audio content.

Turtle Beach says it is working with a number of music labels to give AudioTron owners the ability to audition and purchase songs through the unit.

AudioTron will compete with a growing number of devices like Kerbango, a stand-alone Internet radio appliance that plugs into a standard phone line and streams audio content. Another, similar service is X10's MP3 Anywhere, which lets you route audio from a single PC to your stereo, through a transmitter.

Voyetra Turtle Beach also markets its technology to vendors that package it for sale with other equipment and under other brand names.

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