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Five Coolest Apple AirPlay Gadgets

Mar 15 2011, 1:39pm CDT | by , in Shopping | Shopping Tips

Five Coolest Apple AirPlay Gadgets
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Apple AirPlay lets you stream music and more wirelessly around your home

Apple started the music world on a different path when it unveiled the first iPod years ago. The device allowed the user to take thousands of songs with them on the road whenever they went with digital clarity. Apple also became one of the largest sellers of music with the iTunes store as well.

Over the years, the iPod has proven to be very successful and is still one of the most popular digital audio devices on the market. Apple has continued to expand the ways that music fans can access their tunes and one of the more recent innovations to come from Apple is AirPlay. AirPlay allows the iTunes fans to stream their music all around the house without needing wires. AirPlay tech is integrated into all sorts of accessories from speaker docks to AV receivers for the home theater.

The idea is that you can start your playlists on your computer and then stream them wherever you want. One of the cooler features of AirPlay is that if you have multiple Airplay compatible devices in your home you can listen to the same music on all of the devices at the same time.

AirPlay will also stream information about the music to your devices as well. You can get the album artwork, name, artists and more. All the information you see on your computer or your iPod can be seen on your other devices. That means you can see album art on your TV if you are using an AirPlay compatible receiver. Apple offers a free app for the iPhone that will allow you to control what track is playing from anywhere in your home too.

To stream Airplay tunes around your house you have to have a network in your home for WiFi and/or Ethernet. AirPlay can stream using both. That means you can stream to your speaker dock using Wi-Fi or stream to your AV receiver using your Ethernet wired connection if the receiver supports wired connectivity. The end result is that you can shoot that music wherever you want it to go.

Things get even cooler with AirPlay if the device you are using is connected to a TV. You can stream movies to your TV using AirPlay as well, if you have a connected device. Other than music and films, AirPlay also supports streaming of photos to other screens as well. If you want to get started with AirPlay, what you need is an iTunes account, some music, perhaps a movie, and a wired or wireless network depending on the device you are using. Check out some of the coolest devices that support Airplay in the list below.

1. Denon RCD-N7 WiFi Streaming AM/FM Receiver - If you have a mid-range budget and what a brand name known for quality the Denon RCD-N7 is worth a look. This device supports AirPlay and has the ability to stream content from the web like Pandora and more. It sells for $599, but has all sorts of cool features. It has 65W of power and has integrated CD/AM/FM capability as well and an app that allows your iPhone to control the stereo.

2. Pioneer VSX-1021-K Home Theater Receiver - If you want to be able to stream music and movies to your big screen TV this is a receiver that will let you do that. The VSX-1021 supports AirPlay and has tons more features too. It is Bluetooth ready, is DLNA 1.5 certified and has 7.1 channels. Total power output is 90W per channel at 8ohm. The networked device allows you to stream internet radio as well. It also has five HDMI inputs and a single output so you can change inputs for your TV using your receiver. The device also has tons of other connectivity. The VSX-1021 is up for pre-order right now for about $550.

3. Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air - B&W have been around for years and if this firm is well known for high-quality audio. The company has the cool Zeppelin Air that has great sound capability. You can dock your Apple iPod or iPhone with the Airplay version of the Zeppelin or stream music wirelessly from your computer. The Zeppelin Air sells for about $600 making it a very high-end offering.

4. Denon AVR-4311CI 9.2 channel network multi-room receiver - If you have a big house and you want to shoot video and audio to multiple rooms the AVR-4311CI might be just what you need. This is easily the most expensive item on this list at right under $2000. The receiver works very well and supports HDMI 1.4a, Airplay, and just about every audio format you can think of for your home theater. It has Ethernet connectivity and a discrete mono amp inside with 4-ohm capability for speakers.

5. Marantz NA7004 Network Audio Player - This offering isn’t cheap at about $799 and to make things a bit more expensive you have to pop for a $49 firmware update that allows the device to support AirPlay. The NA7004 is DLNA 1.5 certified and supports USB input, and lots more. It has high-end audiophile grade hardware inside and should give excellent sound quality. The device will also stream content form the web and has a handheld remote control.

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