Squeezebox Duet Puts the Display in Your Hand

Logitech's Squeezebox Network Systems has added a new model, the Duet, which adds a 2.4" color-LCD screen and a scroll-wheel to the unit's hand-held remote (not unlike the Sonos system). The screen can display song titles, album art, customized wallpapers—even RSS feeds and radio station IDs.

The $399 Duet comes in two parts, the receiver and the remote/charging cradle—additional units are available separately (receiver: $150 remote: $300). As with Logitech's Squeezebox and Transporter, the Duet works with the digital files stored on a host computer and interfaces with most computer platforms (PC, Mac, Linux, BSD, Solaris, or Perl) and most file formats, including Apple Lossless, WMA Lossless, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, AIF, WAV, and PCM. The Receiver connects to the host computer by either 100Mbps Ethernet or 802.11g WIFI and outputs audio from either its RCA analog outputs or from its optical and RCA digital S/PDIF connectors.

If the host computer is turned off, the Remote can still access Internet radio stations or Internet music providers, such as Pandora, Rhapsody, and Slacker.

Jon Iverson got a preview of the Duet at CES2008 and declared it "pretty darn neat." I agree that putting the display on the remote will probably improve the system/human interface over either the basic Squeezebox and Transporter—and I hope that the breakdown pricing or remote and receiver indicate that existing Squeezeboxes and Transporters can be retrofitted with the new remote (I have a query in with Logitech, but have not yet received confirmation).

Update: We got a response from Bryan Taylor, owner of the Gramophone Inc., who sells Logitech products in Edmonton, Canada: "The answer is Yes! In fact, you can use the scroll wheel to control any Transporter, Squeezebox, or new Duet from the same remote control. You can either play the same music through all devices at the same time or if you want, play different music through each. The remote control actually controls the computer and not the Squeezebox or Transporter. The computer sends whatever audio signal you want to each device."

Now we know.

Look for a Stereophile review around midsummer.