Philips' classy new Streamium holds the key to freeing your PC's music collection. But has it got enough to unlock your wallet?
Streaming music around the house and tuning into the world’s finest radio stations are nothing new, so it’s a little baffling to find that there are still so few affordable network media players.
Our current favourite is the Logitech Squeezebox Boom, but it finally looks to have a challenger in the form of Philips NP2900, which is wall-mountable and packs a lovely full colour screen.
Turn the NP2900 on and it’ll quickly connect to your network via its wireless antenna or Ethernet port.
If you use Windows Media Player on your PC, the Streamium will immediately be able to play all of your shared music if it’s in the right format; if not, the excellent TwonkyMedia software is bundled and once installed will handle all the server functions.
Losing out on lossless
Now, onto that file format issue. Compressed formats like WMA, AAC and MP3 are covered, but the only lossless codec that'll work is FLAC, which neither iTunes nor WMP will rip into. We reckon WAV should be covered at the very least.
It's also worth noting that the only online music service the NP2900 can access is standard internet radio, while rivals like the Logitech Squeezebox Boom are compatible with Last.fm and Napster.
Small unit, big sound
Play some tunes and the Philips puts in a decent showing, though. In standard mode you get a direct but narrow delivery, while LivingSound mode adds two rear-firing drivers to create a surprisingly big soundstage for such a small unit.
There's good weight and vocal clarity, and though there's some hardness in the treble, it's not enough to put us off this stylish little player.
Philips NP2900 review
Limited format and music service compatibility are the only things between the Streamium and Hot Buy status
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