Use Your Good Speakers Instead of Your Notebook's Puny Ones

Tired of the tinny sound of music on your laptop? Logitech at CES is showing a new adapter that lets you stream music wirelessly from laptops with Intel Wireless Display (or WiDi) chips to any external speakers.

WiDi uses WiFi to make peer-to-peer connections between devices, meaning no router is involved. It's similar in functionality to (but not exactly the same as) the WiFi Direct technology that the WiFi Alliance has been promoting of late.

Since most laptop speakers produce pretty poor audio, the Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter for Intel WiDi laptops--based on Ozmo Devices' Ozmo2000 chips--will appeal to music lovers who'd like to hear their digital tunes through decent stereo speakers without having to install a lot of expensive hardware.

The diminutive Logitech adapter connects to speakers (or, if the speakers are not powered, to a receiver) via cables with either standard analog RCA or 3.5mm jacks. Logitech expects to include a pair of 3-foot cables with the 3.5mm jacks in the package, but if you need a different connector or longer cables you'll have to provide them yourself.

Once you've hooked up the speakers, you open the WiDi software on the notebook and push "Connect" on both the adapter and the laptop to pair the two. After that, laptop audio is channeled wirelessly to the adapter and through it, to the speakers.

The Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter for Intel WiDi laptops is slated to ship in May at a suggested retail price of $30. Logitech will also offer a similar product based on a Bluetooth connection between the speaker adapter and a Bluetooth device such as a smartphone or tablet; like the WiDi adapter, it is slated to ship in May priced at $30. It will be interesting to see how well these work in real-world situations since wireless audio streaming can be difficult to achieve on a sustained basis.

For more up-to-the-minute blogs, stories, photos, slideshows, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PC World's complete coverage of CES 2011 .

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