If you want an AirPlay receiver on the cheap, you can’t go wrong with Apple’s AirPort Express, a $99 dollar portable wireless access point (great for an apartment or traveling business person) that has a 3.5mm minijack for an audio or optical connection to a pair of speakers or your home receiver. For another hundred bucks (as a part of being an early adopter), you could fair even better with playGo’s audio-centric playGo AP1: an AirPlay and DLNA receiver that can output lossless audio through analog RCA outputs, a 3.5mm minijack, or TOSLINK to your preferred thumpers of choice.
The playGo AP1 supports AAC, Apple Lossless, MP3, FLAC, WAV, and WMA files over AirPlay, Microsoft Play To, USB (i.e. directly connected to your iPod or iPhone), UPnP and DLNA. A fast ethernet port can provide network connectivity from your router or wireless access point, or you can connect wirelessly on B/G compatible wireless networks.
The face (or top) of the playGo AP1 features your standard playback controls via capacitive-touch buttons and allows you to tap the volume up or down as you see fit. The “filling” between the top and base of the unit consists of an RGB LED indicator that indicates audio playback status (glowing green in the screenshots). Inside it all is an IR receiver that will probably work with your Apple Remote to control playback functionality if desired.
If you want to back the playGo AP1 for $10, you’ll get a playGo TOSLINK digital audio cable. $199 gets you your own playGo AP1 if you’re one of the first 1,000 backers (as a limited reward), while $225 gets you the playGo AP1 once the first 1,000 are taken. A $399 backing will get you the playGo AP1 plus hi-fi speakers to seriously enhance your wireless experience. Lots of other options are available too if you want to to furnish a living room, get an invite to playGo’s launch party, or buy a bundle of playGo AP1s to sell at your retail store. While it’s an expensive little gadget, it’s the first relatively small receiver I’ve seen that works wirelessly with almost anything you might have in your home. More than AirPlay compatible, the playGo AP1 can connect to high quality speakers or your high quality living room stereo system. Be sure to check out the project on Kickstarter.
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