We just snuck a quick look at the new Linksys home media gear, the Wireless Home Audio system
and Media Hub NAS
, and it's pretty much what you'd expect. For all of Cisco's talk
of platform and back-end and consumer love, the end product is actually pretty humdrum. We can't speak to the actual setup and content integration -- which will naturally be Cisco's strong suit -- but the actual hardware doesn't seem to scream consumer love. The interface on the Touchscreen Remote is pretty slow and a far cry from the polish of the Sonos system -- the unit's natural competitor -- especially compared to the iPod touch control App, and everything looks and feels bulky and gray. We do have to hand it to Cisco for working in the iPod dock, a CD player, iTunes server and Rhapsody all into one cohesive centrally-controlled system, but we'll see how much traction this gathers in the market... Cisco's talking like a uniter, but right now this just looks like more fragmentation.
Linksys Wireless Home Audio and Media Hub NAS hands-on