Roku Releases Low-Cost SoundBridge M500

Roku has announced a new low-cost addition to their line of SoundBridge network music player products, the M500. Roku is distributing the product exclusively through RadioShack stores until the end of the year; the player costs US$199.

Like many WiFi players, including Airport Express, SoundBridge streams music from a computer to powered speakers or a stereo system elsewhere in the house. But unlike Airport Express, the SoundBridge permits jukebox control remotely, without returning to the computer. The SoundBridge M500 also has a liquid crystal display measuring 40 characters by 2 characters for viewing track information during playback.

The SoundBridge M500 is differentiated from its larger siblings, the M1000 (at US$249.99) and M2000 (at US$499.99) by the size and capabilities of its display.

Roku said in a statement, "SoundBridge can access play lists from both Windows and Mac-based computers, and supports more digital music than any other network music player, streaming music in WMA, AAC, MP3, AIFF and WAV formats. If consumers are already using iTunes or Windows Media Connect, SoundBridge is ready to go with no additional software needed." The SoundBridge players also play protected WMA files purchased from non-iTunes music downloading services.