Channel 5

Philips Streamium NP2900

Thursday 13 August 2009


Rating of 5

The basics

The Philips Streamium NP2900 is a network music player with internet radio and 802.11b/g streaming. Colour 4-inch LCD screen, multi-format music file support and built-in stereo speakers (30W amplification). It comes with Twonky media server software, is wall-mountable and weighs 1.5kg.

The good

If Streamium were an element, it would be heavier than heavy metal and lighter than air guitar, with the lustre of a freshly minted gold record. The NP2900 has a meaty 30W of amplification and uses smart digital processing to turn plain old MP3 (or WMA, AAC, FLAC or Ogg Vobis) files back into real, room-filling music. The Twonky media server and wireless systems are painless to set up, ripping music from ugly PCs and hard drives to the skinny, living room-friendly Streamium. The 4-inch colour screen can showcase album art and is home to a good GUI, too.

The bad

When you’ve got a terabyte drive groaning at the seams with music, you need to be able to navigate it easily – and here the Streamium struggles. It’s slow to browse albums (especially when you’ve got artwork visible) and occasionally shuffles the order of playlists at random. Also, you can’t access smart Web 2.0 music services such as, Pandora and Rhapsody, as found on similarly-priced rival Logitech Squeezebox Boom.

The bottom line

Free your music with the most stylish streaming player on the market today. It’s not quite as speedy or smart as the Logitech Boom but it’s simple, reliable and delivers where it counts in sonic superiority.
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User comments (11)

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Ordered one of these having heard the reviews, but was very disappointed! Looked very sleek and stylish when unpacked and was really looking forward to using it. Plugged it in and followed the on-screen wizard to connect it to my wireless network. It failed 5 times to find the wireless network even though all my PC's could! Eventually after much hunting on the internet, found out that it can only use networks on Channel 11 - it doesn't mention that in the manual! Reconfigured my network to channel 11 and it found it ok. Next hurdle - installing the Twonkymedia server- inserted the CD, click next and was then confronted with the request for a 32 character licence code. Systematically went through the entire box to find it to no avail. Spoke to the Philips help (!) desk who told me to return it to the shop and get a replacement. Packed it all into the box, returned it and got a replacement. Unpacked it and guess what - no licence code. Spoke to Philips again who said either return it to the retailer or speak directly to Twonky as they provided the software. Not surpisingly, Twonky would not give me a licence key as they had no record of me on their system as I had not bought the software direct from them. Retailer kicked up a bit of a fuss as it was not their fault that the licence code was not in it. Further conversations with Philips proved fruitless, was not even allowed to speak to a manager to make a complaint! Needless to say, I packed it all up and sent it pack. Shame as the sound quality of the radio and sample track was excellent, just let down by poor documentation, software and support.

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Twonkymedia software bundled with this unit is the worst bit about this package - I am considering changing to another software provider as from what I have read this would eliminate the random shuffling and duplication of tracks. However, as the Streamium is such a fantastic bit of kit - I forgive these issues - the sound is superb and its very easy to use. My advice to Phillips Phillips - drop the dead Twonky !!

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Ian Chambers

Had exactly the same problem and initially Phillips couldn't help - just said I'd have to return the product. But then a 2nd guy told me I could use Windows Media Player to stream from my PC tracks and he was right. It still wasn't that easy - you have allow the device to share your music via Media Player first (right click on Library and an unknown device comes up - allow sharing to that). You then might need to amend you firewall options - enable Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service within you Firewall software settings. That worked for me and I was right on the point of sending this thing back!

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