LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — We’ve seen a number of proprietary wireless technologies emerge here at CES that let you play smartphone music over your home stereo, but with Apple AirPlay (and soon Google Fling), we already have enough of those, thank you very much.
HSTi’s Wireless Media Stick ($119) uses your existing Wi-Fi network rather than another new proprietary standard to send music and video from any computer on your network — or an Android smartphone with the companion app installed — to the nice speakers that either are or should be connected to your home entertainment system.
There’s basically just one catch: Your home entertainment system has to have a USB slot for playing media from a memory stick. Other than that, there’s a lot to like:
“When you stick it into a USB-enabled device, it tricks the device into thinking that all your media’s stored locally, when actually, it’s accessing all of the shared folders you’ve given permissions to on your computer,” explained HSTi’s Ab Uppel. “Stick it into a home stereo unit and use the stereo’s remote control, hit the menu button, and pick your song.”
The Android application, available in Android Marketplace, functions pretty much the same way, so long as you’re Android phone is one of the newer ones that can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
“The phone has a wireless access point built-in,” he added, “so you an stick this [hardware] into a USB-enabled device, pick your phone as the access point, and stream anything from your phone.”
For now, this set-up is limited to playing back local music files stored on your Android phone, but the company plans to launch partnerships with Hulu and other video companies that allow you to send internet-delivered video to the stick.
Gorby Uppel, another HSTi spokesman (and Ab’s brother), would not commit to a timeframe, but said that HSTi plans to partner with popular music apps such as Pandora and MOG to allow music from those services to play in much the same way, giving Android owners a way to listen to their music apps wirelessly on their home entertainment system.