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Published on October 4th, 2012 | by Greg


Bluetooth! tuneLink Home: Wireless Audio And Remote

Blue­tooth has come a long way. The com­pe­ti­tion for wire­less tech­nolo­gies has cer­tain­ly heat­ed up- wit­ness the suc­cess of Sonos and Ap­ple’s Air­play- but the Blue­tooth mar­ket con­tin­ues to ex­pand, as new man­u­fac­tur­ers join, sup­port­ing new fea­tures and de­vices.

We’ve had the chance to check out lots of Blue­tooth gear, from docks to clocks. And to­day we’ve got a pair of very dif­fer­ent de­vices that each have some­thing to of­fer. As we ap­proach the hol­i­day sea­son, it’s time to start think­ing of what gifts might be a good fit for the gad­get-lover in your life. With that in mind, we bring you a look at the unique tuneLink Home from New Pota­to Tech­nolo­gies.

Fea­tur­ing longer-range Blue­tooth for­mat that al­lows for de­vices to be con­nect­ed up to 100 feet away (three times the old range), this is a cute box that serves two pur­pos­es. The first is to serve as a uni­ver­sal re­mote, trans­lat­ing sig­nals from your smart­phone to IR sig­nals to con­trol your home the­ater sys­tem. It’s sim­i­lar in many ways to apre­vi­ous prod­uct that we’ve seen from them, the FL­PR. But where­as the FL­PR is a don­gle that at­tach­es to your phone and thus re­quires line-of-site to the equip­ment you want to con­trol, the tuneLink Home al­lows you to wire­less­ly con­nect to the base sta­tion, which can then send out the sig­nals it­self. Mean­ing you can take your iOS de­vice (iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad) or An­droid (com­ing soon) and use it as a re­mote con­trol, with no need for a don­gle, and even do so from an­oth­er room en­tire­ly. The base it­self is a lit­tle odd look­ing, though pleas­ant­ly fu­tur­is­tic.

But that’s not re­al­ly the killer fea­ture here- it’s a nice bonus, but the re­al rea­son to get this nifty box is the au­dio stream­ing func­tion­al­i­ty. Sim­ply con­nect the pow­er adapter (us­ing the in­clud­ed mi­ni-USB ca­ble), and ei­ther an ana­log or op­ti­cal au­dio ca­ble be­tween the tuneLink Home and your re­ceiv­er or speak­er sys­tem- and you have in­stant­ly turned your speak­ers in­to a wire­less sys­tem. The Blue­tooth con­nec­tion was sta­ble and sol­id- no has­sle, no fuss- and re­con­nect­ed quick­ly and re­paired with­out is­sues when the de­vices were in range again. Sound qual­i­ty was ex­cel­lent- we no­ticed no ma­jor com­pres­sion or ar­ti­fact­ing, though per­haps a bit of strain at high­er vol­umes on highs when com­pared with a di­rect con­nec­tion.

For those with Air­play or Blue­tooth-en­abled re­ceivers or docks al­ready in place, you can prob­a­bly give this a pass. But if you’re like us, and have an iPhone 5 that has made your de­cent-sound docks in­to ‘vin­tage’ elec­tron­ics, this is a way to up­grade them in­stant­ly and cheap­ly. Plus, if you’ve ev­er want­ed to con­trol your DVD play­er or pro­jec­tor or oth­er A/V gear from your phone with­out need­ing a don­gle (or, again, are stuck with a don­gle that no longer works with your phone), we were im­pressed by the ver­sa­til­i­ty of the re­mote func­tions. The app is free and de­cent, with a very large li­brary of con­trol codes, and you can ev­er set­up macros or schemes to make mul­ti­ple things hap­pen with the touch of a but­ton. Avail­able now, for a very rea­son­able sub-$100 pric­etag.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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