Media streaming is a technology threatening to break into the mainstream in a big way over the next few years. One company who certainly hopes it does is Looqs, a new entity that was showcasing its media streaming wares at IFA 2009. Its MeeSeries Media Streaming system lets users stream multimedia throughout their house - nothing too exciting about that I hear you say. But what sets the Looqs products apart is its ability to stream not only video content to a TV, but also photos and online content to multiple digital photo frames.
The central hub of the system is the MeeBox, which comes in two versions - an NAS version which is used to store, manage and access all your media files for streaming throughout the house, and a Router version, which has all the features of the NAS version but adds a full function router with 802.11b/g support and 4x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports.
Looqs says you can put any sized drive you like into both MeeBox versions, which also boast RAID1 backup functionality, UPnP compatibility, a Bittorrent download client, file manager, photo viewer, blog server, web forum and website builder. The units also offer remote file access to allow users to access and manage all the files stored on the MeeBox from anywhere there is an Internet connection.
At the receiving end of the Looqs system is the MeeCeiver, which plugs into a TV to display the content streamed from the MeeBox UPnP mediaserver. The MeeCeiver’s Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) capabilities enable users to watch videos via a YouTube client, listen to Internet radio stations or view online photo slideshows from FlickR, Picasa or Looqs’ online photo sharing service, MeeChannel.com. It also includes a SATA hard drive bay for optional storage, and includes a memory card slot and USB port on the front for easy access.
Rounding out the system is the MeeFrame – or MeeFrames as the system supports multiple units. These can display photos streamed from the MeeBox, as well as slideshows stored on the frames’ internal memory, SD and MMC memory cards or a USB drive. They can also play MP3, WMA or PCM audio files and their 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi connectivity enables listening to Shoutcast Internet Radio stations, displaying the latest news from several predetermined RSS feeds or displaying up to date weather information. And if you’re still not satisfied you can even use a MeeFrame as an alarm clock and schedule the alarm for multiple days independently.
Up until now media streaming has largely remained in the hands of the tech savvy – or at least those with tech savvy friends or family members who can be called upon to set up a media streaming system. But as people’s digital media collections continue to grow, media streamers become increasingly attractive solutions to the problem of getting content from where it is stored, to where it is viewed or listened to.
Looqs has recognized this trend and presumably is hoping to ride the expected wave of media streaming popularity by offering a modular system that is easy to set up and easy to use - characteristics that are just as important as capabilities when it comes to appealing to the consumer market.
We saw the Looqs MeeSeries products in action at IFA 2009 and have to say, if they are as easy to set up and use as they appeared there, Looqs could definitely be on a winner.
Looqs had no word on pricing or availability other than the company is expecting to launch the MeeSeries products in the U.S. ‘soon’.