The moment we started playing a file through Philips’ latest Streamium it was obvious that the NP2900 was a cut above your average streaming audio player.
Although it measures just 99x347x69mm, it produces a beautifully rich, warm and powerful sound.
We’re usually sceptical of sound-enhancing features, but Philips’ LivingSound uses clever processing to allow the four small speakers to produce a big sound that filled our labs. You can use the NP2900 as a powered speaker via the stereo phono inputs, while coaxial S/PDIF and mini-jack sockets handle audio output.
The NP2900 supports a wider range of formats than many other audio streamers here, including FLAC, Ogg and AAC, as well as the usual MP3 and WMA audio files. It only supports UPnP streaming but comes with the excellent TwonkyMedia Manager software, which is very easy to use and supports more formats than Windows Media Player.
The Streamium’s 3?in colour screen can display album artwork and sleek-looking menus. The remote control is one of the best we’ve seen; it’s comfortable, clearly labelled and has plenty of short cuts. All that’s missing is the ability to page up and down or fast-scroll through long lists. An alphanumeric keypad on the remote makes it easy to enter wireless passwords and even register your email address to receive access to Philips’ Streamium services. These allow you to control your internet radio listings through an online portal.
Adding new internet radio streams is easy, but the only music service the NP2900 supports at launch is Rhapsody, which you’ll have to pay to use after your first free month. It doesn’t support the massive range of online services available to Logitech’s Squeezebox Boom, but the NP2900 can’t be beaten for sound quality. It’s a little expensive, but this is the perfect streaming audio receiver for your sitting room or bedside table. It’s our Best Buy.
|Media Streamer type||streaming audio receiver|
|Audio MP3 playback||Yes|
|Audio WMA playback||Yes|
|Audio WMA-DRM playback||No|
|Audio AAC playback||Yes|
|Audio Protected AAC playback||No|
|Audio OGG playback||Yes|
|Audio WAV playback||Yes|
|Audio Audible playback||No|
|Other audio formats||FLAC, eAAC+|
|Internet radio stream compatib||AAC, MP3, WMA|
|Video MPEG-1 playback||No|
|Video MPEG-2 playback||No|
|Video MPEG-2 VOB playback||No|
|Video MPEG-4 AVI playback||No|
|Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback||No|
|Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support||No|
|Video H.264 support||No|
|Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support||No|
|Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support||No|
|Video WMV playback||No|
|Video WMV-HD support||No|
|Other video formats||none|
|Internet video stream compatib||none|
|Image BMP support||No|
|Image JPEG support||No|
|Image TIFF support||No|
|Wired network ports||10/100|
|Wireless networking support||Yes|
|Minijack line outputs||0|
|Minijack headphone outputs||1|
|Stereo phono outputs||0|
|Coaxial S/PDIF outputs||1|
|Optical S/PDIF outputs||0|
|Total SCART sockets||0|
|Other connectors||stereo phono inputs|
|Power consumption standby||4W|
|Power consumption on||6W|
|Warranty||one year RTB|