When I first started reviewing NAS appliances in 2005, DLNA was still just a proof of concept in Sony's laboratory. By 2011 over 9,000 products had received a DLNA certificate of compliance and that number is growing every year. In my NAS reviews I always talk about how great it is to stream music and movies over the network, playing content anywhere I please, when I please. Over the last year, the technology has added features, new higher speed processors have risen to levels that allow even the highest bit-rate content to play. At this time, we have the ability to stream 3D Blu-Ray ISOs directly from a fairly low cost NAS to your TV or media box.
Today we're going to look at DLNA and media streaming from the other end of the scope, the client side. The Pioneer Music Tap series of products aren't going to play 3D Blu-Ray content on their small screens, but you can use them to bust a move in your kitchen while preparing dinner.
Pioneer has three models available at the time of writing. The Pioneer X-SMC3-S, Elite X-SMC4-K and in Europe an Elite X-SMC5-K exists. The baseline non-Elite X-SMC3-S has nearly all of the same features as the SMC4 that we're reviewing today except it does not include a Bluetooth module. The unit we are testing today, the Elite X-SMC4-K includes the Bluetooth dongle and was optimized for better sound. In Europe Pioneer sells an Elite X-SMC5-K and it includes the Bluetooth dongle, optimized sound and includes a CD/DVD optical transport for playing your optical media.
Initially I tried to purchase the European SMC5 model, but with an initial price of 285 British Pounds and a massive shipping charge on top of that, I fell back on standard USA model, SMC4 sans optical capability.
Today we're going to take a look at this unit and show you just how easy it can be to play your entire audio collection in any room inside your home... and even outside as well.