I'm a huge fan of Sonos audio gear, which lets you stream all your
favorite music (playlists, Pandora, Spotify, etc.) to wireless
But, ho, it's some expensive gear, with even the most basic
package starting at $300. My cheapskate nature won't allow me to
spend that kind of money on what is essentially a fancy
Especially when there are such inexpensive alternatives. For
example, with my smartphone or tablet and a simple Bluetooth
receiver, which can plug into any stereo or speaker I already own,
I can fashion a system that's nearly identical to a Sonos--for a
fraction of the price.
It works like this: Just plug the Xtreme into the stereo
line-in jack on any speaker or stereo system. (It works with car
stereos, too.) There's nothing else to connect; the tiny receiver
runs on a rechargeable battery, which you can juice up via an
included USB cable.
Then just pair your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet to
the receiver. Now you've got a wireless connection for streaming
any and all audio from your device.
That means you can listen to your playlists, your favorite
apps, even the audio from videos, all from your big speaker(s).
Don't call this a poor man's Sonos; it's a smart man's Sonos.
I'm not sure how long the Xtreme will be available at this
price, but if you miss out on the deal, don't fret: There are
other, similar Bluetooth receivers on the market, many of which
routinely sell for under $25. (Belkin makes a popular model that Amazon
currently has for $21.37
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So before you invest in a Sonos, Jambox, or some other
wireless speaker, try an inexpensive Bluetooth receiver. You might
be surprised just how great it can be.Veteran technology writer Rick Broida
is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his
money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC
World and Wired.