Like what you’re listening to? Share it wirelessly with a friend. That’s the premise of the new i2i Stream from Aerielle, which lets you stream music from one music player to a second set of unattached headphones. One device in the i2i Stream package plugs in to your music player and allows it to broadcast. The second (they’re interchangeable) plugs in to a regular set of headphones and acts as a receiver.
I received the i2i Stream review unit a couple weeks ago, and since then I’ve had great fun sharing music from my Slacker portable and from several different generations of household iPods. Once you get past the initial charging session, which is painfully slow with a USB-PC connection, the i2i Stream is simple, small and convenient. I haven’t had a single problem connecting the devices to my various music players or making them stream music to remote headphones. Add to that the appealing colored lights that indicate broadcasting frequency, and the i2i Stream makes for a fun if kitschy gadget. Even the audio quality broadcast over the 2.4Ghz frequency, which other reviewers have complained about, struck me as reasonable. Certainly good enough for casual listening.
Unfortunately, I’m still trying to come up with a good reason to buy the i2i Stream. Sure it’s fun, but when do you really need to stream your music to someone else? Most people have their own players and want to listen to their own music. There’s also no shortage of speakers and adapters for plugging in portable players when you do want to share, albeit in a more public fashion.
There are a few scenarios I can conjure for using the i2i Stream:
- At the beach. If your lounging with someone who has your taste in music, why not keep exposure to sun and sand down to one electronic gadget rather than two. (Unless of course you’re risking the Kindle as well.)
- On a car/train/plane trip. I remember an eighth grade field trip to New York where my best friend and I spent the whole time listening to sappy mix tapes together, one earphone each.
- Music rehearsals. Have one music player for each musical part, and then pass out headphones. Everything’s synchronized and folks are only hearing the part they need to hear.
- Audio books. Joint listening in a library? On a bus?
- For workout buddies. Run, bike or lift to the same music, without bothering others.
If the i2i Stream was cheap, I’d give it a pass for being fun, but mostly unnecessary. (How often are you in one of the situations above?) However, $99.95 for a pair of broadcaster/receivers makes the i2i Stream far too expensive for a casual purchase. When it hits Target for $20 or $30, that’s when the i2i Stream could have a shot.
Full gallery of pics with different music players below.