Netgear Powerline Music Extender – Quick-and-Dirty AirPlay Audio

Netgear's Powerline Music Extender

Netgear’s Powerline Music Extender

I love AirPlay, it makes it so easy to stream whatever music and video you want.  Onkyo, on the other hand, apparently does not.  Not a single one of their AV Receivers features AirPlay.  As I have an Onkyo TX-NR414 attached to my main speakers, this presents a bit of a problem.  Rather than spend the money on a new receiver with AirPlay, I happened across a solution from Netgear.  Power wires are made of copper, just like Ethernet cables. “Powerline” is a technology that can send network traffic over those copper power wires running throughout your home.

For $50-60, Netgear offers their Powerline Music Extender1. The kit comes with two Powerline adapters – the XAUB2511 base-unit and XAV1601 extender.  The XAV1601 has a USB port with a 6 foot USB-to-RCA cable, so you can plug the thing into nearly any audio system – from lots of portable speakers, mini-systems, up to full stereo components.  It certainly is a more elegant solution than running network cable along your floors and walls.

Netgear Powerline Music Extender system

Netgear Powerline Music Extender system

In addition to the USB plug, it also has an Ethernet port.  While the 200Mbps speed isn’t ripping fast, it is plenty for streaming audio. I’ve connected the network port to a switch, and split that to slower Wireless-G devices, like the PS3 and the Onkyo, giving them a little speed boost as well.  All-in-all, this Netgear Music Extender system is a great value.  It allows you to add AirPlay to pretty much any audio system or speaker set, but without the expense of a new receiver or jumping through the hoops of wireless bridges/repeaters.

Pros:

  1. Inexpensive.
  2. Quick setup.
  3. Works with practically anything.

Cons:

  1. Dumping “XAUB2511-” in front of Friendly-Names only makes them semi-friendly.
  2. Does not play-well with with some types of plugs you might want to use in the remaining power outlet (IE – ones that angle down 45 degrees, etc).
  3. Only for music, does not allow AirPlay streaming of videos, games, shared-screens, etc.  You’ll need an Apple TV for that.

References   [ + ]

1. Amazon Referral Link

Mike Knotts

Mike Knotts was born in 1968 in a small town in southern Indiana. Even when very young, Mike showed a love for all-things technical and sci-fi. Moving with his family to California in the early 80's, he eventually graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in History. Rather than put that to good use, Mike continued to pursue his passion for technology by working for early, regional ISP's in the mid 1990's. He currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, where he works as a project manager for an Internet startup. Mike is a co-founder of Geekometry.

You may also like...

Comment on this Article