Roku Logo
  SOUNDBRIDGE   SOUNDBRIDGE RADIO   SUPPORT   COMMUNITY   ABOUT

SoundBridge

INTERNET RADIO
Listen to 1000's of FREE Internet radio stations from around the world - one-touch access to talk, jazz, rock, pop or your old home town favorite! You do not need a computer to listen to internet radio; you just need broadband and a Wi-Fi home network.
COMPARE FEATURES
Compare the features of the entire family of SoundBridge products with the convenient
Product Selection Guide
Overview Features Specifications Internet Radio Accessories FAQ Photos News

Overview

What is Roku SoundBridge?

SoundBridge is a network music player that lets you play your PC or Mac digital music files anywhere in the house - connecting your stereo or powered speakers to your computer's digital music library. WMA, AAC*, MP3, AIFF and WAV music formats are supported - and it's network ready with wired Ethernet and a CompactFlash Wi-Fi adapter. Features include:

  • Most Compatible Player - Plays directly from iTunes, Musicmatch, Windows Media Connect, Windows Media Player 10, Windows Media DRM 10, and more. No additional software required.
  • Large Display/Convenient Remote - Browse, select and control your music from across the room, without leaving the comfort of your sofa.
  • Fast Browse - Quickly browse huge music collections by Song, Album, Artist, Genre or Composer.
  • Internet Radio - Listen to a large selection of music and talk radio stations over the Internet for free, without even turning on your computer.
  • One-Step Software Updates - New features will continually add to your enjoyment.
  • Award-Winning Design - Enjoy the look of SoundBridge's sleek industrial design in any room of the house

What is the difference between the "SoundBridge" and the "SoundBridge Radio"?

The SoundBridge is designed to connect to your existing Stereo or Powered Speakers, and so is less expensive. The SoundBridge Radio has self-contained high quality speakers and subwoofer. The SoundBridge Radio also has buttons on the unit that can control it, and adds additional features like AM/FM radio, a headphone jack, and an SD card slot. All SoundBridges run similar software, and most have VFD displays. However, resolution of the display varies by model number. For more information, see this page.

There are many music players out there, what's different about yours?

SoundBridge is the most compatible music player available, with built-in support for the most popular Windows and Macintosh audio libraries (see below). No need to install any software - just plug and play!

Only Roku SoundBridge includes:

  • Support for Radio Roku
  • Support for Windows Media Connect, Musicmatch, Windows Media Player, and Windows Media DRM 10
  • Direct, licensed iTunes integration
  • A large bitmapped display
  • Tubular industrial design
  • Music visualizers
  • AAC decode in the player

Does the unit have upgradeable Software?

Yes, the software is upgradeable. All registered users will be automatically notified of upgrades via email. Be sure to register your product here to receive notification of new features.

What is the difference between the SoundBridge M1000 and the M500?

The difference is the display technology. The M1000 has a bitmapped "vacuum fluorescent display" (VFD) which has two font sizes and more options for graphics and music visualization. The M500 has a backlit "liquid crystal display" (LCD) which displays 40 characters on each of two lines. This display is not quite as bright as the VFD, and a little slower to update, so graphical effects look a bit less impressive. Still, it's plenty bright and clear for basic browsing and playback functions. For more information, see this page.

Are there different versions of the M1000?

In 2005, Roku switched factories for the production of its SoundBridge M1000 and redesigned it to streamline manufacturing. The two versions are equivalent and interchangeable. The main user visible difference between the two is that the newer M1000 has its jacks on the back of the unit; whereas the original M1000 has its jacks out the sides. The new unit's end caps are not removable; the originals are. The original M1000 used a Compact Flash style Wi-Fi card; whereas the newer M1000 has the Wi-Fi built onto the main board. Overall, neither model is "better" than the other. The newer M1000 can be identified by the jacks on the back, or by its model number sticker which has the number M1001. The M1000 spec sheet on our web site has been updated to reflect these changes. Roku will not swap one for the other as they are equivalent.

What does "PlaysforSure" mean?

It means SoundBridge will work with any music service that supports Microsoft's "PlaysforSure" standard.

What does "works with iTunes" mean?

It means all you need to use SoundBridge is to run iTunes 4.0 or later on your PC or Mac computer. SoundBridge will automatically detect your iTunes music library. (Your computer must be turned on with iTunes running at the same time you are using SoundBridge.)

Can I hang the SoundBridge on the wall?

Yes, please purchase the corresponding mounting kit, which includes two brackets that hide away behind the unit: One for wall-mounting, and one for under-cabinet mounting.
Learn more.

What you'll need to run SoundBridge

What hardware do I need to connect SoundBridge to my home network?

You can connect SoundBridge to your home network in one of several ways:
SoundBridge WiFi Setup
The wireless setup is the most common configuration. SoundBridge already includes wi-fi 802.11b network capability, so all you need is a DHCP enabled router.
The wired setup can be used when SoundBridge is located in proximity of an Ethernet connection. Again, all you need is a DHCP enabled router
The bridged setup can enables users running an 802.11g network to maintain higher data transmission rates. You need a DHCP enabled router and a wireless bridge for this setup.
The wireless access point setup allows users to extend the range of their wireless network. You need a DHCP enabled router and a wireless access point for this setup.
The crossover cable setup can enable users to connect the SoundBridge directly to your computer, without any router or other intermediary hardware. This option may be attractive to SoundBridge users who don't already have a home network installed, and want to set up the SoundBridge in close proximity of their computer. You just need an Ethernet crossover cable.

How does sound come out of SoundBridge - are there speakers built-in?

No. You can connect the SoundBridge to speakers in one of two ways:

  • Connect it to powered speakers (such as the speakers you use to connect to your computer) using the included RCA-to-mini audio cable.
  • Connect it to your home theater or audio system using SoundBridge's S/PDIF Coax, Optical connection, or RCA Analog connection.

Music Servers

What software do I need to connect SoundBridge to my computer?

SoundBridge includes built-in "client" software that allows playback from a variety of music server software, including iTunes, Windows Media Connect (for Windows XP users), and other UPnP servers such as Musicmatch, Winamp, and Napster.

What music server software is compatible with SoundBridge? Which one is right for me?

Your music server options are:
  • Windows Media Connect, which is optimized for Windows Media Player 10, but also works with Musicmatch and other music jukebox software applications. This feature-rich server supports SoundBridge's full user experience, including browsing and searching by keyword. Microsoft's Digital Media group has created a useful instructions page for setting up the SoundBridge with Windows Media Connect - view it here.
  • iTunes' built-in music server, which runs on PC and Mac computers. This feature-rich server also supports SoundBridge's full browsing and search features.
  • Firefly allows you to share music and playlists from Windows Media Player and iTunes. The Firefly Media Server supports both browsing and searching of your music library. Learn more about FireFly.
  • Any music service or jukebox software that includes support for UPnP AV, such as Musicmatch or Napster. The degree of browsing may be limited by each implementation of this server, and search by keyword is not supported.
Learn more about your music server options with our Music Server Software Guide.

Is SoundBridge compatible with SlimServer? What features does that include?

Roku's player is optimized for Windows Media Connect and iTunes playback and requires no additional server software to download and install, whereas the SlimServer player requires installing the SlimServer music server software on your computer. However, users that require support of Apple Lossless, FLAC, or OGG-Vorbis may choose to use SlimServer. This is a free and open-source music server that works with the SoundBridge. However, it has a different user interface, and is not documented in our product manual. Roku will provide email support on how-to-use-it questions from SlimServer users, but we can't be resposible for feature problems or bugs in the SlimServer. The server software may be downloaded here.
Roku built-in Software SlimServer software
Ships with SoundBridge Download necessary
Uses Windows Media Connect, UPnP AV or iTunes as music server Uses SlimServer as music server
Optimized for Windows Media Player and iTunes Not optimized for any third-party jukebox software
AAC decode built-in to client AAC decode happens on the computer
Supports WMA, AAC*, MP3, WAV, AIF Supports MP3, WAV, AIF, WMA, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, Apple Lossless
DRM Support: Supports Windows Media DRM 10
Does not support AAC DRM files (files purchased at Apple’s Music Store)
Does not support Windows Media DRM 10
Does not support AAC DRM files (files purchased at Apple’s Music Store)
Includes several music visualizers No visualizers

Can I run more than one music server at a time?

Yes. When you start SoundBridge, your most recently used music library will appear, and you will have the option to connect to other libraries through a few clicks on your SoundBridge remote control.

Does the Soundbridge support iTunes under OS 9? I would like to use the Soundbridge with an older Mac running OS 9.2.2.

Unfortunately, the answer is no. You'll need iTunes version 4.0 or later, which includes music sharing capabilities. (The last version supported by MacOS 9 was 2.x.)

Is the SoundBridge compatible with content on Linux-based servers?

Yes, there are several SoundBridge-compatible Linux-based servers, including TwonkyVision and the Roku-sponsored Open Source server, Firefly.

Music formats supported

Which music formats do you support?

Our built-in software supports WMA, AAC*, ALAC, MP3, WAV, and AIFF. To play protected WMA files, you will need Microsoft's DRM 10, which is included with Windows Media Connect. Unfortunately, rights-managed AAC files purchased from the Apple music store can not be played on SoundBridge. (FLAC and Ogg-Vorbis can be played using Firefly.)

Why don't you support secured AAC files purchased from the Apple Music Store?

Apple does not allow streaming of files downloaded from their music store to third party devices. If they ever do, we will support them.

Internet radio features

How can I stream Internet radio to the SoundBridge?

There are five easy ways to play Internet radio on your SoundBridge M500 or M1000:

  • The easiest way to use Internet radio on your SoundBridge is to use the new SoundBridge 3.0 software, which is a free upgrade. With SoundBridge 3.0, your SoundBridge has direct access to a directory of thousands of Internet radio stations, provided by the new Radio Roku web site. Using your remote control, you can browse stations by genre, language, location and popularity, or search by name or keyword. Or, visit the web site and use drag-and-drop technologies to manage your Presets and favorite stations.
  • All SoundBridge software releases since 2.5 have included a built-in list of 18 Internet station presets. These can be played back without turning on the computer, provided your home network has an active broadband internet connection (such as DSL or cable modem).
  • If you don't find a particular station on Radio Roku, you may be able to use the Roku Radio Snooper to find a compatible station URL, and then store it in one of your SoundBridge's 18 Preset locations.
    • Run Roku Radio Snooper from Roku Radio Snooper
    • Run the Radio Snooper and then listen to any Internet radio stream using your PC as you would normally. Snooper will test the stream, determine compatibility in an instant, and then present you with the option to play the compatible URL or set the Internet radio station as a preset.
    • Click the Play URL on Soundbridge button to listen, or click the Store URL as Preset on SoundBridge button to make the station an Internet radio preset.
  • Create a playlist containing your favorite stations in a compatible music jukebox software on your computer (such as iTunes), then play them using a compatible music server software.
    • Pick your station using iTunes - Pick from preset stations inside iTunes' "Radio" tab, or add your own streaming URL.
    • Create a "Radio" playlist in iTunes, and drag your desired stations into the playlist.
    • Play your "Radio" playlist from your shared music library - Your "Radio" playlist will appear among your other stored playlists, accessible from the SoundBridge Main Menu. Press Play on your remote to begin playing the first station listed in your playlist. Your SoundBridge display should show the name of the station playing.
    • You can skip between stations using the Next Track/Previous Track buttons on your remote control.
  • Store up to eighteen of your favorite stations for playback without turning on the computer.
    • If you have already created a playlist in iTunes including the stations you would like to save (as described above), you can then use the "Memorize radio playlist... " command in SoundBridge's settings menu to store the stations in SoundBridge's memory.
    • Now, every time you turn on SoundBridge, you can select your "Radio Favorites" and immediately begin playing your favorite stations, without turning on the computer.
    • Browse between stations using the Next Track/Previous Track button on your remote control - Skip from station to station using the easy shuttle controls on your SoundBridge remote control.
    SoundBridge Remote

Can I receive my local radio station through SoundBridge?

Probably- check to see if they are being broadcast on the Internet by finding your station's web page. If they broadcast on the Internet, check Radio Roku to see if the station is already listed with our internet radio service. You can also determine compatibility of the streaming url by using Roku Radio Snooper.

How can I be sure that I can listen to my favorite Internet radio station on SoundBridge?

All the stations listed on Radio Roku have been verified to play on the SoundBridge with software version 3.0. So, the simplest way to check on a particular station is to visit Radio Roku and use the Search feature to look for the station. If your station isn't listed, it may still be possible to play it, but there's really no way to be sure besides trying it out. Internet Radio is still a very new media and the industry has not standardized around formats. That said, Roku Radio Snooper will in most cases accurately tell you if a radio stream is compatible with SoundBridge.

Browsing and playback features

How can I browse music using the SoundBridge?

You can use the ergonomic remote control to browse music by Song, Album, Artist, Composer (for Classical tunes), Genre, or Playlist from the comfort of your couch. Your options are displayed alphabetically, and you can move along the list one selection at a time, or skip to the next letter of the alphabet at the press of a button using Roku's unique "Speed Browse" feature. You can play one song, an entire album or all songs by an artist. Finally, you can search for a specific artist, album, song title, or keyword using a special menu designed to enter text.

How does playback work?

After you navigate to the selection you want to play, you can play that selection alone or use the Add button on your remote control to build a longer queue of songs to play in order. You can skip forward and backward between the selections in your song queue and use the Shuffle or Repeat buttons on your remote control to randomize playback or keep it playing continuously. While a song is playing, SoundBridge will display the title, artist, elapsed time and a percentage elapsed graphics bar, as well as the visualizer.

What does the visualizer display?

The M1000 features multiple visualiizers, including a"frequency analyzer" which moves according to the levels of different frequency ranges in your music. The equalizer can be displayed on the screen that displays current song info, or it can be set to fill the entire SoundBridge display. Other visualizer options include a "voice print" which dynamically graphs loudness into a wave form and scrolls it across the screen as the music plays. The visualizer options for the M500 are more limited because the display is character-based instead of bitmapped, but it still includes several visualizer options including a full-screen visualizer.

Does SoundBridge support iTunes' playlists?

Yes, you can play the playlists you have already created in your music jukebox software, including "smart playlists". Simply navigate from the SoundBridge main menu to the Playlists option. They appear alphabetically by name. You can select one or more playlists to play, and skip between the songs in the playlist, just as you would from your music jukebox software.

How can I play a podcast using the SoundBridge?

SoundBridge plays a podcast file just like it plays any other digital audio file. Just be sure that it is available in your music server software (such as iTunes or Windows Media Connect). Here are the instructions for playing podcasts on your SoundBridge:

  • Subscribe to the podcast using your favorite RSS reader program. Note that iTunes 4.9 includes podcast support. For other readers, subscribing usually requires the user to copy and paste the RSS URL.
  • When new content is available, download it to a folder on your computer.
  • Import the file into the music server software you use for your SoundBridge:
    • iTunes: Drag the files or the directory containing the files into iTunes.
    • Windows Media Connect: Ensure that the folder containing the podcasts is listed as shared with WMC.
  • Using your SoundBridge, locate the podcast and play, as follows:
    • Search by "song title" for the name of your file.
    • Create a playlist in your server software containing all your podcast files, then browse to that playlist using your SoundBridge and select the file you want to play.

Networking and Wi-Fi

Does the SoundBridge require any kind of "Server" Software, or is it able to work directly on a network file system?

The SoundBridge does require a "music server", such as Windows Media Connect or iTunes. We currently don't support files that are shared via Windows File Sharing.

What kind of wireless network does SoundBridge work with?

SoundBridge will work with 802.11b and 802.11g networks, including Apple's AirPort, AirPort Extreme, Airport Express and other brands (such as Linksys). SoundBridge M500 includes a compatible Wi-Fi adapter card. The SoundBridge M1000 model includes built-in Wi-Fi.

See a list of our known compatible devices.

I have an 802.11g network - will SoundBridge work with it?

Yes! Because 802.11g is backwards-compatible with 802.11b, you can use the SoundBridge with an 802.11b Compact Flash card to connect to you 802.11g wireless network. If you would like to connect your SoundBridge using 802.11g, however, you will need an Ethernet-to-802.11g wireless bridge.

Does SoundBridge work with a 802.11g CF card?

Not at the moment. You'll need an 802.11g bridge (see previous question).

What brands/models of wireless access points are supported?

Click here for a list of wireless access points we've qualified. If yours isn't on the list, feel free to contact support for the latest info.

Do you have a list of supported Wi-Fi cards for the SoundBridge?

You can order a compatible card on our store for $34.99. If you purchased the SoundBridge M1000 directly from www.roku.com after September 1, 2005, your SoundBridge will have built-in Wi-Fi.

Can more than one SoundBridge be connected to a network? If so, can they be controlled individually?

Yes, one source computer running Windows Media Connect can suppot up to ten SoundBridge devices, or five devices if running iTunes, each controlled by a different listener.

While the SoundBridge is networked, does it understand any network file systems? i.e. NFS or SAMBA?

The Soundbridge does require a server side software installed on the PC or Mac. Currently we do not have any immediate plans to add file sharing to the Soundbridge.

Can I play the same song synchronized on multiple SoundBridges located in different rooms of my house?

Not when using iTunes or Windows Media Connect as your music server. It is possible if using the SlimServer music server.

Can I use SoundBridge with an external hard drive such as an NAS system?

Yes, but only if the music server that you are using (such as Windows Media Connect or iTunes) can access files on the NAS. The SoundBridge does not directly connect to the NAS.

I am concerned that the use of "streaming" will compromise the quality of the audio. How does this product handle this?

The SoundBridge "streams", but it has large buffers. So it "fetches" part of the song, starts it playing, and at the same time, fetches the next block. There is no adverse effect on quality. The issue you might be referring to is glitches when using Wi-Fi, because of drop-outs in bandwidth. We don't think this is a problem with SoundBridge for two reasons. (1) We use very large blocks, as discussed above. (2) We decode the compressed music on the SoundBridge, so this dramatically reduced the amount of network bandwidth needed (as opposed to decompressing on the PC/Mac and sending over uncompressed bits).

I have an 802.11g network - will SoundBridge work with it?

Yes! Because 802.11g is backwards-compatible with 802.11b, you can use the SoundBridge with an 802.11b Compact Flash card to connect to you 802.11g wireless network. If you would like to connect your SoundBridge using 802.11g, however, you will need an Ethernet-to-802.11g wireless bridge.



*AAC DRM files, such as music purchased from the Apple Music Store, are not supported for playback on SoundBridge.