Back in the spring of 2011, we reviewed New Potato’s TuneLink Auto Direct Connect Audio Solution for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (Read the review, here.) At the time it was the perfect solution for me since I didn’t have Bluetooth in my car; the TuneLink easily added streaming to it. I’ve since leased a car with all the bells and whistles and, as a result, I don’t need an after-market streaming solution. If you car doesn’t have Bluetooth you should check it out. It is simple to set up, it works great, and I really enjoyed my time using it. You can check it out here on the product page, and you can order it for under $90 here through our Amazon Affiliate Store.
All this does not, however, mean I no longer have a need for New Potato’s products. You see, the company also offers a “Home Edition” of their streaming solution. I’ve been checking it out for a few weeks. So let’s talk about why I might want this product, how it works and whether or not I would recommend it to you.
Let’s start with the “Why would I want this product”.
That’s an easy one. I have a Sonos system in a number of rooms here at home. The system works well, sounds good and has been one of my all-time favorite purchases. But I also have a number of excellent speaker docks designed to work with Apple devices sporting their, now legacy, 30-pin dock connector. That’s all good and well except for the fact that my iPhone has… the new, smaller connector. My touch and nano will as well once they arrive. And since at least two of the docks I have do not have Bluetooth or AirPlay the only option left to me would be the 3.5mm Aux In port. Thanks to the TuneLink Home I can easily add wireless connectivity to them!
The next question is, “How does the TuneLink Home work?”
For that let’s dive more deeply into the device itself.
From New Potato:
TuneLink Home: The most advanced and highest fidelity wireless Bluetooth stereo audio and Infrared remote control solution for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android available.
SIMPLIFY YOUR EXPERIENCE: The complete wireless audio and control solution for your home: The TuneLink™ Bluetooth audio interface for home audio is the first complete solution that provides a wireless audio link AND a media remote control interface between your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and
your home entertainment or sound system.
WIRELESS, DIGITAL, CRYSTAL CLEAR SOUND: TuneLink Home includes a state-of-the-art advanced Bluetooth processor to deliver crystal clear audio received over the air from your mobile device to your home entertainment system. Connecting to your audio system over Digital Optical TOSLINK or analog line-level output, TuneLink Home protects the fidelity of your music. Powered by any USB power source or the included adapter guarantees a simple setup.
BlastIR OMNIDIRECTIONAL INFRARED UNIVERSAL REMOTE: The TuneLink Home includes a powerful universal Infrared remote system. Equipped with an omnidirectional
IR LED emitter array and an external IR emitter port, TuneLink Home turns your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into a powerful remote control. Like our fully featured FLPR™ Universal Remote Control, a comprehensive and growing database of over 65,000 remote control codes and the ability to learn custom codes and create macros makes TuneLink Home a powerful addition to your hi-tech lifestyle.
TUNELINK APP AND SHARING MODES: The FREE TuneLink app downloaded from the App Store allows you to set up and control the TuneLink unit including sophisticated features such as auto-reconnect, auto-play, media-setup on reconnect and our exclusive TuneLink Share modes. TuneLink Share allows for multiple devices to share the audio interface to the sound system in an innovative and social way. Keep your party involved by letting everyone help set the mood for the evening!
Setup could not have been easier.
I downloaded the free TuneLink app from the iTunes App Store.
I plugged the power cord into the device and a wall outlet.
I connected a 3.5mm cable to the TuneLink Home and the Sony Speaker I was using. (Read the review of the speaker here.)
I went into the Bluetooth Settings on my iPad and paired the iOS device to the TuneLink Home when it showed up in the menu.
I started streaming music from my iPad to the speaker using the TuneLink Home app. It is, however, worth noting that you can use ANY audio app and it will stream to the TuneLink Home.
Best of all, the two devices can be up to 100 feet apart.
And while I have not yet made use of it, I love the fact that the TuneLink Home will also let you use your iOS device to control media systems thanks to 80,000 IR pre-programmed remote codes that are part of the TuneLink Home app and device.
The app also offers some great advanced features. Among them are…
HI-FI Stereo Bluetooth link: Best-of-Class Bluetooth technology keeps the music playing, without any physical connection to your device.
ANALOG Connection: Connect TuneLink Home directly to your home entertainment of sound system via the 3.5 mm stereo line out using the included audio cable.
DIGITAL Connection: TuneLink Home includes a State-of-the-Art TOSLINK digital fiber-optic audio port that provides the ultimate high in fidelity connection to your sound system.
Powered by any USB power source: Simply connect the TuneLink Home to any USB port or power source using the including USB cable or use the included AC USB adapter (North America and EU models only.)
Powerfull IR BLASTER: Omni-directional IR LED emitter array and an external IR emitter port that is compatible with most IR extenders or wired infrared control ports.
Advanced IR Learning Receiver: TuneLink Home includes a broadband IR sensor enabling your to teach TuneLink Home new commands from across the room.
Finally, before answering the final, and perhaps most important, question of “Can I recommend this product to you?”, let’s zero in on the app itself. It isn’t just about controlling the music you stream from your iOS device to you speakers. No, the free app does much more.
Accessory control: Configure and control your TuneLink Home through our slick and easy to use FREE TuneLink Home application
Customize Your Remotes: Select different skins and templates for your remotes or reprogram selected keys with special functions.
Create Custom Activities: Create special sequences of IR commands that can be executed with a single tap.
IR Code Database Updates: Frequent updates to our remote control code database means new devices are supported.Advanced IR Learning: Your device not in our database? Not a problem as TuneLink Home can learn new codes from existing remote controls.
Software Updates: Your TuneLink Home unit is software upgradeable through the app ensuring you will always have access to the latest features and optimum performance.
Name Your TuneLink: Create a custom name for your TuneLink device so your friends can find it easily when pairing.
Automatic Reconnect: Setup TuneLink Home to find your device and reconnect when you return home.
TuneLink Share Modes: keep your TuneLink private or allow it to be shared in one of three modes including TUNELINK SHARE where tunes are successively played from each paired player.
To give you a sense of just how good this app is at integrating with your iOS device and the TuneLink Home hardware, when I first paired my iPad with the TuneLink Home and launched the app I got this…
Two taps later, the hardware was updated and was good to go. I love when hardware and apps work together seamlessly. Not only does it make life easier but it also speaks volumes about the product’s quality. And that is the point. I loved the TuneLink I reviewed for my Subaru. It worked well, solved a problem and did so in a relatively elegant manner. The same holds true for the TuneLink Home. My speakers that require a physical connection with an iOS device are of limited use now that Apple has changed the dock connector on its new offerings. And while I could use the 3.5mm AuxIn port, having to do so is a pain. The TuneLink Home turns such docks into wireless systems and does so in a manner that is simple to set up and simple to use. The TuneLink Home app works great but, even better, once the system is set up you don’t need to use it. Yes, you can stream high-quality audio using any music app. Better still, if you set up the TuneLink Home with a media system that offers a remote you can use your iOS device to not only stream music but to replace your remote. I love that.
New Potato doesn’t have a large portfolio of products. The ones they do have, however, they are awesome! Learn more here on the product page. And you can order yours for almost 10% less than the MSRP here through our Amazon Affiliate Store.
What I Like: Easy setup; Great free app; Works with all my iOS devices; Can replace remotes; Audio quality is excellent
What Needs Improvement: Some may hesitate at the $99 MSRP but, especially if you are using it with a pricey home media system the cost of bringing said system into the 21st century is rather small