If you listen to music apps and use an iPhone, and you’re not taking advantage of Apple Airplay, you’re missing out on quite possibly the biggest advance in home audio since, well, speaker cables.
As we pointed out a few months ago after some exclusive interviews, Denon and its sister company Marantz worked behind the scenes with Apple to integrate AirPlay into their sound systems so that you don’t need an Apple TV or Airport Express in order to play your music (and video) apps over your home entertainment system.
Now, Denon has announced a new crop of “In-Command” receivers that drop the price of integrated AirPlay significantly (details below).
No matter what you use, AirPlay couldn’t be much easier — really, it’s super easy, even for technophobic listeners. Your eldest relative could probably manage it. All you have to do is tap the AirPlay symbol while listening to Pandora, the iPod app, or any other worthwhile music listening app, and the sound will come out over your sound system rather than your iPhone’s (or iPad’s, or iPod Touch’s) tinny little speaker.
The same goes for the iTunes library on your Mac or PC, so you can use this feature even without an iPhone, although we’d still recommend picking up an iPod Touch to use as a remote control of sorts.
However, we do have one bone to pick with AirPlay’s use of Apple TV: You need to leave your television on or the sound stops, even if you’re routing the audio separately. Sound systems that integrate Apple AirPlay internally, on the other hand, let music fans be music fans without casting the boob tube’s sickly glow.
Which brings us to the point: Denon announced the availability of three new, inexpensive-by-comparison sound systems this week that come with AirPlay so you can play a wide variety of iOS apps through the nicest speakers in your house — no other hardware, including a powered-up television, required.
It’s hard to make too big of a deal out of this development — not that Scoble wasn’t trying. You can now get the best music sources, through the best portable interface, onto the best speakers in your house, with a bare minimum of technical know-how. It just works.
Denon’s latest crop of AirPlay compatible sound systems will be available next month at the following standard retail prices (meaning you might be able to find them for less):
(Denon’s cheapest AirPlay-compatible receiver previously cost $1,000.)