SoundBridge is a remote hardware device from Roku designed to play internet radio or digital audio streamed to it across a home network, either WiFi or Ethernet. SoundBridge devices directly browse the Radio Roku Internet Radio Guide. As of January 2012, the SoundBridge is no longer available from Roku.
The music is made available by a streaming server, usually a PC running a software server. What sets the SoundBridge apart from other network media players are its high resolution vacuum fluorescent display and compatibility with many different media servers, namely servers using Apple Computer's Digital Audio Access Protocol (Only the Roku-branded editions support this, not the Pinnacle-branded ones; popular servers are iTunes or mt-daapd), Windows Media Connect, Rhapsody, SlimServer, and UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) compatible servers like TwonkyVision. Some of these servers can be run not only on PCs, but also on NAS devices like the Linksys NSLU2, so a SoundBridge can be operated without a PC.
There are several SoundBridge models: The M1000, the M500 (an M1000 with a cheaper LCD instead of the VFD), and the discontinued M2000, which had a larger and even higher-resolution display than the M1000. The M1000s sold now are slightly different from older M1000s and can be identified by the fact that they have their connectors at the back, rather than under the end caps. The new revisions are sometimes called M1001 and are mainly an internal redesign to cut manufacturing costs. Most users won't notice any difference, which is reflected in the fact that these units are still sold as M1000s. There is also a tabletop model called the SoundBridge Radio that has built in speakers, an AM/FM radio, and an alarm clock. As of 2008 all Roku SoundBridge products have been discontinued and are now legacy devices; Roku has focused on IPTV.
SoundBridge players sold in the United States are made by Roku, and include:
- M1001 SoundBridge (bitmapped VFD display - 280×16; similar to original M1000 model(see note))
- R1000 SoundBridge Radio (bitmapped VFD display - 280×32; AM/FM tuner; SD card slot; built-in speakers)
- M500 SoundBridge (character-based LCD display - 40×2 characters)
- M1000 SoundBridge (bitmapped VFD display - 280×16)
- M2000 SoundBridge (bitmapped VFD display - 512×32; larger, 17 in (430 mm) enclosure with very large display)
NOTE: The M1001 uses the newer design style, unlike the older discontinued "M" series units, the M1001 does not have removable side caps or a removable Wi-Fi card (CF form factor). The M1001 has its connections in the rear of the unit, unlike the older ones that had theirs behind the removable side caps
Outside the United States, SoundBridge models are manufactured and sold by Pinnacle, under license from Roku. Although some Pinnacle models are similar or identical in hardware, Pinnacle does not have a license for the DAAP protocol, so Pinnacle models cannot connect directly to iTunes. Pinnacle and Roku promote the Firefly Media Server as an alternative that offers similar functionality. Pinnacle models include:
- SoundBridge (one version identical to Roku SoundBridge M1001, another known as M1001HR with the higher resolution 280×32 pixel display as used in the SoundBridge Radio)
- SoundBridge Radio (identical to Roku SoundBridge Radio sans native iTunes support)
- Soundbridge HomeMusic - M400PX (character-based LCD - 16×2 characters; no Ethernet; no digital output; SD card slot; low-cost plastic housing in place of aluminum extrusion on original models)
Firmware version 2.7 supports WPA, but only for the M1001, the SoundBridge Radio, and the European versions from Pinnacle, not for the older M500/1000/2000 versions. The SoundBridge is an 802.11b device, but it can be used with backward compatible 802.11g networks.