Rocki Wi-fi Music System Hardware Review

Rocki Wi-fi Music System Hardware Review

Aug 6, 2014

First, I am a Kickstarter feen. There’s something infinitely sexy about crowd-sourced projects; the whole concept of sharing a dream with investors who believe enough in said dream to back it financially is one of the best aspects of new age entrepreneurship one can find today. I admit to spending more time than I should browsing through projects.

Items like Rocki Wi-fi Music System allow for us to see Kickstarter at its best.

Some background: Rocki is a small, pocketable gadget that allows music users to stream music from smartphone-borne apps via common wi-fi. The project went up with a goal of $50,000 to fund; by the time the backing period ended, it had racked up more than four times that amount in pledges. Now, in Kickstarter terms, that’s mighty impressive, especially when one considers that even a few of the higher pledge tiers received plenty of support. As such, we were more than a little eager to check out the finished product, and the company obliged us with an opportunity to formally look at this item.

Yes. There are way more horrible ways to spend a weekend. Or two.


The small review box packed a good deal of goodies that hint at just how effective the gadget intends to be: audio to speaker (red and white) cable, male-to-male coaxial cable, flat micro-USB cable, AC adapter, paraphernalia and, of course, the Rocki itself. The green unit is curiously shaped, being faintly polyhedric with antiprismatic stylings and quite palmable. The light green piece is mostly green rubbery plastic, with a hard black base. The on-button is set with the micro-USB and audio ports, and there is a small reset hole on the black underside. On the topside, the device logo is proudly stamped. It packs a rechargeable 900mAh battery and officially stands at 3.9 x 2 x 0.7 inches and 2.1 ounces.


What Rocki looks to do is provide a wireless alternative to bluetooth streaming; its tool of choice is common wi-fi. Thus, the unit can be paired to a wi-fi enabled source via Android app, and, when physically connected to a pair of speakers with the one of the included audio cables, the audio is transmitted to the speakers… much like a bluetooth puck. Setting it up is easy enough in theory, but after downloading, it did take me a couple of tries to get stuff working, after which it all came together. The fidelity is nice overall, with no noticeable delay.

Now, one benefit of using this over bluetooth is that since it uses wi-fi, there is less of a theoretical concern with regards to range and/or obstacles; as long as the source phone or tablet and the Rocki are connected to wi-fi and the app is installed, a user is set. It allows the music source to remain with the user, and even allows different units to be alternated from within the same app, and music from multiple sources can be added to a playlist. Additionally, I like that the companion app also works as a self-contained music player, with built-in compatibility with and SoundCloud.


I like the concept behind the app; I think the multiple use ability is a great feature, as is the ability to use with computers. It doesn’t handle every type of music, and the use of wi-fi is a sword that cuts both ways. Still, it’s a piece that is good to have.

The Rocki Wi-Fi Music System can be had in a host of colors (pink, purple, red, black, yellow and green) via Amazon for $49.00.

Zapstreak SDK and Apps Supporting Its DLNA Media Streaming Technology Go Public

Zapstreak SDK and Apps Supporting Its DLNA Media Streaming Technology Go Public

Nov 29, 2012

Zapstreak, the SDK for developers to add DLNA media streaming to their apps, is now public, and users can now download apps using Zapstreak to try out for themselves. One such app, musiXmatch, allows users to stream music and discover song lyrics, is available on Google Play right now. Another, video2brain allows for educational videos to be easily sent to smart TVs. As Thomas Friedl, lead developer of video2brain, says, “We want to serve as many platforms as possible, giving our subscribers the choice to learn whenever and wherever they want. Using Zapstreak, we were able to bring our video based courses to the living room, turning smart TVs into a rich source of 21st century education.”

While this technology has potential uses as it expands, what about Miracast, which is available in the Nexus 4 for providing display mirroring? When I spoke to Stefan Bielau, co-founder of Zapstreak, he expressed to me that because Miracast is such a limited protocol at this point, versus the more open DLNA standard (which is supported by many smart TVs and the Xbox 360 and PS3), their service will have key advantages over Miracast. As well, with their plans to launch on iOS and Windows 8, they’re hoping to expand out their technology to be more than just an AirPlay alternative, to possibly be more flexible.

Zapstreak Shows Early Results of Android to TV Media Streaming Behavior Through Shortbeam

Zapstreak Shows Early Results of Android to TV Media Streaming Behavior Through Shortbeam

Aug 9, 2012

While they didn’t exactly publicize this app when announcing the initial Zapstreak SDK, there has been one app using their technology on Android, called Shortbeam. This app allows users to stream video from services like YouTube and Reddit TV to a DLNA-compatible TV or media device, along with their photos and music.  Fusion Sheep, the developer of Zapstreak, has shared some data on how users are streaming media with the service to this point.

So far, video has overwhelmingly been the most streamed media, representing 65% of what is streamed to TVs. Photos are actually second above music, at 18% to 17%. A total of over 469 hours of media has been streamed, though the average stream has been for just over 2 minutes. Users may just be interested in finding a way to view short-form content on their TVs, not to use their phones as a media hub to be beamed when necessary.

Inteestingly, the Samsung Galaxy S II was the most popular streaming source. TVs represented 9 of the 10 media receivers, with only the DirecTV set top box being the non-smart-TV in the list. Coincidental or not, 6 out of the top 10 were streaming from and to the same manufacturer. While sample size issues are abound with this information, it could show that cross-hardware branding is a potential strength for manufacturers to focus on.

Shortbeam is free from Google Play. The Zapstreak SDK is still in beta.

Zapstreak Hopes to Bring DLNA Media Streaming from Android to DLNA Devices

Zapstreak Hopes to Bring DLNA Media Streaming from Android to DLNA Devices

May 2, 2012

One of the features that Android is missing compared to iOS is AirPlay. While that uses proprietary Apple protocols and occasionally even hardware to get the job done, it does make it easy for users in the Apple ecosystem to beam their content wherever they want.

However, Android users don’t really have an equivalent service to call their own. Apps like DoubleTwist integrate with the AirPlay standard, but still basically require an AirPlay device at the other end.

Zapstreak is hoping to change this. They’re hoping to allow Android users to beam their content to their TVs and other connected media devices through the DLNA standard.

What their SDK aims to let developers do is to let them share photos, audio, and video from an Android device, and beam it to a DLNA client. DLNA is a much more open standard than AirPlay is, utilizing UPnP to help devices, even from different manufacturers and operating systems, communicate in order to share media.

So, by utilizing properly encoded information, an app integrated with Zapstreak will be able to display media on TVs very easily. For example, a music streaming app will be able to play music to a set of connected speakers if it’s integrated with Zapstreak. Photo apps can share users’ creations on a big screen with the Zapstreak. Video apps, when properly encoded, can be streamed to view on a TV, which may be the most exciting part of the Zapstreak proposition.

In speaking with Stefan Bielau of Fusion Sheep, he says that their goal is to reach connected TVs in particular, with the idea that their service will allow users to beam content without any hardware in between. Of course, any DLNA device is hypothetically usable with the service. This includes the Xbox 360 and PS3, and Stefan Bielau even mentioned an old wifi-enabled radio he was able to use to stream audio from a Zapstreak app.

While Zapstreak are not ready to reveal what will be using their SDK, especially as signups are still occurring. However, their plan, at least in the middle term, is to hopefully integrate some functionality in non-media apps, potentially utilizing Zapstreak to stream live audio to a TV. In its current incarnation, it may be difficult for an Android equivalent AirPlay Mirroring implementation to come through this.

As well, Android and DLNA appear to just be the start of thigns for Zapstreak: the plan is to launch on Windows Phone and iOS in the future, and to even get to a point where they could share to an Apple TV. Signups for the Zapstreak SDK are available from their website.