The iRemote communicates with the GXR2 via the relatively new ZigBee wireless standard, allowing me to roam throughout my house, around my pool, and to practically the farthest reaches of my backyard while still retaining full control. The system supports up to 26 iRemotes, but I'd say one per room is about right.
Any controller except the Single can operate any zone (or turn the entire system off), which is why the iRemote is so handy. Carry it with you to another area, and with a touch of the ZONE button, you're controlling the local speakers. (Brilliant - I want a holster for it so it never has to leave my side.)
If you opt for the Contact touchpanel in your wall instead of the iRemote in your hand, you can still point a traditional IR remote at it and use its built-in infrared receiver to control your system from bed or across the room. Future modules for the GXR2 will allow the Contact to display album art, raising its cool-factor considerably.
One gripe is that while browsing XM and Sirius, you can see only the channel name; you can't tell which artist or song is playing until you select the station. Metadata is like a drug - once you get a taste, you're hooked - and having lived with both satellite music services for over a year, I missed this channel-surfing feature.
Docking stations that mate an iPod with your audio distribution system are old hat by now, but most come with price tags I find staggering. Why does integrating an iPod cost 400% more than actually buying one? Fortunately, Niles gets it: The company's $200 IM-iPod means that, for less than $600 total, you could have a 60-gig Pod with 15,000 songs dedicated as a house-wide music server. That's awesome. And the ICS interface lets you search your Pod's music collection by letter - proof that some serious thinking went into this. Browsing albums for ZZ Top or finding the song "Zoot Suit Riot" no longer requires a carpal-tunnel-inducing spin.
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