For music lovers, sharing is caring. That’s the goal with the i2i Stream. But is it worth it?

Do you have to share your iPod? It sounds like a silly question in this day and age, but Aerielle has a solution to that problem if you do. The i2i Stream is an interesting product that helps stream music from an MP3 player to a mini-receiver, which you can plug headphones into and listen to music through. The big question for me is that I wonder if people have this problem in this day and age. You can buy an iPod shuffle for $50. Is the i2i Stream necessary? Especially for its price tag, which is $119. I’ll get to that.

The product comes with two i2i Streams (you can buy solo players for about $70). This is the best solution for those who don’t have an i2i Stream because you’ll need two to start. Also inside the box are two USB charging cables, four different audio cables, two pocket clips, and two neck lanyards.

In order to put the units together, you have to attach the pocket clips to the back of the i2i stream. This is a bit tricky as you have to loop the clips through the back. I quit early on and it took friends about 20 minutes to get the clips completely on. This allows you to attach the lanyard to the i2i Stream which seems to be the way to rock it.

You will have to charge up the units via the USB cables and a computer. The USB cable fits into the side of the player and it immediately lights up to let you know that it’s charging. It takes a couple hours to completely charge. Once charged, attach the audio cable into both your MP3 player and one of the i2i Streams. Rather than plugging your headphones into the MP3 player, you plug them directly into the i2i Stream. The MP3 player and i2i Stream will represent the broadcast player.

The other i2i Stream is the receiver and you also plug in your headphones directly into the unit. The players are a bit tricky to turn on as well. There’s a volume control on the top right of the player and in order to turn it on, you press it as if you were pressing a button. The reason it’s tricky is because when your thumb touches it, you want flip it up or down, which you can because it’s the way you turn the volume up and down. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to turn it on. I thought the broadcaster was already on because I could hear the music coming out of it, but it wasn’t. When I finally turned them both on correctly, they lit up like they were supposed to.

It’s funny that the set up was much harder than the actual sending and receiving signals, which is the technical part. On the broadcaster, you hit the middle button which acts as the channel button. Channels aren’t noted with numbers, but they are noted with colors. When you press on the channel button, it turns one color and as long as you set up the same color on the receiver, you’re lynched. Once you have your colors synced, you press the send button on the broadcaster and the receive button on the receiver. Once that happens, your receiver should hear everything that the broadcaster is playing. It works exactly as it should

The wireless receiver works within about 30 feet. Once you are outside of 30 feet, you can hear static and know that you are outside of the necessary range. The receiver works beautifully. You have a very small i2i Stream around your neck (barely larger than a lighter) with headphones coming out of it. But for the broadcaster, you have your MP3 player attached to the i2i Stream with an audio cable, and then your headphone cords. If you are not a fan of cords, this can be a messy situation for you. I know that I’d be bothered if I was the broadcaster.

There are a few other details that the buyer should know about the i2i Stream.

– i2i promises about 5-7 hours of battery life. Compare that to an iPod Shuffle and it’s a bit disappointing. I imagine that if this product gets more iterations, it will get smaller in size and the battery life will increase

– It’s made of plastic and I can imagine that there will be accidents with people stepping on it, or putting in their pocket and sitting on it. I don’t want to test this, but it’s not a sturdy feeling or looking unit.

– Just like with a wireless telephone, the unit streams over a 2.4-GHz spectrum, which means that if you sit it near your wireless router, there can be some static.

– It can be used to broadcast audio from your computer to a set of speakers, essentially making the i2i Stream a wireless receiver for speakers. You’ll have to use the audio cables on each i2i Stream, but it’s definitely a great feature that they should promote.

Now, the main question still remains. Is it a necessary product to have? In most cases, I’d say no. But in my case, I’d say yes. My oldest son has an iPod Nano and he sits in the backseat of the car on long drives and listens to his iPod while his brother has to do something else. We could buy a jack that would allow them to plug into the same iPod with two sets of headphones, but if you’ve ever dealt with brothers, they don’t always get along and if the owner of the iPod decides that he doesn’t want to share his headphone jack, he can just unplug it. With the i2i Stream, the sharing is done wirelessly and there’s less of a chance that the older brother decides that the younger brother isn’t worthy of his iPod any longer.

I would also use the i2i Stream to send audio from my computer to a speaker that’s in another room without having to plug in the iPod to it. Usually in this room, I listen to podcasts and if my iPod isn’t updated with the new audio, I have to download it to the iPod first, and then undock it and plug the iPod into the speaker. With the i2i Stream, I wouldn’t have sync the iPod to the computer. I’d just listen from the computer.

I’m not sure that the i2i Stream necessarily catches on, but for what it promises, it does a great job. There are products that promise to do many things and don’t work as well as the marketing says, but this isn’t the case with the i2i Stream. It works exactly as promised. With some new functionality like bluetooth and possible wireless syncing to the iPod, the i2i Stream might save families from having so many MP3 players.

3.5 stars out of 5