Best Media Streamer?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Darren Pillans, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. Darren Pillans

    Darren Pillans Second Unit

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    Hi there folks.

    Media streaming is a fairly new concept to me, but something I'm surprised isn't taking over the world right now. Wouldn't everyone (if they knew how) like to play anything from their computer on their living room AV system? Especially, as most of us have our music stored on our computers and good deal of video content too.

    I'm hoping to get some advice on which is the best media streamer.
    ie: most compatible formats, fastest load times, least or no drop-outs.

    It must be compatible with WAV and MOV, because mostly I'd accessing audio files and Quicktime trailers.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Kinda curious why you would store your audio in WAV format? It takes up a lot of space and lacks tag support, which is critical for audio management.

    To answer your question, I have yet to find a single product that does both excels at supporting both audio and video.

    In the audio world, I find the Logitech (previously SlimDevices) Squeezebox products to be excellent for network streaming of audio (including internet audio options), and supports all audio formats except for files containing DRM. The soon-to-be release Squeezebox Touch will have a lite version of the server software built in, enabling full use of an external hard drive connected directly via USB. All the other products will still need a central server running the Squeezecenter server software (which needs access to the music storage location). All support WiFi and LAN connections.

    I have been using a Squeezebox 3 (now called Classic) in my main listening area. I have plans to add the Squeezebox Boom and/or the upcoming Squeezebox Radio to kids' rooms and my bedroom and office. The Boom and Radio have speakers included in the physical package.

    On the video side, I've heard good things about a few different products, but nothing that stands out, at least to me. You could build a Boxee server on Linux (the Windows version needs work) or get a Popcorn Hour device, among some of the options. But none of those handle audio as well as the Squeezeboxen.
     
  3. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Forgot to mention, you can try the Squeezecenter server software and a software player emulator for free.
     
  4. Darren Pillans

    Darren Pillans Second Unit

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    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for your response.

    Unfortunately, due to my basic computer knowledge, much of what you said went over my head.

    I ripped a massive number of CDs before I became interested in streaming, not realising WAV is incompatible.
     
  5. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    You should be able to convert WAV files to a compressed lossless format such as FLAC. You should be able to save some disc space and gain the added advantage of having tags in your files. You may have to manually add tags (artist, alum, track number, track title) manually to those files though. Most ripper programs get that information online using the disc's internal ID to poll a database.

    There's 3 types of files

    uncompressed - original quality eg. WAV
    compressed lossless - original quality but smaller file size eg. FLAC
    compressed lossy - reduced quality (of varying degrees), much smaller file size eg. MP3

    Please tell me which parts of my original post were over your head so I can try to better explain. I'm certainly happy to help.
     
  6. Jeff Whitford

    Jeff Whitford Screenwriter

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    How do you convert Wav to Flac?
     
  7. Zack Gibbs

    Zack Gibbs Screenwriter

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    Here's a nice article from just a few days ago;

    http://gizmodo.com/5363273/how-to-rip-your-music-like-a-pro
     
  8. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    EAC is a solid program, but if you are running Windows, I recommend dbPowerAmp. Just as good as EAC, but much easier to use for the non-expert (and in fact a lot of experts are using it too). Also, dbPowerAmp is the creator and maintainer of the Accurip software (which EAC also uses), which compares your rip to others. Granted dbPowerAmp is not free, but the price is reasonable and allows you to rip to multiple formats simultaneously (good for maintaining a serious listening library and lower quality library for on the go in an mp3 player). It also has a batch converter for existing files.
     
  9. Citrixguy

    Citrixguy Auditioning

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    Hey there. I'm a big old fan of the AC Ryan Playonhd player. doesn't cost that much, plays great, good support for different codecs and it's a hell of alot easier than looking for all of my son's DVD's
     
  10. mikeyinsd

    mikeyinsd Auditioning

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    I ended up buying a mac mini for my "media server". I have an apple airport extreme with a 2 TB drive on it and the mac mini is plugged into the airport with ethernet. Works like a champ and I can use a Logitech remote to control it. Just converted all my dvd's and cd's. I now have 2 mac mini's - one for the living room and one for the bedroom. you can hook up dvi to hdmi and the mac mini has a digital optical out. you just need to get the 1/8" adaptor for your optical cable and you're golden. Hope this helps.
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Sorry, folks, but any discussion that involves defeating the copy protection on DVDs is not permitted here. See HTF Rule 5.
     
  12. dfeller

    dfeller Auditioning

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    First - can't believe I missed this forum - just found a random link to this from AVS - what a waste...

    I'm particularly fond of the Boxee system myself and with the integration of Clicker (which has built in easy search of hulu and all the major network sites) I'm not sure anyone else can catch up. BUT, that means you need to dedicate a PC (Linux is best), load it all up, put in a video card that can serve your TV etc. (My choice for sure byt the way)...

    If you are looking for simplicity, one of the stand alone boxes is an excellent choice. Someone mentioned the popcorn hour box (other similar and cheaper ones like the HDX1000 from amperordirect are exceptional choices by the way) - You are looking for the broadest possible codec offering, network connectivity, a good remote control, and good video outputs. Expect to pay $200 ish for a good one that you will be happy with.

    David
     

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