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Does What I Want for My Music User Interface Exist?

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4 replies to this topic

#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Curmudgeon10



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Posted June 09 2011 - 07:16 AM

I have a very functional and satisfactory home theater setup for movies.  Includes TV, surround sound, PS3 for games and Blu Ray, etc.  I also have a stripped down version of this setup in another room ---- regular sound, dedicated blu ray player, etc.  I don't really need any changes in the video system.  Where I want to improve my system is the playback of my music.

I have essentially a music server on my PC, and two (since I have two locations) WDTVLIVEPLUS boxes that, as part of my network, can play the music through the sound systems in each room.  Their are two choices for user interface: a) you can "play to" the WDTVLIVEPLUS boxes using Windows Media 12 (all my music is organized under this application).  I really like this interface because it is very intuitive, has good graphics and is scaled well so you have a lot of data on the screen you are using.  Drag and drop for songs, playlists, albums, music videos is excellent.  b) If you don't want to fire up your laptop, you can use the WDTVLIVEPLUS interface on your TV.  This requires the use of the WD remote control where you select various options on the screen to drill down to the exact music element you want.  I love my boxes, but this U/I is just clunky and not great.  Plus there seems to be a lot of latency...

What I want to do is control the music using a tablet.  Typically my wife and I play a few songs each, and passing the laptop back and forth, in order to use WMP12 is just too awkward.  So I am thinking tablet.  Problem: few, if any Windows tablets, and what is out there is expen$ive.  Now I hear a decent MS tablet and OS "may" be out next year in the Fall.  Hmmm....long time to wait.

Answering my own question somewhat, I could go with iPad and iTunes (right?).  Hoping to hear from someone who uses this combination for their music in Home Theater.  Initially started with iTunes, but I didn't like the constant updating and the control the app wanted to exert over other aspects of my PC ops.  And, at the time I bought my WD boxes, there were some machinations involved tailoring iTunes processes so the WD boxes would work.  So I went totally with Windows.

So the question is ---- how, short of going with iPad/iTunes (assume....) do I get a nice, portable (tablet) and intuitive user interface to control music playback, where the music folders are all available on the network (and are currently being controlled by WMP12)?Posted Image

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   bigshot



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Posted June 09 2011 - 11:18 AM

I have my projection system running off a Mac mini. It has Drobo drives packed with disk images of movies and my music library. I have separate iTunes libraries for each type of music (country, jazz, classical, popular, r&b, etc.) and one "mulligan stew" library with the set from all of them in random rotation. The reason for all the separate libraries is the size of my collection- over 365 days of music. Most people would do fine with one library. The music streams over airport wifi all over the house. I control the mini using my iPad and iPhone from anywhere in the house using Splashtop. It gives me complete control over the mini, and a mirror of the monitor. It works flawlessly. No latency, in fact it streams video to the iPad pretty well. I don't know if this answers your question, but Macs are designed from the ground up to do this stuff simply and economically. Trying to make a PC do the same might be tough.

#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Robert_J


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Posted June 09 2011 - 11:35 AM

Check the top of the Speakers and Subs section - http://www.hometheat...-and-subwoofers for a review of the Sonos multi-room audio system.

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Curmudgeon10



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Posted June 10 2011 - 01:25 AM

Thanks for replying.  I guess if I had a clean sheet of paper, I would have gone the same route you have gone.  Unfortunately, I have two much sunk cost in my system now to re-architect the thing.  I've heard about an iPad app that controls the WDTV box, but haven't been able to find out what it looks like (don't yet own an iPad).  If it simply puts the WD menu system on the iPad, it's of no advantage.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   Curmudgeon10



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Posted June 10 2011 - 01:36 AM

That Sonos system is pretty slick, particularly for apartment people, renters, etc.  I'm not ready to abandon my built in surround sound system just yet.  But the idea behind Sonos is what I am after, preserving as much as possible my current hardware.