Digital Entertainment Centers (MP3, WMA, etc.) - Long.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeffrey_Jones, Dec 18, 2001.

  1. Jeffrey_Jones

    Jeffrey_Jones Second Unit

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    Hello,
    I just performed a search on this topic and came up with very little. That tells me that either there is no interest in this technology within this group or we just don't know enough about it yet. I'm interested in the opinions and experiences of others so bring it on.
    I have a huge collection of MP3 files (over 80GB) and a great interest in digitally cataloging the remainder of my collection. I have always wanted to play my MP3s on my home system, but have held off for a number of reasons.
    The biggest reason is that I would have had to use a PC. The sound quality of most PCs is not usually the best. Too many pieces of gear sharing one small box. With the advent of very high end PC audio cards, this may no longer be a big concern. My biggest problem is with the PC's display on a television. I have tried very high end video cards, PC-TV converters, the All-in-wonder-pro, etc and they all look like crap at any resolution. Text is unreadable at worst and down right annoying at best.
    The HP de100c http://dec.hp-at-home.com/ (and other similar units) seem to be the answer to my prayers...with some very big exceptions. The hard drive is too small and the price is way too high. It seems to me that the best digital entertainment center should have to do everything the HP can do (especially a solid on screen display UI) plus include a huge hard drive (or the ability to upgrade) and be way under $1000.
    Does anyone have any other ideas for running a catalog of MP3s through a HT setup? Any luck with different video cards or special software? What are the odds that HP will be selling a 200 GB unit for under $500 in the next year?
    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
  2. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    There is a stand alone STB (set top box) unit on the market with no hard drive. It uses the same technology for cataloging as the ones with an HD, but it networks to your PC and uses its hard drive, so theorietically it is infinitely expandable. I dont remember the name, but someone else might chime in here. I am also interested in this, but I dont want to purchase any extra hardware, so I am looking for pc only based alternatives.
     
  3. JoeDelan

    JoeDelan Stunt Coordinator

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    Why dont you burn them on a CD and then play them on your DVD or CD player?

    Another thing you can now do is hook up your Audio Card to your REceiver...There are a few high end audio cards that allow you to do just that. Maybe that is what you should be looking at.
     
  4. Dan_Jones

    Dan_Jones Stunt Coordinator

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    In reply to the set top box networking mp3 unit...it's the Audiotron from Turtle Beach. I've set one up for my brother. The only big deal with it is getting the network initially going (especially since we used his phone lines)..but after that everything worked flawlessly. Catalogs all his mp3's by artist, album, lists, etc...

    Nice unit. Bought $300.
     
  5. Jeffrey_Jones

    Jeffrey_Jones Second Unit

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    Thanks for the information. The Audiotron looks interesting and would be a great solution if only it has a nice on screen display for the TV. The little display on the unit seems like a pain to use. I'll have to look into this product more.

    Thanks again,

    Jeff

    Joe - I don't want to burn them onto CDs for the same reason I want to catalog my remaining CDs into MP3s...easy of use. I have a lot of music and have always wanted a single jukebox without having to buy one of those giant 400 CD megachangers. I could connect my sound card to my system but the display quality of a PC on a TV is horrible. I want a good UI on my TV to control my music.
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I too would like to see these MP3 decks come down in price. I'd like to see one with a 20-GB hard drive or larger with a CD tray for direct copying for under $500. Hopefully such a deck will be available by next Christmas. It will happen, but it will take time.
     
  7. Jeffrey_Jones

    Jeffrey_Jones Second Unit

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    I agree Keith. Although I want one with 120 GB drive of larger. I would be willing to pay more for the storage capacity that I need if it came along with a great OSD user interface...or any at all.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  8. Drew Dockery

    Drew Dockery Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's another one that's a lot like the Audiotron. Again no on screen interface, but overall it looks pretty nice. If I could somehow connect this to a wireless network I'd have to seriously consider it.
     
  9. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    i dont know if youre into this, but how about a DIY project?! you can build a damn good 'mini-computer' to do this task for like $400. just get a small box and mobo, sound card, cheap processor, and like two 80GB HD's and youre set. you can run a coax-out and get PCM digital into your receiver. this is, essentially, just hooking your computer up the receiver (like i do-- see my website). you shouldnt lose sound quality (well, considering mp3s dont sound that great in the first place...) b/c you're passing a digital signal-- it's like hooking up a CD player via digital coax. i too have a rather large mp3 collection (about half the size of yours), and i use this in my college HT and it sounds fine. good luck!
     
  10. Jeffrey_Jones

    Jeffrey_Jones Second Unit

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    Thomas,
    This is something that I did about a year ago. Small PC, wireless keyboard, etc. Sound quality was fine, but it didn't solve my biggest problem...display quality on the TV. I am looking for a solution that allows me to utilize a UI on my TV and play my MP3s. I'm really just being picky, but PC output on a standard television is unreadable at any setting.
    I either need a device like the HP with a much bigger hard drive, or a device like the Audiotron with an OSD for my TV. Either that or I need to buy one of those hybrid computer/TVs that are available. but price prohibitive.
    Thanks,
    Jeff
    PS - I guess I could also just have a computer monitor next to my TV, but that would look ugly and be limited in size. I want it all in one package [​IMG]
     
  11. Bill Bradstreet

    Bill Bradstreet Stunt Coordinator

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    Audiotron is the way I'm planning on going.

    1) backing up a computer is easier than backing up a home entertainment jukebox (hej)

    2) same music can be listened to from different audiotrons much easier than with multiple hej's.

    3) can see your collection on any computer on the network/web page (different and in some ways I like this better than a TV)

    4) you can control the device from any computer on your network (i love this option!)

    Seems like a great option for mp3 on home audio. Yeah, I'd love to still see the selection being played on the TV, but maybe they'll add that later.
     
  12. Jeffrey_Jones

    Jeffrey_Jones Second Unit

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    Bill,

    I agree with most of your reasons...but why is a computer display better then the TV? If you are going to be listening to the music on your main home system, wouldn't you want the display to be there as well. I agree that being able to setup lists, organize music, etc would be easier on a PC, but actually playing your selections would be so much easier if it displayed on the TV as well.

    All in all I really like the Audiotron and might have to try it out.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  13. Zbigniew

    Zbigniew Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeffrey, unless you move to HDTV, using TV as computer display will be returning back to CGA times. Do you remeber such card ? we were using TV as displays, with all limitations... Standard PC monitor has resolution at least 800x600, and quite often 1280x1024; TV resolution is piddly 480 vertical.

    If you want high detail, you will need HDTV, or use Web based interface on one of handhold computers.

    Folks are using CDJ/Homeseer/Aubrey for this purpose.

    _zjt
     
  14. AntonS

    AntonS Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually I believe that the sound quality form a PC can be quite good if you don't use the sound card's analog portion. Just buy a card that has digital out and run digital cable to your receiver. In this case there will be no D/A converison on the sound card, so your receiver will be decoding and playing virtually the same PCM stream that is being read and decoded from a MP3 file.
     
  15. John Sun

    John Sun Agent

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    Yes, the sound quality from the digital out of a PC sound card can sound quite good. Stay away from the mass market/consumer crap like Sound Blaster, etc.
    The card I use is highly regarded and very reasonably priced.
    M-Audio DIO
     
  16. KimR

    KimR Auditioning

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    Personally i would build a small mp3 computer with 100gig HD. Take this setup:
    http://www.legionhardware.com/pic.ph...4/Image_17.jpg
    newegg.com is selling barebones Shuttle SV24 with Alum case for $250. Already built in sound card, gfx card, nic and a pci slot (so u can put in a *good* soundcard). This has all the ports you can ask for. Watch divx movies through tvout and have it as a mp3 jukebox for lan and ht.
     
  17. AntonS

    AntonS Stunt Coordinator

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    John, I've read some very favorable reviews of Sound Blaster Audigy family. They even have ASIO drivers for it. It's not the cheapest card though.
     
  18. John Sun

    John Sun Agent

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    Anton, I am not familiar with the SB Audigy line. I believe the main criticism of the SB Live Platinum and the like is that everything in or out is resampled at 48Khz, which isn't necessarily bad, but the resampler itself is of poor quality. Perhaps they addressed these issues with the newer line. The Phillips Acoustic edge received favorable reviews as well, but I've been out of the market for a while and far from an expert on the subject. Some interesting reading, although a bit outdated - Sound Card Tests
    The Midiman Dio 2448 that I mentioned earlier provides bit perfect output and is an affortable alternative at less than $100.
     
  19. Roderick S

    Roderick S Auditioning

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    I posted this on a seperate thread but maybe its more appropriate here.....
    Does any one know the price for the Sony HAR-D100. It is a music based hard disk recorder with a 40GB hard drive. It has album slots for up to 500 titles with up to 400 tracks per album!!! thats 20,000 tracks !!!!
    It also has a USB PC port for downloading CD info and a built in 2x internal CD Drive.
    I saw this in a SonyES catalog but can not find it anywhere
    I would really like to add something like this to my system. I've been looking at the Escient Tunebase but its too expensive. Someone should be able to market this for under $500.
    Outlaw maybe ?[​IMG]
     

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