HTPC newbie - playing music jukebox to multiple stereos?

SteveK-mn

Auditioning
Joined
Feb 24, 2003
Messages
6
I am starting to learn about HTPC's. I am thinking about starting out simple by putting all of my CDs onto a computer and using it as a jukebox to feed my HT system. But I also have other stereo systems in the house that I would love to connect to the HTPC. I am trying to think about the cheapest and simplest way to share a single jukebox.

First question is:
Can a single computer play different songs from the same HD at the same time? Obviously, I need the music not to be intermixed and separate outputs. Would I need two sound cards? Instead, should I use a second computer that reads the music files from a common shared drive?

Second question:
How can I distribute the music signal to a remote stereo system?

Thanks in advance for suggestions.
 

Camp

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 3, 1999
Messages
2,301
Can a single computer play different songs from the same HD at the same time?
I think so. Try this:
http://www.musicex.com/mediacenter/

It's still in beta but it's running well enough that you can buy it. Media Center has two "zones" and I'm pretty sure you can play different files in each zone. They just did some sort of update to that feature but since I have no need for the multiple zone feature I am a bit uninformed. I'd suggest you hang out in their forum here: http://www.musicex.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=beta.
 

Tekara

Supporting Actor
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Jan 8, 2003
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783
Real Name
Robert
okay this one is a bit tricky and the last time I did it was when I owned a 486 so I can't claim much on it.

it will work with two sound cards, but you need to force the player to use a particular output. but with some multimedia manipulation you can force one player to use one output and another player to use the other output instead of the default "use whatever is available" and that will allow for two independant zones. in the multmedia window from the control panel you will see the different outputs available to windows in the scrolldown boxes. the only hardtime you will have is finding a player that you can force the output mode on as I don't remember seeing that option in winamp or media player.
 

Tim_Stonesifer

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 27, 2002
Messages
51
Winamp allows you to force audio outputs. You'll want to use the plugin called directsound. It should come standard with the player. I'm always using this feature and it works great.
 

SteveK-mn

Auditioning
Joined
Feb 24, 2003
Messages
6
Thanks for the great help with this. I followed up on the links and it was very helpful. It seemed intuitive that you would need two sound cards. So that is no surprise - but it is nice to get confirmation. From what I read it sounds like I might make my life a little easier if I use the same two sound cards.

Any thoughts on how to get the output of the sound card to a receiver on the other side of the house?

Steve
 

Tekara

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jan 8, 2003
Messages
783
Real Name
Robert
I use a 50ft rca cable as a digital coax connection between my computer in the basement and the home theater in the living room. don't seem to have any troubles at all with it either.
 

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