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Any experience/suggestions on a "media player"?

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:32 am
by Rascal_
I'm setting up a home theater and am interested in connecting my stereo/tv to my network to play video and music.

I've seen D-Link's MediaLounge which seems to fit the bill. I don't know what other products are, or how the newer models work (with Intel's DRM it appears).

I will have (hopefully) soon a Linux server with a number of external drives set up for my home network where the music and video would be. It will be a wired connection to the entertainment center.

I appreciate the help in any experience or suggestions.

Thank you!

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 4:31 pm
by Rascal_
Does anyone here have experience in playing music files on their home stereo? As mentioned above, I have a computer with music stored on an external drive (in .wav format) and I can use wired Ethernet.

I read reviews on Netgear and D-link products and they haven't been too good.

Am I too early for this technology?

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 4:53 pm
by BillyGates
I use Windows Media Center for videos and am very happy with it. :)

I use Media Monkey on that same 'PC' to listen to my music collection, and am happy Media Monkey works fairly well with the media center remote control.

For me the expense of a dedicated media center PC (I got a Dell E1505 laptop for it), is worth the expense and you know you don't have to worry about firmware upgrades, and video/audio support as it's just windows. :)

Good luck!

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 5:17 pm
by Rascal_
Thanks, BillyGates. I tend to stay away from Windows products. A dedicated PC to stream music to my stereo seems overkill, although it is more flexible than some specific product. I'll certainly look into your suggestion further.

I've figured out that what I'm looking for is a 'network audio player/receiver'. My topic title is probably misleading.

I've found Squeezebox and Musicbridge, amoung others. Although I was hoping for pic and video in addition to audio.

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:23 pm
by Lowlander
A Windows (or Linux without MediaMonkey) solution is very flexible (you can do whatever you want) and not much more expensive than dedicated systems (you do have to shop around).

The added benefit is that you have video support in Windows/Linux and that Windows supports MediaMonkey (think autoplaylists).

If you go the dedicated hardware route you have the option to go for a receiver/stereo with network support or an additional box like Buffalo, Linksys, DLink, Netgear or others.

In any case I would advice to type the model number and the word review in your search engine of choice and search to read reviews (site like CNet and shopping comparison sites are good).

Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:13 pm
by Rascal_
Thanks Lowlander. I have been cruising Cnet as one place. It's taking me a while to find the proper search terms for what I want. Another product that I found is Squeezebox 3.

I'm getting used to MM, so having some sort of PC (hidden laptop) in my family room might work. I guess I would have to add some sort of card to decent audio output (or do PCs now come with that?).

I want it to be convenient and easy to use to my children (up to age 6) can play music. The idea is they won't ruin my CDs in the process. :)

Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:51 pm
by Teknojnky
Rascal_ wrote:Although I was hoping for pic and video in addition to audio.
You want an xbox with a mod chip and xbmc.

http://www.xboxmediacenter.com/


I have one, bought it from an aquaintence, works great. I can stream mp3s, videos of any type, dvd iso's, pictures, I can play xbox games directly from the internal hard drive, and if your into old arcade games you can get some emulators and roms and play them as well.

You can probly pick up a used xbox on ebay or pawn shop cheap, maybe even thats already modded.

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:47 am
by sonicendeavor
Rascal_ wrote: "I'm getting used to MM, so having some sort of PC (hidden laptop) in my family room might work. I guess I would have to add some sort of card to decent audio output (or do PCs now come with that?)."
It depends on how critical the listening environment is, but you'll probably want to purchase an external soundcard for the laptop (either PCMCIA card or a separate USB 2.0 box). Creative Labs (soundblaster) makes both types.

I have my PC in my home office hardwired to the entertainment center in the family room, which then distributes the audio/video throughout the house via multiple amplifiers, controlled by keypads or volume controls in each of the rooms.
When we built the house, I had all the ethernet and audio/video distribution cabling put in before the drywall went up, so it makes it fairly easy to configure. It's strictly an analog A/V feed at this point, although the main PC can be accessed through the home network.
The weak link in my system is source control, so I'll be interested to see what you come up with.
Bill

Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:52 pm
by Rascal_
I'm bummed because I did that at my prior house. All rooms had at least one and often several data drops, including the garage and porch. I didn't want to mess with wireless at the time (well still don't).

I just moved, so I'm stuck with wireless. I did just install in my den and family room data drops mainly for entertainment.

It will take more home work than I thought. I was hoping for a nice canned product that would work, but there doesn't seem to be anything just right yet.

I'll investigate something a little more custom. I'll look into the soundcards. Thanks for the suggestion.