Digital Media Servers vs Streamers

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nm2285

Senior Audioholic
Any opinions on these two options?

With a wireless network, I don't see why not use a streamer. They're sooo much cheaper and will stream video, audio, and photos if you buy the right one. I know theres supposed to be some loss over a wireless connection, but if you're streaming already compressed files, who cares? It's negligible.

I recently tried a Kenwood Sovreign Entre and had trouble hooking it up to my network. It was just Ok anyway. Now I have a D-link DSM-320 and am going to get a 200 Gig external hardrive just for media. Much better.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
The main difference is that the audio cards and connections on streaming units is usually of a much lower consumer grade than the ones on digital media servers. Also, the user interface can be much worse. I would be interested in hearing of some good ones that actually work well and I do believe that streaming media may eventually be as convenient as say... XM radio.

But, for the most part they involve interaction with Windows, which is rarely a good thing to rely on for your audio needs. Digital music servers, like the Audio Request, iMerge, and (yuck) Escient Fireball all provide much more stable audio serving options.
 
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nm2285

Senior Audioholic
If you're interested at all, I'd check out the D-link. Sure, it doesn't sound quite as good as the original source, but the music is already compressed, hardly a difference. I would never use it for critical listening, but it's very convenient for other times.

The user interface of the D-link involved installing software on your computer that tells the D-link which folders you want to share. Once that's done, everything can be done on the TV. It's very similar to the setup of an iPod on screen. Very easy and logical.
 
nick_danger

nick_danger

Audioholic
I purchased a Linksys unit for my parents (my mom still can't figure out how to use, but she just has a bad attitude :D ) for $60 for Christmas. It set up easily enough and linked directly to a Windows 2000 media server I set up in the basement to which my dad rips all music CDs and copies photos (he has a good attitude).

I forget the exact model number, but the interface is pretty simplistic and the sound quality is decent... The only really lame part about it is the crappy remote (you have to mash the buttons to get a response) and the first 0.00001 seconds of every MP3 gets cut off, just like my stupid Samsung DVD player. It's noticeable only when songs blend from one song to another.
 
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psyclobe

Enthusiast
I just recently bought a Roku M500 streaming device, which I installed in my library for when I just want to chill to some internet radio/mp3's while reading. Its a fantastic unit, and its very well made.

Whats more, it supports the OGG media format through use of the slim server freeware software (www.slimdevices.com)

-Jason
 
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westie7

Enthusiast
I bought a Netgear MP101 for my father for Christmas. He has a receiver and 2 speakers in a room he does not have a TV in so the MP101 having a screen worked out. The setup was quick and easy and the unit works well. It only steams audio, the new MP115 does video I think, and only has composite connections but for $50.00 it does it's job.
 
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FLMike

Audioholic
New Version of Squeezebox

Slim Devices just released a new version of their Squeezebox today. Upgraded DAC's, 802.11g native (it can even act as a bridege to your network for other devices) and some other cool stuff. It's pricey, but looks pretty capable. It's next on my purchase list. www.slimdevices.com

Mike
 
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ebough

Junior Audioholic
I use a Roku HD1000 to view digital pictures on my HDTV. The Roku receives the pictures from my wireless network via a linksys bridge and then outputs them via component cables to the HDTV (in either 720p or 1080i hi-def format). The ability to sort through all your digital photos with a remote control and see them in such high resolution on HDTV is really cool.
 
patnshan

patnshan

Senior Audioholic
Prismiq

I use a Prismiq media player. I like it for what I need it for, to play MP3's and show pictures on my AV setup in my living room. It can be wired or there is a slot on back for a 802.11 card. I chose wired, as it is more likely to work, which it did. I had some problems early on with my firewall letting the data get through, but now it works great!
As mentioned before regarding similar units, the user interface is complete crap. You have to scroll down albums or playlists in the left column, as there is no real search function. I just setup playlists on musicmatch and start them with AAA, so they come up first on the unit :D A little bit of a pain, but works OK for a $150 unit. Some people have found a way to use the squeezebox software with these things, and others have written there own UI, as it is Linux and easy to modify (but not for me :confused: ).

Pat
 

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