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Author Topic: Play Media Files on my Network House-wide?  (Read 5829 times)
J-Mac
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« on: October 02, 2009, 01:33:20 AM »

OK. I have a wireless network. Had one for some years now. Excellent for roaming around my property with my notebook. Also just perfect that I can wire my own desktop along with my wife's and we can share the high speed cable internet connection, as well as share files among these computers. After all, I guess that was my primary purpose in setting up the network. However.....

I have a load of media files stored on my desktop computer and also on external drives, both USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 (Firewire). I keep hearing and reading all about how great it is - running an NAS or especially a home media server - that I can enjoy my media files all over my house. But can I? I mean, practically? I realize that I can access and play any of my media files on the network via my wirelessly connected notebook. Heck, I do that all the time. But let's face it: music sucks big time when it's trying to blare out of the tiny speakers that most notebooks have.

I would like to be able to play my music in any room in the house I like. From my network storage. And on something that is made for listening to music! I finally developed enough interest in this to start roaming the web, looking high and low for receivers of some kind that will play my music from my network. Without, that is, having to outfit the house with another, new-fangled "system". Without dishing out several hundred or a couple thousand dollars of new equipment.

Alas, I don't think that I can.  Sad

All my searching keeps bringing me to sites selling great and wonderful "systems"; basically meaning linked, proprietary servers and receivers, that will only work with each other. All naturally claim to be the latest and best out there on the market. Yeah, right. I'm talking about systems like Popcorn Hour which is now owned by Logitech. (Which means that they will very soon have drivers that will confound your computer to no end!).

Is there really no way to listen to my music over my network using just a media server, like maybe an HP Media Server, and some sort of standard receiver? Not a personal media player. Something that has speakers and can be heard throughout a room? Am I really required to purchase a bunch of new equipment to send and receive the files which I already have the ability to send? Just no way to receive and play them...

I recently read a ton of forums and blogs that all had a lot about house-wide A/V options, but didn't really give me a clue as to how to do that without getting a new, proprietary set of equipment. Aaarrgghh!

I'm hoping that we have some experts - or even pure amateurs - here at DC who can advise me about this. Or at least point me in a direction where I can learn without being bombarded with ads/advice about new whole-house systems.

Thanks!

Jim
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Innuendo
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2009, 12:36:06 PM »

I don't see why you couldn't do what you wish without entering a proprietary solution. All you have to do when shopping for components is make sure they are all DNLA-compliant. It's a standard that ensures equipment from different manufacturers all work together without any vendor lock-in.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2009, 12:46:12 PM »

I don't see why you couldn't do what you wish without entering a proprietary solution. All you have to do when shopping for components is make sure they are all DNLA-compliant. It's a standard that ensures equipment from different manufacturers all work together without any vendor lock-in.

Thanks, but DNLA-compliant equipment like... what? I generally don't see such a designation when, for example, shopping for receivers. Can you tell me what equipment you know of that I can look at for an example of what to look for?

Thank you.

Jim
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J-Mac
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2009, 01:08:14 PM »

One problem is that it is DLNA, not DNLA. That helped a little. Not much, though.

E.g., JVC has such devices but they will only play mp3, wma, and jpg files. Great. And DivX has some but they require you to insert a DVD-R or CD-R in order to play your media. I can do that now. Oh well, I'll keep looking but I am not optimistic. Why the heck all the fuss about streaming media all over your house if it is almost impossible to play it, other than on a networked computer?

Jim
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Grorgy
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2009, 04:43:10 PM »

From what I can see it may not be that easy/cheap to achieve, but it occurred to me that you could use a low powered FM transmitter, you would need to convert the signal for transmission i suppose, anyway I searched and found this forum on it, it may be of interest to you. Sounds like quite a good idea to me, take your laptop to control whats playing and listen on the radio.  http://forums.audioholics...ms/showthread.php?t=57406
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y0himba
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2009, 04:53:40 PM »

Windows 7 will allow you to do that.  You can even share over the Internet with other Windows 7 devices.  I currently share music, music videos, and movies to my PS3 and the 3 other computers here, and my laptop on the road with Windows 7.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2009, 09:11:16 PM »

@Grorgy: Yeah, doesn't sound very user-friendly. Thanks for the tip.  smiley

@yOhimba:  Maybe I am not seeing what you mean...  How does Windows 7 allow me to receive media files from my network around the house? I am looking for ways to receive and play the media files; I can already serve them.

Thank you.

Jim
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Innuendo
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2009, 10:27:25 PM »

One problem is that it is DLNA, not DNLA. That helped a little. Not much, though.

Oh crap...dyslexia. Sorry about that. Sad

This article looks like a good start to choosing a DLNA media server:

http://www.rbgrn.net/cont...windows-mac-os-x-or-linux

This "best practices" article looks like it may also be worth a read:

http://www.twonkyforum.co...topic.php?f=15&t=6124

Twonky is an awesome media server that gets good reviews. You could do worse than using that to serve your media if you don't go for a media server appliance.
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y0himba
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2009, 08:34:26 AM »

Just share the folders your media files are in, on the network.  The other machines can mount them as a drive and easily access the files, and even copy/paste them to their hard drives...
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2009, 11:29:10 AM »

Just share the folders your media files are in, on the network.  The other machines can mount them as a drive and easily access the files, and even copy/paste them to their hard drives...

I don't think that's what he wants to do. The way I read his original post he is looking to stream his media to non-computer devices so standard file-sharing won't work.
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Peptis
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2009, 05:59:10 PM »

Have you looked at the Logitech SqueezeBox? There's also a software version of the player called SoftSqueeze that is free to download.

Basically, you install some server software (SqueezeCenter) on one computer and install SoftSqueeze on the client (they can be the same computer if you like). Now you can access all your music all over the house, and best of all, you can synchronise all of the streams if you like. You can add (relatively cheap) stand-alone hardware players too if you like.

(I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, I found the original post a little hard to read.)
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phillfri
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2009, 09:51:24 AM »

Windows 7 Media Player 12 can stream to devices like stereo equipment, as long as the device is linked to the network. Actually, network lag will always mean that you can't stream to 2 devices simultaneously and expect the output to be synched, but steaming audio and video from/to another device on the network seems to work fine. I have a server and a desktop in my study, an HTPC in my livingroom and a laptop. I can start and stop streaming from any machine and stream from and to any machine. The only drawback is that Media Player 12 must be running on the streaming machines. But I usually stream from my server to my HTPC (linked to my receiver/amplifier). I just run Media Player on the HTPC all the time (from startup). With the addition of Libraries to Windows 7, and Media Player's inclusion of the libraries in its interface, there's almost no limit as to how you can arrange this setup on a network. I also use a home plug network to facilitate Wake on Lan coverage throughout the house (energy efficiency/savings). (Might be able to do that now with newer wireless?).  I'd investigate the possibilities with Win7 before dismissing it offhand.
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cmpm
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2009, 10:36:33 AM »

Wireless speakers would work I think.
Depends on the range you want.

BestBuy, TigerDirect and the rest I'm sure have them.
BestBuy had 11 sets to choose from online.
TigerDirect has 6 sets online.
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3of0
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2010, 01:13:42 PM »

I haven't seen this mentioned yet...

I think what you're looking for is a Roku Soundbridge.  http://soundbridge.roku.com/  It has all the network connections you need.  The soundbridge can be used for any existing audio hardware you have (or want to purchase), and the radio is something you can easily put in a room and use in place of your laptop.  Both would have better quality than what your laptop would have.

The downside is it looks like it requires some kind of server to stream from.

I haven't tried this myself, but it looks like a possible solution to what you're looking for.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2010, 03:01:38 PM »

I haven't seen this mentioned yet...

I think what you're looking for is a Roku Soundbridge.  http://soundbridge.roku.com/  It has all the network connections you need.  The soundbridge can be used for any existing audio hardware you have (or want to purchase), and the radio is something you can easily put in a room and use in place of your laptop.  Both would have better quality than what your laptop would have.

The downside is it looks like it requires some kind of server to stream from.

I haven't tried this myself, but it looks like a possible solution to what you're looking for.

Now this actually sounds promising! I already have a Roku Digital Player - the so-called "Netflix Player". That little box is a dream come true! I had not even looked seriously at Roku's other products; not really sure why. Most of the other suggestions here require adding a computer at each TV/entertainment location, which is n0ot realistic for me. Or add transmitting equipment/server to my network and receiving equipment at each location, which is exactly what I want to avoid, for both expense and wiring reasons. I was even thinking how Roku accomplished such easy streaming of movies so why had no one done the same - inexpensively - with other media. Looks like Roku has!

OK, I am going to take a look at the Roku Soundbridge right now!

Thank you very much!

Jim
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« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2010, 04:04:46 PM »

Let me know how it works for you, J-Mac.  smiley
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J-Mac
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2010, 05:27:00 PM »

Let me know how it works for you, J-Mac.  smiley

It is no longer available there, since Roku stopped selling it. Here's what is on the web site:

Quote
The SoundBridge M1001 is no longer available for sale through our store. However, we will continue to sell accessories and provide support via the website.


Not sure what's up.

Jim
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