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Component MP3/OGG Players? 362

Posted by Cliff
from the completing-the-home-theater dept.
RJV asks: "I currently have a rather large digital music collection. It is all in mp3 or ogg format and it is all from CDs that I personally own or have borrowed from friends. I have built a rather cheap mp3 server to store all of the music on and I listen to it on my machines rather easily. However, I'm looking for a better solution for accessing and playing from the archive in my living room. I currently have a linux box that uses the TV as a monitor. I can use it fine to play mp3/ogg files through the home theater, but mostly because I know where the buttons are in xmms. (640x480 isn't the best resolution for xmms). I've looked into multiple other projects, such as Aurian Music Manager and Freevo (the computer also has a TV in card) but have not been satisfied with their performance and/or ease of use, especially when trying to use my Universal Remote Control. So, I've decided that perhaps the best course of action for the living room is to purchase a stand-alone component that will integrate with my current system. What are my options and are there any experiences within the community with these products?"

"I'd like to find a product that has the following features (in order of importance).

  1. Ethernet Connectivity (NFS/SAMBA/something Linux can share out)
  2. Intuitive/Easy-to-Use Interface
  3. IR Remote Control (so I can use my Universal Remote)
  4. Ability to play mp3s and oggs
  5. TV display capabilities (may fall under Intuitive Interface)
  6. Digital Out
  7. CDR capabilities
1-4 are my must-haves. 5-7 would be nice."
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Component MP3/OGG Players?

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  • Ewww but (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:20PM (#4399093)
    I heard Microsoft has a media center edition product coming out. I would hope it covers all formats.

    http://www.microsoft.com/mediacenter
    • Re:Ewww but (Score:3, Informative)

      by einTier (33752)
      I know that some people are using APEX DVD players. However, I'm not 100% sure they play ogg. I found a reference to this modification here [dvdtalk.com], about halfway down the page, and supposedly the hack is on this page [nerd-out.com].


      The DVD drive is apparently IDE, and since the APEX natively plays mp3s burned to a CD, you can simply rip out the DVD drive and replace it with a IDE hard drive that contains your mp3s. Since it was meant to work with televisions and entertainment systems, it integrates easily and works rather well. It's also cheap, as you can find APEX DVD players as low as $50-100 US.


      So, for $50 + hard drive, you get:
      2. Intuitive/Easy-to-Use Interface
      3. IR Remote Control (so I can use my Universal Remote)
      4. Ability to play mp3s (you might get ogg, do some research)
      5. TV display capabilities (may fall under Intuitive Interface)
      6. Digital Out


      You will not get
      1. Ethernet Connectivity (NFS/SAMBA/something Linux can share out)
      7. CDR capabilities.


      Seems like a nice, cheap solution.

  • x10 + andromeda (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lo_fye (303245)
    I'd recommend keeping your current setup, getting a mouse-remote from x10, and using a web-based app (1 file!) called Andromeda [turnstyle.com] which dynamically creates playlists of audio & video files and streams them to your default player. It's awesome! This whole setup will cost you like $30 or so, and you'll be able to control your music with a remote :)
    • Re:x10 + andromeda (Score:2, Insightful)

      by KILNA (536949)
      A good web interface does not make for a good video / music player interface. Mousing using a remote is cumbersome and error-prone, especially if you have to select a bunch of small checkboxes to play the files you want. I get the impression the asker wants to know if there is something out there with an interface polished specifically for an AV component situation, which usually means navigating with button presses (and often without even a GUI for simple media functions like fast forward and pause).
    • Slimp3 (Score:2, Informative)

      by gessel (310103)
      Slimp3 works really well, exactly the right solution to this problem.

      check it out. [slimp3.com]

      Disclaimer - I have friends there, but I wouldn't let it bias my opinion: I use it and it rocks.
  • Winamp (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hi_2k (567317) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:23PM (#4399106) Journal
    Much as i hate to say it, it is probably a good idea to use a computer with windows and winamp 2.x. also, a ati all in wonder video card will allow good tv out so you can properly veiw it. 640*480 will work with this, and some tv's should even get a 800*640 resoultion.
    • Winamp 3 would be a good choice as well, if only because you can scale the interface to any size. When scaled to 400% it'd be pretty easy to hit the buttons even with a remote control as your mouse.

      Otherwise Winamp 3 is a dog...
    • Get an iRMan input device and a universal remote. It is pretty easy to make WinAmp work with this remote solution. I still haven't spent the time getting my remote to work with ATI's multimedia center, which is a bit trickier.
      • Get the ATI RF USB remote (available from their site). Works like a usb mouse but is a touch pad on the remote, removes line of site issues since it's RF, and is just damn plain cool.
  • An 802.11b connection would be even better -- I don't want to run ethernet just for my stereo (everything else in my house uses 802.11)
  • SliMP3... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zarbuck (590310) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:25PM (#4399116)
    It is not exactly what you want for but you should give it a look... http://www.slimdevices.com/
    • Re:SliMP3... (Score:2, Informative)

      by notanatheist (581086)
      Damn, beat me to it. Really, it is the best way to go. You just need an Ethernet to run in and output to any receiver or powered speakers. Nice bright vacuum flourescent display and includes a Sony universal remote. So there you go. Slimdevices.com. Get yours today. I would if I had $250 laying around. :p
    • Re:SliMP3... (Score:3, Informative)

      by jovlinger (55075)
      If you're into building from components, I'd suggest picking up a pre-hacked i-opener from ebay (expect to pay ~ $70-100 +s/h depending on size of included hd and quality of work).

      The midori for iopener image (see google for url) gives you a web browser, xmms, and a linux kernel that can drive: kawasaki/pegasus based usb ethernet; linksys wusb11v2.5 (important about the v number. 2.6 is in stores now, and won't work) 802.11b; usb audio out.

      The i-opener comes with an acceptable 800x600 lcd and a crappy ps/2 keyboard+mouse combo.

      So you can start cheap and use the built in audio and a netgear ea101 for ~ $100 (NB: the iopener doesn't have audio out, so that has to be hacked in. Trivial hack, but needs to be done if you don't want to use usb audio) and grow it to have wireless network and spdif output for another $100, when you feel you want that.

      The only drawback is that I haven't figured out how to turn off the backlight (or more accurately, turn it back on again), but the thing boots to xmms in about a minute, so that's not a killer.
    • Re:SliMP3... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by PrinceBytor (548044)
      I had many of the same requirements when I started working on my own digital jukebox [adelphia.net]. Today, the hardware is operational in my living room and all of the foundation code is in place. Before everybody berates me for not using Linux, I am happy with WindowsXP for this application... I am using Tomcat... Both my wife and I find ourselves actually listening to our large music collection more frequently since I connected the jukebox to our stereo. The on-screen menu system makes access to the collection easy and the digital audio out produces excellent sound quality to my (non-audiophilic) ears.

      BTW - yes I am even using the HomeTheater Master MX-500 universal remote..

  • From what I've seen, there aren't any component devices out there that a) do what you want, and b) don't cost an arm and a leg. In the mean time, you might just burn MP3s to cd-rw discs and use a cheapo DVD player. For the money, it's probably the best solution.
  • by fungus (37425) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:26PM (#4399120)
    find it ironic that the "Ability to play mp3s and oggs" comes in fourth position (in order of importance)?

    I mean, it is better if the device is user friendly and can't play mp3/ogg than if it isnt user friendly and do everything you want?

  • the turtle beach audiotron satisfies almost everything here but the tv out.

    (remote, digital out, mp3, no ogg from what i remember, but ethernet)

    the pc is really the way to go (just run xmms at double size w/ the playlist up... it just about takes up the whole screen. i think the audiotron would be a killer piece if it had tv out capabilities

    anyway... i haven't heard of anyone who is REALLY happy with ogg when it comes to decoding their songs on things other than PCs. FACE IT, there just aren't many things out there that decode ogg, and mp3 is just easier to use right now. (just use lame at alt-preset-extreme)
  • by seanadams.com (463190) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:27PM (#4399131) Homepage
    Based on your criteria, The SliMP3 Ethernet MP3 player [slimdevices.com] is almost exactly what you're looking for:
    • Very easy to set up and use
    • Open source [sourceforge.net].
    • Excellent software - handles collections of any size (some guys are using this with 400+GB disk arrays).
    • Platform-independent
    • Big, bright, vacuum fluorescent display, instead of a crappy LCD
    • No fans or any moving parts - totally quiet

    Check out the full specs [slimdevices.com]...
    • or NOT...

      Your web page doesnt say anything about OGG support, so I'm guessing its NOT what he's looking for.

      craz ;-)
      • by seanadams.com (463190) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:42PM (#4399205) Homepage
        Your web page doesnt say anything about OGG support, so I'm guessing its NOT what he's looking for.

        Actually, the web site *does* mention ogg, right in the FAQ [slimdevices.com]. We get a lot of requests for this, and we would love to support the format. Here's the full story:

        The ogg vorbis codec (even with the new integer implementation) is so CPU intensive that it does not fit into anything smaller than a 75MHZ ARM processor, and even then it's a squeeze. This means that despite all the merits of this format, it is not currently possible for manufacturers of inexpensive playback devices to support the format.

        However, what we DO support is transcoding from ogg to high-bit-rate MP3, if your server is fast enough to support it. Yes, we all know that transcoding from one lossy format to another is bad, but 320Kbps MP3 is not going to introduce any significant new artificacts on top of an ogg stream.

        That's the best we can do, until somebody comes up with an inepensive way to decode ogg. The feature works on Unix systems that have lame and ogg123 installed, but we don't list it as a supported feature because it doesn't work on Windows (yet).
        • "what we DO support is transcoding from ogg to high-bit-rate MP3"

          Why not send the decoded ogg over the wire in raw format? It's only about 1.3Mb/sec, just a fraction of a 10BaseT.

        • You actually can decode ogg on something smaller than a 75mhz arm, it just depends on what else you are doing. The integer version they released runs in

          Someone else suggests streaming wav files, but i'm guessing you dont have enough ram to buffer that and on networks with mild congestion you'd get dropouts. Transcoding is really not good for audio quality, for those who consider the above to be a viable option.

          As a side note, you mention that it's not possible for manufacturers of inexpensive playback devices to support the format, but that's not correct - iRiver will likely add ogg to their devices (which are mostly cirrus based). Also you dont really have an inexpensive device ($250 is a lot, since you aren't handing out 30% margins to retailers on this).

        • The ogg vorbis codec (even with the new integer implementation) is so CPU intensive that it does not fit into anything smaller than a 75MHZ ARM processor, and even then it's a squeeze. This means that despite all the merits of this format, it is not currently possible for manufacturers of inexpensive playback devices to support the format.

          I don't know if it helps or not but there has been a lot of optimization since Tremor has been released. You may find it runs much faster now. You may want to review the list archives [xiph.org].

    • Review (Score:3, Informative)

      by T-Kir (597145)

      Toms Hardware [tomshardware.com] did a review [tomshardware.com] a couple of months ago... a good read, I was thinking about getting it, but now I'm redoing my music in OGG so we'll just have to wait until more hardware players get in on the act and support OGG.

    • by jshare (6557) on Monday October 07, 2002 @01:06AM (#4400838) Homepage
      I don't work for the company, but I own the product.

      This product kicks all ass. Sure, it's a bit tough to run it on a P100, since so much work is server side, and in perl. But, once you move it to a Celeron333, you basically give up 20% CPU to the server, and then you are all set.

      It's really quite a good product. I'm using it in the kitchen (which is frankly where I listen to most of my music.) It's really nice to have 700 albums on tap in the kitchen.

      I also use the Audrey for when the remote is out of reach. The web interface is quite good, even without stylesheets. They fixed a bug in it (the web interface) recently, which really goes to highlight how nice it is to have the server software available via CVS. They are incredibly responsive via their mailing list (and yahoo *shudder* forum).

      I'm not claiming this is the best slimp3 player (although I'm /certain/ it's very good compared to the competition), because they've had all kinds of shortcomings. But it /is/ open source. Some guy has even developed his own VB version of the server (which, according to his statements, is quite a bit more efficient than the SlimDevices version, albeit win32 only.). This is the most graphic example (to me) of why open source is good.

      They accept patches (and, if you are good, CVS updates) from the outside. It's incredibly, incredibly nice to have this kind of flexibility.

      Hmmm.. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure this is the first time that I've be consciously aware of benefiting directly from the Open Source nature. Well, I guess I'm a convert now.

      This product has gotten nothing but better in the time I've owned it. If you have the infrastructure (server box with access to the mp3s (i use a linux box via samba to my windows box), and ethernet near your stereo), then I think this product is literally the best thing available on the market.

      *sigh*...I've been drinking, though, so, grain of NaCl, etc.

      Jordan
  • RioReceiver (Score:3, Informative)

    by wfaulk (135736) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:38PM (#4399173) Homepage
    Check out the RioReceiver. I don't have one, but there's been a good amount of hacking done on it, and I believe that they've got both Ogg and FLAC support added in addition to the mp3 and wma formats that came with the original software.

    Some pertinent links are:
    RioPlay [sourceforge.net] - third party software that supports Ogg and FLAC
    JReceiver [sourceforge.net] - Java-based audio server for RioReceiver
    RioReceiver BBS [comms.net]

  • Try and Audrey (Score:5, Informative)

    by davinci27 (260996) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:38PM (#4399176) Homepage

    That's exactly what I['m doing with my audrey. The audrey has a nice touch screen so its easy to use. Mounts nfs/smb shares, has and IR port that you control with a learning remote.

    You can buy them for about $100 and with a 32meg CF card update them pretty quickly. Mine has a digital picture frame that runs and pulls random pictures from a share, a full screen mp3/ogg player and a callerid display. It sits beside my sofa so I can get to it easily.

    Check out Linux Hacker BBs [linux-hacker.net] and audreyhacking.com [audreyhacking.com]

  • FlameThrower Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phatvibez (518108) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:40PM (#4399191) Homepage
    Here is a project I found a little while ago that is trying to create a Linux distro (actually just a graphical interface) for home theater multimedia devices to be displayed on the TV.

    here is the homepage:
    http://staff.washington.edu/jmgasper/index.htm [washington.edu]

    check out the screenshots here, pretty cool looking!:
    http://staff.washington.edu/jmgasper/screenshots.h tm [washington.edu]

    • That project does look nice, but it's nowhere near complete and you can't even download a beta to work on.

      I think the original poster was looking for something he could actually use :).
  • AUDIOTRON!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by zerofoo (262795) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:41PM (#4399201)
    Info here [turtlebeach.com].

    I own two of these. The audiotron works by scanning a windows/samba share...so it will work with linux.

    It is audio component sized, uses ethernet or HPNA, is rack-mountable,uses an IR remote control, and turtle beach even publishes the IR codes for programming devices like a Pronto.

    I'm not sure about OGG support. My whole collection is MP3, but it does support WMA (groan).

    There is no TV out support. It does, however, have an optical digital out, if you choose to use external D/A conversion.

    I've been very happy with mine. I got gave away a sonic blue balls device because it required proprietary server software....and the support sucked.

    Hope this is helpful.

    -ted
  • Got a PS2? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    You can use QCast Tuner software on your networked PS2 to get most of these features... Check it out here: http://www.broadq.com/qcast.html It will have .OGG and S/PDIF output shortly (next week or so, they claim.) The audio/video quality are amazing -- I'm a beta tester.
  • by Junta (36770) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:49PM (#4399246)
    I wouldn't give up on the computer unless the audio card delivers unsatisfying sound quality or the system makes too much noise on it's own.

    For one, using the gui is not necessarily the best approach anyway. For one there are keyboard shortcuts in most every application. For another, you could get something like xmms-lirc and some other relatively cheap device and use a remote on your system.

    The *huge* plus for having an HTPC is that you are not limited to mere music applications. Video is a decent option, and games as well. I know the resolution is not great on most TVs, but can't beat them for size.

    But if you *really* want to go over the deepend in price, you could improve your display technology. A projector that does XGA (1024x768) is very awesome. If you like big screens and like Video, that is a life saver, and it can cut down in cords. For example, you would have your screen and probably stereo speakers of front, with one wire for each speaker running, say, behind your couch. You keep all your stereo and video equipment back there, or next to your couch. I'm big on video game systems, so the cords on controllers are more convenient this way. Plus, I don't have to move my butt off the couch to change DVDs when I'm watching a Box Set in a sitting... Of course, a decent projector runs a couple of thousand, and you can't walk in front of it, so it is something you have to carefully consider...
    • On the same lines, many HDTV TVs nowadays offer DVI inputs, allowing one an extremely high quality display on their TV. HDTI 1080i is, I believe 1920x1080 (interlaced of course, though there is a 1080p on some ultra high end sets I think), which is nothing to scoff at.
  • by PhotonSphere (193108) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:50PM (#4399252) Homepage Journal
    The Turtle Beach AudioTron [thinkgeek.com] has been tempting me for quite some time. I've looked at many other component systems and this seems to be the most solid in terms of support, build quality, and ease of use.

    If you don't want to have to run a patch cable to it, simply use a wireless bridge like the LinkSys WET11 [linksys.com] or get a wireless ethernet converter [seattlewireless.net] to tie it into your SAMBA server.
  • AudioRequest (Score:4, Informative)

    by inicom (81356) <<moc.mocini> <ta> <mea>> on Sunday October 06, 2002 @07:56PM (#4399279) Homepage
    ARQ2-135 or their new TeraServer

    Absolutely the best engineered component MP3 player available.

    ReQuest Multimedia [request.com]

    rs232, tcp/ip, and IR control, digital out, tv out (composite and s-video), analog out, analog in, built-in samba and webserver, runs QNX, excellent support, pre-written modules for control from high-end systems like Crestron, drives are swappable, fully-documented open protocols, java remote, etc, etc. Highly recommended. I have an ARQ1 that I'm very happy with, and I get to play with ARQ2-135's almost everyday.

    PR link at request [request.com]

    (I have played with Arrakis DC6, Escient Fireball's, Lansonic, and prefer the AudioRequest by far. If I was going to recommend a runner up, it would be the Arrakis [arrakis-systems.com] because of the 6 zones, but the AudioRequest wins for me because of MP3 support, upcoming OggVorbis support, better interfaces and it is their primary business).

  • Check it out here [fperkins.com]

    Audrey's make a perfect dumb terminal for web applications and you can problably put it on a shelf by your home entertainment system. I keep my Audry in the kitchen so I can pull up recipes too.
  • by Ageless (10680) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @08:13PM (#4399346) Homepage
    A few other people have mentioned it but I will too. I have a Turtle Beach AudioTron [audiotron.net] and it totally kicks ass.

    As far as features go, it's fairly basic. It plays MP3 and MP3 streams using SMB over Ethernet or phone LAN (whatever that is called). It has a good front panel and remote and a very good web interface.

    I've had mine for a bit less than a year and it's been one of my favorite purchases since the day I got it.

    If you get (or have) one and use Windows, also check out a little system tray app I wrote called ATTray [vonnieda.org] which makes it quick to control the AT from your computer.
  • by Nathdot (465087) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @08:18PM (#4399365)
    ...it is all from CDs that I personally own or have borrowed from friends

    I hear a whole bunch of people rushing to say insightful things such as "Uh dude, don't you know that's illegal?"

    So here's the counter point: Who gives a fuck!

    What are you all? His mother or something? Don't you have a sore ass from riding that moral high horse all day? The question wasn't whether or not he had your express permission to own certain mp3/ogg copies of the music.

    It was, paraphrased: "What's an easy stand alone solution for playing the music", probably asked for the benefit of visiting non-techy friends to allow them to cue and play some tunes in his lounge room, without first getting a degree or reading massive amounts of documentation.

    Haven't any of you ever owned a mix cassete tape recorded from the radio/a friends album? Did that stop you buying LPs?

    Sheesh
  • Heres what I'd use (Score:2, Interesting)

    by doublesix (590400)
    I'd setup your existing PC as a file server and use a playstation2, with a network adapter, and sony remote as the client. Use this software: http://www.qcast.com/qcast2.html Added bonus: Grand Theft Auto
  • xmms-remote (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Just use xmms-remote and xosd for display. In combination with a good tv card, xawtv, lirc, and mplayer, you can have a full media center running from your linux box. It took me 2 hours to set up, and my roomates love it.
  • by Burl Ives (139364) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @08:30PM (#4399407)
    I wrote some gtk software to do just that. Haven't released it yet (not mature enough, missing most features), but it works pretty well on the home tv/stereo system with lirc [lirc.org], a $35 Irman [evation.com], and my universal remote (sony rmvl900). It plays using xmms [xmms.org] in the background, so it can do anything xmms does (I think can play ogg). Also it plays videos with MPlayer [mplayerhq.hu].

    There are a few similar projects out there as well that I've been tracking.

    • Myth TV [slashdot.org] has a music mode AND does live tv functionality! (I will probably migrate to this instead of continuing my project).
    • Dave/Dina project [apestaart.org] may fit the bill too.
    • IR File Chooser [splitbrain.org] for the perl hackers. :)
  • My way... (Score:2, Informative)

    by djupedal (584558)
    iTunes and Home Theater - wireless of course... [kentidwell.com] - Please check it out...unlimited library and internet streaming from one room to another.
  • I hate to say it . . (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pickanothername (122223) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @08:45PM (#4399467)
    Grab a 2-U case and build what you have under . . .
    *GASP*
    WinXP. I hate to say it, but for this application, Windows running UIce for a remote interpolation prog seems to work best for me. I played with several different things, but the best performance/usability I've gotten is with XP and UIce using an AverTV card. Here's why:

    1) The AverTV Studio card works best under Windows and has limited TIVO-like functionality and has a remote control that most IR remote apps will recognize. It's also suprising quality, and quite cheap.
    2) UIce will direct keystrokes to any running prog, and any key on a remote can be designated to pracicaly any function, including mouse movement.
    3) WinAmp has a nifty double-size function that makes it quite usable on the TV. I don't know if XMMS or any of it's ilk have this, though.
    4) A 2-U case with stereo feet screwed to the bottom looks like a stereo componant, mayhaps an amp.
    5) Guests can use the machine intuitively. They already understand how everything works for the most part, they just have to get used to using an IR remote for the computer.

    Reasons why Windows isn't a good choice for this:

    1) Security. Unless your machine is behind a firewall, I wouldn't recomend it.
    2) Umm . . . you want to run Linux.

    I've built the box, and am quite impressed with the results. I'll be putting up a page for what to use and blah and blah in about a month, once I've got the faceplate cut and installed.

    -Dirk R.
    Sure, nobody asked me, but I knew they eventually would.
    • by manly_15 (447559)
      3) WinAmp has a nifty double-size function that makes it quite usable on the TV. I don't know if XMMS or any of it's ilk have this, though.
      XMMS does support doublesize, and WinAmp skins. From a GUI perspective, XMMS is almost identical to WinAmp. If you surf over to the XMMS Misc. Plugins [xmms.org] page, you will see a wide varitey of plugins sutible for what you need to do, including command line interpreters and remote control interfaces.
    • The only thing that is needed to make Winamp a viable front end for something like this is a full screen skin for Winamp 3.x. I personally would like 1024x768 one for the notebook in the kitchen... 800x600 would be good for some of the cheaper commidity touchscreens out there, too.
    • Yep - I'm working on something similar, using Win2k on an nForce Duron PC, with Direct3d to make a nice frontend, talking to my FreeBSD fileserver over samba. For the moment, Winamp and an IR keyboard are the UI, until I get the time to finish my code.

      I'm not that happy with any of the TV-out VGA cards I've seen so far though. My PS2 and Dreamcast can do solid clear 800x600 on my TV - why can't any PC hardware?
    • Everything you describe works on Linux as well. And with Linux, you save a couple of hundred dollars in software licenses.
    • 3. don't agree with the EULA.
      4. Philosophical reasons.
    • A 2U case?! What? Are you NUTS?! Have you SEEN a 2U case? Those things may only be 9cm tall, but they're 48cm wide and more importantly, they're usually around least 60cm deep!

      Here's a better solution, get a MiniITX case with a VIA Eden inside (ideally one with a PCI riser card so that you can put a better sound card in). Total cost would be about $200. It's small, more than fast enough for what is needed, and will run without a fan.

      As for the WinXP vs. Linux debate, the main downside to using WinXP for this application is that the license costs about $200, thereby doubling the price of the box.
  • There are quite a few network mp3 players out on the market. I currently use a turtle beach Audiotron [audiotron.net], you can check out a little review [phataudio.org] I wrote up a few months ago.

    The other one that has received quite a bit of press around here is the Slimp3 [slimdevices.com] player. The slimp3 is a nice player, especially if you want something that you can hack, since the source code and architecture is all open.

    If you want to make any wired network player wireless, there are products available. [orinocowireless.com]

  • The Audiotron [audiotron.net] is probably what you're looking for... except for the ogg. I don't think it does ogg, but if the slimp3 can do transcoding, this one can play raw .wav files, so maybe the server can decode the .ogg and the raw data can stream across the network (which could be better than transcoding)

    Oh yeah, and it looks like a stereo component and has a high-contrast display.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Marketing: So you guys all post on Slashdot, right?
    RJV: Yeah.
    Zarbuck: Of course.
    seanadams.com: Duh.
    Speare: Do I even have to answer that?
    Marketing: Ok, RJV, why don't you do an Ask Slashdot, and ask for a 'Component MP3/OGG Player' or whatever would catch the linux geeks attention.
    RJV: Okay...
    Marketing: Then the rest of you recommend the SliMP3 Ethernet MP3 player, and hope you get modded up.
    Speare: Why would we want to do this?
    Marketing: It's like free advertising... everybody does it. Those silly Slashdot editors are oblivious to our power...
    Zarbuck: Ah, so we just push the fact that it is penguin-friendly, and the linux hoards will make us rich!
    RJV: But it doesn't support OGG... and that would be the main attraction for the linux fellows.
    seanadams.com: Aw, just mention that in the ask slashdot, and if anyone asks, I'll just make up some crap and hopefully they'll fall for it...
  • Jensen Matrix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by keyslammer (240231)
    It sounds like you're looking for something that will allow you more control at the point where you're listening, but...

    I've been using the Jensen Matrix [thinkgeek.com] audio transmitter to transmit from my computer to a receiver attached to my stereo over 900mhz. It's convenient because I mostly listen to random mixes, but I'm a little disappointed in the sound quality and my cordless phone tends to interfere with it.
  • Here is how I want to set my audio system up:

    Put all the files on an old laptop with an 802.11 access point. Connect it to my stereo through an Edirol UA-1A [edirol.com] or Stereo-link [stereo-link.com] USB audio converter, which should give much better sound quality than a typical PC sound card. The Griffin Technology IMIC [griffintechnology.com] is another possibility. Run a web server on the laptop that allows selecting and playing songs from a remote web browser. Then use my Sharp Zaurus [myzaurus.com] Linux-based PDA with an 802.11 CF wireless card to control the system using its built-in web browser to pick out songs and play them. If I get really fancy, I can scan all the CD liner pamphlets and put them on the laptop too. Then the browser can display them and I can read the lyrics while the music is playing.

    This is all done with simple stuff that I have kicking around the house already (crappy old 300 mhz laptop etc.), so except for the wireless cards which I don't have yet, will cost less than buying stereo stuff and give far more functionality and flexibility, plus of course use entirely free source code. It will be sooooo cool. I just couldn't see doing it any other way.

  • Cajun?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gregington (180881) on Sunday October 06, 2002 @10:03PM (#4399839)

    I know you are after a component system but have you looked at building a CAJUN [sourceforge.net]? Although it is designed for cars (Car Audio Jukebox for UNix), I use it as a home audio component (a HAJUN!).

    I have it set up with an IR reciever on a serial port and the display is Crystalfontz [crystalfontz.com] 20x4 LCD panel. As for how it fits your requirements:

    1. Ethernet connectivity: Runs linux, so can mount/share Samba/NFS or anything you like
    2. Intuitive interface: You can program the remote any way you like, does take some getting used to though.
    3. IR Remote: I use the IRMAN [evation.com] remote.
    4. OGGs and MP3s: I don't think it can play OGGs yet, but I beieve that is being worked on
    5. TV out: No, but the LCD panel is used for output
    6. Digital Out: Depends on your soundcard (I have digital out on a Yamaha 744 based soundcard)
    7. CDR Capabilities: You can mount removeable media on the CAJUN

    I built one two years ago and an very happy with it. I am still using the v3 software, v4 may have more features that you requrire. Its worth checking out.

  • I would think that a Shuttle mini-barebones system would make a great platform for this. Unfortunately, they can't seem to get all of the features in one box. The SV24/25 and SS40/G/50/G have the TV Out and the SS51G has the the SPDIF In/Out. The SS51G goes for around $300. I have a Hauppauge WinCast/dbx that I am pretty happy with which should fit in the SS51G just fine. I am not positive, but I believe that it has an Irda header on the mobo or you can build a receiver as shown on the lirc webpage. Throw a DVD (or even a DVD/CDR/CDRW so you can make CDs for your friends on the fly) and you have a quite impressive box. I have a Linksys wireless network in the house, so would probably opt for a WET11 to connect wirelessly. If an 800Mhz processor would get the job done, use the Cyrix as it runs cool enough that you don't need a fan. I own a couple of SV24s and have been very happy with them, but Shuttle keeps cranking out new versions so quickly that all I can do is salivate. This has been a great discussion. Thanks.
    • an 800Mhz processor would get the job done, use the Cyrix as it runs cool enough that you don't need a fan.

      While I agree with the Shuttle as a fine choice for this type of application, please don't mislead people by implying that an 800Mhz C3 is anything like an 800Mhz anything else...

      Never before has that old 'Mhz are not all there is' meant so much. I have an 800Mhz C3 and it is slooooow. Benchmarks show the FPU perfomance as about the same as a K6-2/450.

      I like it, because it runs totally silently, and it does have enough oomph to run FreeBSD, X and an MP3 player from flash, but it is NOT similar to other 800Mhz processors.

      Incidentally, another possiblity that a friend has tried is underclocking Tualatin Celerons. Apparently, his 1.2Ghz Cel running at 800Mhz will also run fanless, and I bet he gets better performance out of it too.
  • I've got a headless box running Windows 98 (first edition) and TightVNC server. I store all my MP3 files on the drive of that system and VNC in to play them. It's not like you need to do anything but setup a playlist and go, so I just close the connection after I get them started.
  • Consider getting a Mini-ITX system (mini-itx.com). For about $200, you can get a system with processor, memory, and a nice small case (e.g., caseoutlet.com). Just add a disk and install Linux on it. The system has TV-out and a bunch of other features.
  • If you want 802.11 to hook to an ethernet device, you can get the linksys WET11 wireless ethernet bridge for http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?prid=4 32&grid=22 [linksys.com]

    I got one to use for my Model 28 teletype server, which runs in the living room.

  • I wanted the same thing, so here is what I did to solve it. The only thing I would like would be to have remote control support.

    Dell PII machine (about $85 at the time)

    decent sound card (about $25)

    4MB video card w/TVout (cheap)

    GNUMP3d serving up the MP3s over my network (very cool and easy mp3 server, supports ogg. Can be set to stream or download files)

    The Dell system came with a 2GB hard drive, which I installed Redhat7.3 on. I couldn't get Xwindows to work right with the TVout. So I installed Win98, it all worked fine. But I wasn't happy with it. Then I found Knoppix. This improved my system in two ways:
    1. It is running Linux
    2. It is near silent.
    Because Knoppix boots off the CD, I didn't need the hard drive anymore. It plays all my MP3s over my network.

    It could be a cooler setup, but it works for me. The interface is web based, so I do have to use a mouse/keyboard, but it is a small price to pay. I suppose you could get IR controls working, or get a wireless mouse/keyboard.

  • FM Transmitter (Score:2, Informative)

    by pop1280 (23132)
    I built one to hook up to my MP3 server, and it's worked great. Now my server has a cron job to play the appropriate playlists at certain times of day. The other benefit is that it can do non-MP3 things, such as download the weather forecast and read it (using festival) to me. I also made a pretty simple web interface for when I need to pick songs to play or create a new playlist.

    Here's a link to my model [ramseyelectronics.com]. I've been very happy with it. It took about 15 hours to put together (including time to learn to solder).

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