Network music player needed

We’re in the process of digitizing our music collection (all music will reside on a central, networked server). All the listening stations except the kitchen have computers. The kitchen has (will have had) a CD changer and a basic Sony receiver. The receiver has a host of inputs, but nothing fancy nor shmancy — no i-Pod dock or what have you. The receiver drives four speakers.

Short of buying a whole laptop (though we’re really tempted to throw an HP TouchSmart on the wall), is there an easy and (relatively) inexpensive gadget that can tap into the server to browse/play files? We don’t need video per se, but do need some sort of decent screen to browse and select files. Hopefully it will have some sort of software to facilitate setting up mixes (we’re used to the CD changer), but a basic File Explorer-like interface would work. Lastly, it would need to work with all the common file formats — not just MP3. We’ll have a lot of uncompressed files (e.g., SHN, Ogg) on the server.

We work out of the house so are a bit out of touch with commuter conveniences — is this what an i-pod or i-touch or Zune or … or whatever does?

Budget is probably between $2–300. Much more and we’re in netbook territory.

Thoughts?

Thanks!

Rhythm

I really like the squeeze box duet. for $300.
http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Squeezebox-Duet-Internet-Radio/dp/B0013IWYHU

Previous to that I had: $165
http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Squeezebox-Duet-Internet-Radio/dp/B0013IWYHU

The remote for the squeeze is larger so it is easier to scroll through the music choices.

The second link should be to the roku sound bridge.

http://www.amazon.com/Roku-SoundBridge-M1001-Network-System/dp/B000BI6AH8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1259625187&sr=1-1

Wow… that’s pretty interesting.

So it’s a little base unit to be tucked away inside a cabinet and a remote. That’s it. Base unit has analog and digital outs, so it can go straight to the receiver. Can the remote take text entries? I assume so, if it logs onto Pandora. What’s that like? Can you put any Web address into it or is it pre-loaded with a set of its own radio stations? Is the firmware updatable in case new stations appear/old ones die? Lastly, have you had any experience with multiple base stations?

I just got the squeeze box this weekend.
The text entries are a little tedious as you scroll through the letters one at a time. You can however setup presets with your home computer. The internet radio works really well on the squeeze box. It has a data base of local stations. Staff recommended stations. You don’t need to update firmware to add new stations.

Both squeezebox and roku have a variety of devices. Like boxes with the speakers included. Which may be more like what you want in the kitchen. One little box plus remote.
http://www.amazon.com/Roku-SoundBridge-R1000-Network-System/dp/B000BIFY6Q/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1259625966&sr=8-14
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002LARRDK/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000BYCU9O&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=17Y8GCW4S7J9WCK07N55

Why not get a PSP - it has Wifi, and media capabilities.

Similar price to the SoundBridge, and can be used for a bunch of things with a homebrew ROM.

Si

+1 I use Tversity to stream mp3, pictures and videos to my PS3 from my server. From there it goes to a big screen tv. Works great.

Any chance there’s an app that links an iPhone to a PS3 via bluetooth to control Tversity?

I bought a Squeezebox Boomabout 6 weeks ago. It’s similar to the Squeezebox Duet except it has it’s own speakers. I like it and think that it or the Duet will do exactly what you want it to do.

The squeezebox either plays music from your server, or from a site called Squeezecenter.com which is a portal to internet music sources - internet radio, Pandora, Rhapsody, etc. You can access this either through the player, or through a web based application (which can also control the player). While Squeezecenter lists a plethora of stations in it’s listing, something they don’t have can be added by entering the URL in the web based application.

Two nice things about using the Squeezebox to listen to Pandora is that 1) you don’t get Pandora stopping and asking if you are still there, and 2) the hours listening to Pandora with the Squeezebox do not count against your monthly limit. Even so, I ended up paying for Pandora 1 for the higher quality streams.

The Boom has a few nice features: It can function as a 7 day alarm clock (you can set multiple alarms and use multiple stations, each day can have different times and stations); it has a minijack input so you can play an ipod or other source through it, it has a subwoofer output (I’m getting a sub this week), and it can work as a wireless bridge. I had no problem connecting to my WPA secured wireless network (it can also work with a wired LAN). Oh, and it sounds great, even without a subwoofer.

It’s near the top end of your price range, but it works better than a netbook would. I have a netbook too, but wouldn’t bother using it in place of the Boom.

Well this is an odd place to be. So we were all set on the Squeezebox — we even got to thinking about putting a second base unit in the parlour. We had been considering putting an HP Touchsmart in there, but then one thing led to another and another and — to make a long story short — Mrs. Dvl now wants to put a laptop in the stereo cabinet and mount the Touchsmart on the wall in the kitchen :eek:

Not that I’m complaining, mind you …

And I still have the Squeezebox in my Amazon cart. Now I just need to find a room to put it in…