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just redundant
Authored by: eddyer on Feb 26, '02 11:05:06AM

Everything this machine does can be done with your computer. I use my wife's iMac to output to our tuner via a red and white RCA cable and set my tuner on "video/aux." What about a remote? I use the Keyspan IrDA. iTunes supports shoutcast and can access all the songs on my hard drive (which this thing needs anyway). If I were to get a component player, it better have its own harddrive. I can't justify $300 for something that just looks like a stereo component but still needs my Mac to get around.

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Added features...
Authored by: robg on Feb 26, '02 12:02:40PM

An RCA cable and the KeySpan remote would certainly work just fine, albeit with some limitations. First, the computer and the stereo need to be relatively close together, if not actually in the same room. In our case, though, I'd need a 50' RCA cable, which isn't really practical. Second, there's no remote display, so you can't easily do things like select by artist or album, or build new custom playlists on the fly. Third, your Mac needs to be running iTunes (or some other MP3 player) all the time (at least, I think that's a true statement based on reading the product spec for the remote). This makes it somewhat harder to do something CPU intensive (like Quake3!) while the MP3's are playing downstairs, as iTunes will be competing for CPU time.

With the Rio and the Audiotron, there is no foreground application required. And with the Audiotron, there's nothing at all running on my Mac other than Samba, which runs all the time anyway. The Rio's script would be running on the Mac, which is one more reason why I chose the Audiotron - to help minimize the work my Mac is doing. But both these solutions are notably less CPU intensive than iTunes or another MP3 player.

Everyone will, of course, have to decide if this is something they'd like to do. If it is, as the comments to the story have shown, there are a number of ways to use your computer as a remote MP3 player, for anywhere from $0 to $400 (iPod ;-).


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re: just redundant
Authored by: BuD-TheDude on Feb 26, '02 05:11:23PM

there is another simple solution. instead of spending an obserd(sp?) amount of money and just get a pretty component that doesn't really do anything, get an older Powermac G3; make it your component. the computer would be a dedicated MP3 player / server / ect. you can control it via the keyspan remote i think it is, via VNC, on the TV or even hook it up to a computer monitor. think of it, when you have your music on, put the visualizer on the TV for a acid trip of sorts. you can even use it to burn movies or TV shows to VideoCD's. i haven't tried this yet, but will be trying it with the World Cup this summer ;)


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Space constraints...
Authored by: robg on Feb 26, '02 05:55:50PM

It all depends on what you want to do; your solution is definitely yet another alternative to consider!

In our case, we didn't want a full-size computer and display (too noisy and too bulky), nor did we want to use the TV to project the computer's screen. We basically were looking to replace a CD player. We wanted no fan noise, minimal power usage, and small space consumption. I also wanted to minimize the workload on the parent Mac (since I'd likely be using it while the MP3's were playing) and a decent user interface. Based on all those criteria, the Audiotron met our needs. But clearly, there's a solution out there for just about every option!


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Space constraints...
Authored by: loren_ryter on Feb 26, '02 06:17:52PM

RCA jacks into my amp aux out of the cube audio module and you hae a $6 solution.

i suppose it is true that there are many different needs, but the objection that iTunes takes up too much CPU is silly. I have iTunes running all the time with many other apps going simultaneously with no noticable slowdowns. (if you're playing quake 3 then you don't need to be playing music--and if you just want a dedicated mp3 player for another room entirely, get an iPod, at least you can take it with you. or pick up some old powerbook and run soundjam in os 9). why the complicated solutions for serving via samba??

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Space constraints...
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Feb 26, '02 09:33:01PM

So how do you change songs? Is there a remote or do you have to go to where the Mac is? Honestly, how is this better that a CD player? I use a DVD player to play music CDs, since my TV is hooked up to my component system anyway ;-)

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Multiple answers...
Authored by: robg on Feb 26, '02 11:59:02PM

I use my Mac while my wife listens to music. Hence, iTunes is not always running when she wants to listen to music. And yes, I might be playing Quake3. So the complex Samba solution lets me keep using the Mac for what I want to do while she gets to listen to what she wants to listen to. With iTunes as part of the mix, that's no longer true. I don't run iTunes while I compile code, play Quake3, or render DVDs, for example.

Yes, it has a remote control. It also has a display, so you can see what you're doing while you select by artist, album, genre, or track. You can build custom playlists. You can play randomly. In short, it IS a CD player. But it's a CD player with (in our case) a 2,300 song CD inserted into it. All our music is a few keypad presses away.

So for us, this is a perfect device...


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ye old MP3 server
Authored by: pubtech on Feb 27, '02 04:18:39PM

Another old-tech approach to this would be taking a 7500 or 7600 (sells for less than $50 on eBay), adding a cheap IDE PCI card (~$50) and a big ATA harddrive (prices keep dropping). Use stardard SCSI drive as system, put OS 9.1 and iTunes on, and fill your ATA drive with MP3s. You can use the composite RCA video ports to hook this to your TV for monitoring use and the RCA audio ports to hook the machine up to your stereo.

OK, this is a non OSX solution (you could put yellow dog linux or use Other World Computing's XpOSfacto and put OSX on) and you need a third party steaming app like iHam on iRye, but as outlined above it's cheap and easy.

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