I've had a couple of PMs about my mention of this in another thread, so rather than hijacking that thread, I figured I could answer any general interest questions here.
There's a lot of talk about network media players and internet radio, and a plethora of devices on the market (Roku, SqueezeBox, Sonos and others). The main difference I see between these machines and the "johnny-come-lately" play-anything boxes from WD, Patriot, Seagate et al are the richer set of features on the network music players;
- audiophile-grade sound quality (if you want it)
- ability to browse/search by artist/genre/year/.../.../... much like the iPod
- access to internet radio, podcasts and more (free and subscribed)
- synchronization amongst players in a specific zone or the whole house
- portability; some players come with integrated speakers
- integration with iTunes and other popular music libraries
- stream content wirelessly to your iPod = mobility + freedom from iPod storage limitations
When my multi-CD changer died a couple of years ago, I decided that it was time to make the jump to a network music player. I settled on Logitech's (formerly Slim Devices) SqueezeBox and over the last year I've grown the system from one to three physical players.
Depending on the brand and feature set, the initial investment in a network music player can be high. Sonos is one of the most expensive systems, but even the least-expensive SquezeBox Radio
is $200 and the portfolio goes all the way up to the audiophile Transporter
But there are less expensive ways to try out SqueezeBox to see if you like it before investing in hardware...
1. If you don't have a music library and just want to experience the vast array of internet radio stations, you simply need to open a FREE MySqueezebox.com account at http://mysqueezebox.com/index/Home
This account can serve as your gateway to getting internet radio stations into your "player" (more on that shortly). The account can also be used in the future to configure certain parameters of physical players, if you venture that far.
2. Download the FREE SqueezeBoxSever (SBS) application from http://www.mysqueezebox.com/download
and install it on the computer that will host your local music content.
As the name implies, this application will be streaming content to your "player". Note that SBS can stream both local and
3. OK, so now you have internet radio and/or a local music library being "streamed" in your house, you need something on which to play this content. Since you don't have a physical (hardware) SqueezeBox device, you need a "softplayer", of which I'm aware of applications for the PC and iPod/phone.
If the PC is your chosen platform, I'd recommend downloading/installing either;
- Logitech's own SqueezePlay
note that you can also get the latest (nightly build) SBS v7.4x from here too
(a Sourceforge project) is available from http://softsqueeze.sourceforge.net/download.html
NOTE: the softplayer application DOES NOT need to be installed on the same PC as the SBS application
, but the two computers have to be network connected.
FWIW, I use SqueezePlay on my home office PC, it serves the roles of player AND controller of my other devices. NOTE: The one drawback of softplayers is that you can't synchronize them to each other, or to hardware players.
But wait, it gets better! If you're an iPod aficionado, you can extend the SqueezeBox experience to your iPod by installing some of the many apps out there. Thus you can turn your iPod into a SqueezeBox.
From a softplayer perspective, I've heard that SqueezePod
is currently the application of choice. It's a $5.99 app available from the usual channels. More details at: http://appshopper.com/music/squeezepod
FWIW, I don't play in this space. We have an iPod Touch, but also have 4 hardware devices and a softplayer capable of playing SBS-streamed content.
Another notable app is iPeng
, however, this is not a softplayer, but an alternate (wi-fi) SqueezeBox Controller (SBC) for those that don't have a Duet
system or simply want to escape the clutches of IR remotes for other SB players. However, the author of this $9.99 app has publicly stated that he will add player capability in a future update. More details at: http://appshopper.com/music/ipeng
So that's it. You haven't spent a dime on hardware; above and beyond the PC and/or iPod that you already have, and you now have the ability to stream local and/or internet music throughout your home, and thanks to a wi-fi connected iPod, you have mobility within the range of your wireless router.