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MP3s in the home theater environment

Old 09-14-02, 12:37 PM
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MP3s in the home theater environment

Okay, recently I finished ripping all my 500+ CDs to 320bit MP3. It just seemed to make sense, I can't tell the difference between CD-audio and 320bit. So now I want:

- a unit in my home theater to store this ~40GB of information
- a video out that displays the list of available titles/artists on the television
- an ethernet port to connect the device to my computer/broadband

I know there is one product on the market that will do this but they want $3500 for it and it needs to be programmed by the custom installer.

Isn't there any demand for a product like this?

If you are also playing MP3s in the home theater environment, what are your thoughts?
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Old 09-14-02, 01:32 PM
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This was a tough call, but I think it's better in the Computer Forum where we've had several threads about many aspects of this topic lately. Do a search for MP3 and/or home theater computer (HTPC).
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Old 09-14-02, 01:42 PM
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Here's what I did--I burned them to CDR's; can put 8-12 hours on one disk [I usually go 160/192, maybe a little higher, so YMMV.]
But I also have two portable MP3/CD players and a DVD player that plays MP3's.
I avoided the 'hard drive' things because as big as they are, you still have to transfer them there, usually with nothing faster than USB [at least on my machine], whereas once I burn a disk, it's there.
My DVD player has very rudimentary MP3 support, but I would think some are better by now.
Also, you can get those 'wireless broadcast' units; one end hooks to your computer, the other to your HT, and your PC is the 'server,' sending the audio to your HT [or a regular FM stereo, I haven't looked too deeply into it. But might go nose around, when I go to Best Buy today.]

Granted, none of those options are what you listed, but I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money on this setup; as it is, 150 for the DVD player [which of course is used for DVD's also], 200 for the MP3/CD player [I got I think the first kind commercially available, you can buy them now for around fifty bucks], and what, seventeen cents each for bulk CDR's. Otherwise, all you can do is play on your HT, whereas I wanted some mobility. But again, your needs/wants/budget might be different from mine; just my tuppence.
Good luck, there's a lot of cool toys out there
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Old 09-14-02, 05:27 PM
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You might want to look at this:
http://www.audiotron.net/audiotron/producthome.asp

It doesn't have a built in drive, it is only a player. Store the mp3's on a computer in your home network. Has ethernet and HPNA hookups. Also plays streaming audio over the net (shoutcast, icecast, can play streaming realaudio with some extra effort). Does not have a video out, but does have a pretty good display on the unit. Has good sound quality if you use the digital output into your home theater equipment. I have one, and have been very happy with it.

Dave
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Old 09-14-02, 06:57 PM
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Why not just make an MP3 box. You can build one for around $200. Get a Radeon card with a s-video/composite out and you can have the winamp playist ouput to your tv. You can also do visualizations and designs that flow with the music. You don't even need a monitor.
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Old 09-15-02, 09:35 AM
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Another cheap option is to buy an Apex DVD player, and a hard drive.

1. Hook the hard drive up to your computer, format it and copy all of your MP3 files over to it.

2. Open up the Apex DVD player and pull out the standard IDE DVD ROM drive.

3. Put in the hard drive with all the MP3's.

You now have an MP3 juke box on the cheap, with on screen display and a full featured remote. Go here for more detailed instructions:

http://www.nerd-out.com/darrenk/
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Old 09-15-02, 12:42 PM
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Renaldow, thanks for the tip, nerd-out pointed me to The Sampo Zone where they are having better results.

Why this isn't something that is on the market boggles my mind.
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Old 09-16-02, 09:11 AM
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An expensive option, but HP has something that sounds like what you want.

http://news.com.com/2100-1040-268723.html?legacy=cnet

I've seen them at Best Buy.. and while they are decent looking, I wouldn't spend a grand on one.
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Old 09-16-02, 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by renaldow
Another cheap option is to buy an Apex DVD player, and a hard drive.

1. Hook the hard drive up to your computer, format it and copy all of your MP3 files over to it.

2. Open up the Apex DVD player and pull out the standard IDE DVD ROM drive.

3. Put in the hard drive with all the MP3's.

You now have an MP3 juke box on the cheap, with on screen display and a full featured remote. Go here for more detailed instructions:

http://www.nerd-out.com/darrenk/
Can that be done with the Apex 1200? I always see that one on sale for $50 at Circuit City and I have an extra 20gig 5400 rpm drive, I'd love to make a cheap mp3 server.
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Old 09-16-02, 12:55 PM
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Originally posted by Vryce
An expensive option, but HP has something that sounds like what you want.

http://news.com.com/2100-1040-268723.html?legacy=cnet

I've seen them at Best Buy.. and while they are decent looking, I wouldn't spend a grand on one.
HP/Compaq stopped manufacturing these. They are going to concentrate on their core competencies.
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Old 09-16-02, 01:23 PM
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Originally posted by Tsar Chasm
HP/Compaq stopped manufacturing these. They are going to concentrate on their core competencies.
You mean making hardware that only their brand parts can fit in?
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Old 09-17-02, 09:21 AM
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Originally posted by X
You mean making hardware that only their brand parts can fit in?
No, I believe they consider their core competencies to be pissing off the customer with poor products and inadequate service. They really need to start concentrating on that again if they hope to catch up to Gateway.
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Old 09-17-02, 01:31 PM
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Originally posted by agent2099
Why not just make an MP3 box. You can build one for around $200.
I'm lazy, do you have any links to the specific equipment for a $200 mp3 box? My current plan has been to wait for MS to release an mp3 server capable Xbox, but this would be the next best thing (assuming it doesn't draw gobs of power).
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Old 06-12-04, 11:14 PM
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So what are some updated ideas here? Right now I just have a cable running under my carpet from my computer to audio inputs in my reciever, but sometimes I get a Hum through the speakers. What's a good, cheap, wireless solution?
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Old 06-13-04, 12:35 AM
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I'd use a digital connection and run a fiber-optic cable between the computer and receiver. No more hum. I don't think anything wireless would be cheap.
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Old 06-13-04, 12:39 AM
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Originally posted by monkeyboy
So what are some updated ideas here? Right now I just have a cable running under my carpet from my computer to audio inputs in my reciever, but sometimes I get a Hum through the speakers. What's a good, cheap, wireless solution?
How about Apple's just announced Airport Express with AirTunes
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Old 06-13-04, 01:46 AM
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just realized this thread is 2 years old.
I like that apex dvd player + ide hard drive idea
damn, might have to find a cheap apex player
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Old 06-13-04, 01:58 AM
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Originally posted by Kevin M. Dean
How about Apple's just announced Airport Express with AirTunes


Yeah, I was checking that out. It's pretty cheap and seems simple enough, although I'm not quite sure how it works. Would I need 1 for my computer and another for my stereo?

I don't really like the hard drive / DVD player hack. Wouldn't it be a pain to add new songs? Plus I think you can stream internet radio through the airport express as well. The only downside is that to use itunes, I'd need to install XP because I'm still using 98.

Originally posted by X
I'd use a digital connection and run a fiber-optic cable between the computer and receiver. No more hum. I don't think anything wireless would be cheap.
I'm not sure what that would entail. I'm not sure what sort of adapter I'd need to run fiber opti cable. I was just thinking about wireless so I could send it to a few different units.

By 'cheap', I mean around $100.

Last edited by monkeyboy; 06-13-04 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 06-13-04, 01:09 PM
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Originally posted by monkeyboy
I'm not sure what that would entail. I'm not sure what sort of adapter I'd need to run fiber opti cable. I was just thinking about wireless so I could send it to a few different units.

By 'cheap', I mean around $100.
All you would need would be an audio card or a motherboard that has a Toslink (optical) out such as

http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproduc...118-105&DEPA=0

or

http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduc...117-107&depa=0

and a length of thin Toslink cable.
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Old 06-13-04, 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by monkeyboy
Yeah, I was checking that out. It's pretty cheap and seems simple enough, although I'm not quite sure how it works. Would I need 1 for my computer and another for my stereo?
You would just need one for your stereo. Your computer would just need to have wireless networking access.
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Old 06-14-04, 07:54 PM
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I use the Linksys Wireless Media Adaptor. Works pretty well, allows me to store the mp3s on the HD and then browse on the TV by artist, folder, genre, etc.

The best option is really to have a Windows XP Media Center hooked up (the interface is really nice), but that's a lot more expensive.

I would have used the home media option on my Tivo, except I have a DirecTivo and they haven't added the option yet. (Grrrr...)
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Old 06-15-04, 08:28 PM
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Monkeyboy, hum is usually a ground loop problem. You can fix that a lot of times by making sure both your PC and your receiver are plugged into the same electrical circuit.

Unless you're going for audiophile level sound quality, I think your best solution is to look for an inexpensive networked media player like what dstrauss mentioned. Basically, those things plug into your network and stream audio/video off of your hard drive.

There's a lot of new products in this category, but my favorite is actually a hacked XBox. Buy a refurb unit for $120 and do a TSOP hack, load XBox MediaCenter and you've got the best AV media player available (its interface is very similar to a Windows MediaCenter Edition PC, but of course, it doesn't record).
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Old 06-16-04, 10:16 AM
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Holy thread resurrection.

Anyway, I'm now using TiVo Home Media Option w/ JavaHMO. Works great and extends the Home Media Option to include local theater schedules and webcams.
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Old 06-21-04, 09:58 AM
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Originally posted by belboz
There's a lot of new products in this category, but my favorite is actually a hacked XBox. Buy a refurb unit for $120 and do a TSOP hack, load XBox MediaCenter and you've got the best AV media player available (its interface is very similar to a Windows MediaCenter Edition PC, but of course, it doesn't record).

What do you mean by record? Burn disc or record onto the harddrive?
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