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Streaming fundamentals - what is required?



Hello, I’ve had a quick search through the forum, but failed to find what I am looking for so apologies if this has been covered before.

I want to stream music over a network to a standard Hi-Fi amplifier and speakers. I want to play a minimum of two separate media streams at the same time from the same machine (two different rooms) and I want to do it as cheaply as possible. Any ideas?

What I would really like to understand is what is the minimum I need so I can look at DIY options, and what are the fancy pre-packaged options.

Thanks in advance!


Full Details:
I have a computer in one room which is connected to a network. It is also connected to my TV and I watch TV through the computer. The PC only has one sound card.

I want to stream music across my network to another room and into my amplifier (standard stereo set up, amplifier (with a left and right input), CD player, speakers, that kind thing). I am happy to kick off the playlist from the main machine and am not too worried about control of the playlist once in motion (I have plans to use a wifi iPaq to do that, but that’s for the future – unless I need to consider that now?), but ideally I would separate the sound sources so I can watch the TV in one room and my wife can listen to music in the other.

I have had a little look around and I like the kind of Sonos sort of package, but it’s too expensive for me since I don’t need most of it and if I’m honest I just want to play with the remote. Popcorn looks good, but from what I can see I will need a TV to control it and there won’t be a TV in most rooms. I’m going to investigate the airtunes thing from apple, so I guess that might be an option.

I looked at the cheaper end and like the look of the Buffalo link theatre, but again I don’t need Wifi or the video media streaming capability, and I’m not sure if I can upload a playlist from iTunes and thus I am worried that setting up playlists might be a total pain to use. Essentially if I can push things to it and have the bonus of being able to skip forward a track then that is perfect. More than happy to shell out £75 for it too and wouldn’t not buy it because it had extra features, but wouldn’t buy it if it is horrific to use.

Does anybody have any suggestions/ ideas? What is the minimum I need to have to stream the music through by pushing, but splitting the sound source; i.e., same computer running TV sound + playing music; i.e., do I need a router at the other end? Do I need something with a sound card? Would I be able to push music through to a Router with a USB sound widget like the one used on this DIY site http://devices.natetrue.com/musicap/ (my fear here is that I can’t simply stream, rather I would need to set up the linux operating system and it wouldn’t be awfully user friendly).

Any suggestions, tips, further reading or general advice is greatly appreciated.


Active Member
You can stream music to a wifi ipaq and play it through the Hifi if you want.

Don't know if that helps? :confused:


Thanks for the replies guys, I'll try the ipaq streaming but I'm concerned about quality - what's it like sound wise? The squeeze box looks good, but it's more than I wanted to pay really. Has anybody got experience of the buffalo link theatre?

Having looked at the Apple air port thing it is almost exactly what I am after, except I don't want it to be WIFI (I'd rather use a network as the house is old and has very thick walls). From what I can tell it is a router with a USB sound card in it - has anybody any experience with making their own; i.e., buying a router and using a USB sound card plus a mini jack to phono cables?

I'm not too woried about the hardware as I can always use an extra router and the USB sound card is about £3.50 on ebay. but I'm not sure about the software/ control side of things can I just set up the router as a different zone in iTunes and then push stuff through?

Thanks again for your help.


Active Member
Thanks for the replies guys, I'll try the ipaq streaming but I'm concerned about quality - what's it like sound wise?

Just tried it, the max output is a little low but sounds fine.

I actually use it the opposite way round. I have 2 soundcards in the PC. The first does local sound, the second is tied to Winamp and I use a program called remote amp on the PC and iPaq. I run a 20 metre optical lead to the main AV room and plug that into the Amp. The remote amp program allows me to control the playlist on Winamp on the main PC. Because the audio is on optical I disable the volume control in Winamp so the music is independant of the PC volume.

Hope that helps


Active Member
Just tried an external sound card and that works as well. But only in stereo (I use AC3 from the internal soundcard for surround sound).

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