Time to rethink music streaming - help required.

steviebobs

Standard Member
Hi all

My current requirement is for my music to be streamed from my PC to my Ruark MR1 Mk2 sound system. Also simultaneously I would like to stream my entire photo collection randomly to my TV.

This is currently done by streaming iTunes on my PC to an aging Apple TV box and that links via optical to the Ruark. This set-up also gives me the opportunity to randomly stream my photos also from my P.C. to the TV via a HDMI out of the Apple TV box. The PC is 1Gig Ethernet connected to my router (A BT Home Hub 6) and the Apple TV box is wirelessly connected to the same router. This works but not as perfectly as I would like. First issue is that the Apple TV only caches a certain number of photos so after a short time repeats are frequent (I have over 12,000 images, I am not sure how many the Apple caches). I am also aware of various aging Apple products 'ceasing to be effective' after a while. This Apple TV box has optical audio output, I believe the later ones do not.

I am currently rethinking how I may achieve my main aims but although I am reasonably technical, my current knowledge of the market place is lacking so ideas please?

Regards

Steve
 

Going Grey Now

Active Member
regret not having a ready made answer here but your question has now got me thinking.
Several years ago, I had my PS3 running “slideshows” with photos displayed on the TV, accompanied by random music stored on the PS3’s hard drive.
I appreciate that this in no way provides an answer but I am now wondering if I too could somehow re-jig my current arrangement to be able to listen to my music and project my photos on to the TV - I remember how much I used to enjoy doing this.
I wouldn’t want to do it all the time, but to have the option again would be great and it means that all those long since forgotten photos enjoy the light of day again.
My current streamer is a Raspberry Pi and given that the Pi is a small board computer, I’m thinking there must be some way of using it to achieve your aim.
As I say, apologies for no answer but your question has prompted me to do a bit of investigating.
I’m sure fellow members will be along quite soon with more mainstream solutions and/or to confirm I’m possibly barking up the wrong tree!
 

jamieu

Active Member
Kodi would give you access to the Kodi Photo/Picture library feature and can also act as an AirPlay client for iTunes, as well as indexing your local music library directly.

You can 'side load' Kodi onto an Apple TV but it's not trivial and not sure how it works in terms of being the main slideshow/screensaver on the device if you do that.

If you're happy to use a Raspberry Pi then LibreElec (a small RPi operating system that only runs Kodi) is probably the simplest route to installing Kodi on one — but you'd also need a hat to get an optical output.

If you're willing to spend a bit more money and want a simple life then OSMC Vero 4K+ is a well made device that is custom built to run Kodi (smoothly and without issue) and also comes with a remote control and an S/PDIF optical port port built in.

Both Kodi routes would allow you to attach a hard drive with your music files and photos directly to the device — meaning you don't need to keep your PC on 24/7 — and both support AirPlay 1.

If your music is all held locally (as opposed to Apple Music's streaming online service) another option is to install Plex (server) on your PC (to index your photos and music) and then use the Plex app on the Apple TV to display/play them. There's also a PlexAmp mobile app dedicated to music. Again not sure if an app on Apple TV can act as the main screensaver. Plex would also require you to keep the PC on while photos or music is being played/served so may not be ideal.

Might be helpful to other users if you clarified how your using iTunes, are you using Apple Music's online streaming service or is all your music ripped locally? If the former are you wedded to Apple Music or open to other streaming platforms?

There are certainly better options if music streaming alone was your goal. But if you're looking for a device that has a configurable photo album screensaver, can handle indexing and playing a local music library and act as an AirPlay endpoint then Kodi is probably the best fit.
 
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steviebobs

Standard Member
Hi. Thanks for the replies so far. To answer some queries. My music is held on the pc in iTunes and is all my CD's (12000 songs) ripped over time so not a subscription music service. I played about with Kodi a long time ago so need to re-acquaint. I need to look at the Plex server option also. The comment by Going Grey Now (or in my case Gone Grey Now) about 'long since forgotten photos' is spot on and just what I want to do.

I don't have an issue with spending money, being retired I need to spend it before the kidz get the chance...so the OSNC is worth investigating.

Please keep the ideas coming. I quite like my Apple base but am always worried about the potential 'obsolescence' issue. Out of interest my PC is actually a late 2014 iMac but I run Win 10 via Bootcamp.

Best to all

Steve
 

Going Grey Now

Active Member
............ The comment by Going Grey Now (or in my case Gone Grey Now) about 'long since forgotten photos' is spot on and just what I want to do...........

Best to all

Steve
Had to have a laugh at this. Just like to say that GOING grey now was dreamt up a long time ago and even then I’d already turned grey without much hair. It’s deteriorated somewhat since then!
Anyway, back to your question. I too was interested to read the comment from @jamieu who clearly has a far better understanding of the technicalities involved than I do. I’m planning on having a good read of his comments to see if they’re applicable to me too.
I’ve often heard about Kodi and this is perhaps the time that I need to have a proper look.
My issue, though, is that I’ve now reached the point - streamer wise (Raspberry Pi4, ALLO Digione Signature running Moode, outputting to a Schiit DAC) where I am happy and the last thing I would want to do is to jeopardise things by adding in a slideshow feature.
Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.
 

jamieu

Active Member
Had to have a laugh at this. Just like to say that GOING grey now was dreamt up a long time ago and even then I’d already turned grey without much hair. It’s deteriorated somewhat since then!
Anyway, back to your question. I too was interested to read the comment from @jamieu who clearly has a far better understanding of the technicalities involved than I do. I’m planning on having a good read of his comments to see if they’re applicable to me too.
I’ve often heard about Kodi and this is perhaps the time that I need to have a proper look.
My issue, though, is that I’ve now reached the point - streamer wise (Raspberry Pi4, ALLO Digione Signature running Moode, outputting to a Schiit DAC) where I am happy and the last thing I would want to do is to jeopardise things by adding in a slideshow feature.
Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

@GoingGreyNow Personally I'd stick with what you have now. While Kodi and Plex can can both function well as audio managers/players. They aren't designed from the ground up for that purpose alone, Video tends to their core focus (at which they both excel). The RPi audio focused operating systems like Voumio, Moodes, LMS/PiCorePlayer etc. all have interfaces and settings that are solely designed for audio browsing and playback. Although for the price of a MicroSD Card you could always give it a try one evening!

When setup correctly Kodi and Moodes should both sound identical (ie. or at least output the same PCM data to whatever is handling the digital to analog conversion). It's just that if you are never going to use the video features you might find it a bit like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut and miss some of the more audio focused features of Moode.

@steviebobs Kodi/Plex should solve both your needs in one go, which is why I suggested them both. But if you know you're never going to use the video playback features of either, then you may want to consider looking at the the slideshow problem as a separate issue from the management and streaming of a local music library — as there are possibly better routes to doing the latter. But that's not to say Kodi/Plex are bad for that purpose.

@steviebobs Is your obsolescence concern more around Apple/iTunes no longer supporting a local music library and hence wanting to move to a different audio software/platform to do that? Or is it just that you think your Apple TV is on it's last legs and want to know if there is something better to replace it with, if it's just the latter and your happy otherwise then I'd probably suggest just upgrading to a newer Apple TV.
 
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Jamie

Distinguished Member
TBH I'd keep them separate, keep your existing music solution but use something else for a slideshow.

Maybe it's because I use Android and Google but the ambient photo slideshow when my Chromecast isn't playing anything does the job for me.
 

steviebobs

Standard Member
Good points guys. Re the obsolescence issue with Apple, my Apple TV works fine at the moment, I just get concerned if there are any 'software updates' that may change things, if you catch my drift...I have noticed 'reduced functionality' on some of my older Apple products after a SW update!

I can run my photos from a USB mem stick plugged into my DVD player, but it only plays vids from a specific folder not randomly accessing multiple folders on the stick. I have all my photos in a folder format like All Photos}Year}Occasion but the DVD only plays from a specified folder not randomly across the whole 'All Photos' top level Folder.

Steve
 

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