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Music Media

Ethernet MP3 Player 232

Erik Johansson writes: "You can now stream mp3s to your stereo, the guys at slimdevices seems to be building a bonafide ethernet mp3 player. There are some cool pictures of the soldering sweatshop, so perhaps it isn't vaporware?"
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Ethernet MP3 Player

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  • Oh sweet! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by baptiste ( 256004 ) <mike@NoSpaM.baptiste.us> on Saturday August 25, 2001 @08:46PM (#2217071) Homepage Journal
    That is one sweet little device! Nice to see someone go with a flourescent display instead of backlit LCD - they are more expensive, but so easier to read!

    Man - hand soldering SMD board s- not a fun task! More power to these guys! I'm signing up for one for sure - my MP3 server is screaming for something like this!

    The more of us that sign up and buy - the sooner they'll get ne in a nice box :)

    • Okay, so several people have pointed out that several such products have existed for a while. But they're obviously shooting for a low price point. The question is whether they can beat the price of a monochrome iPAQ 3150 ($150 at ebay with CF sleeve included plus $25 for CF Ethernet). Run Linux on it, install madplay and a user interface, and you can play off an NFS *or* Samba server.

      Isn't open source fun?
  • That looks insanely hard to solder. Wow. I'd not believe it, but look at all those chips. A good fake if it is fake.
    • Re:Insaine! (Score:5, Informative)

      by baptiste ( 256004 ) <mike@NoSpaM.baptiste.us> on Saturday August 25, 2001 @08:57PM (#2217100) Homepage Journal
      Its actually not impossible. SMD chips come with solder coated pins. The PCBs have a coat of solder on the pads as well. You spary flux on the board and heat the pins to join the pins and pad together. They make special heads for soldering irons to fit various SMD package types so you can heat all the pins at once.

      Its not easy but it can be done. If enough folks order them, however, it'll make economic sense for them to get them made in a fab facility.

      And I'm sure its not a fake. Embedded devices have gotten very powerful. You can fit an entire ethernet capable Java computer [ibutton.com] with its own embedded JVM, filesystem, etc on a SIMM size card. An MP3 player that just reads a socket stream, decodes the MP3 and outputs audio is not super complex. Its not childs play but its certainly something an embedded system could do. Can't wait to get mine - gonna be fun to finally hook up my stereo to my RAID5 MP3 array :)

      • Re:Insaine! (Score:5, Informative)

        by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) on Saturday August 25, 2001 @09:53PM (#2217195) Homepage
        It is certainly possible, but it's not easy. The SliMP3 firmware is, AFAIK, the only modern IP stack to have been entirely hand-coded in assembler. The hardware we're using is a PIC microcontroller, along with a custom chip (prototyped in a Xilinx CPLD) for doing DMA transfer through an SRAM to the MPEG decoder. It's a rather different design than other embedded Internet platforms - we're cranking 10Mbps through system built around a 20Mhz, 8-bit microcontroller. Of course you don't need this kind of throughput for an MPEG *audio* stream...
        • I thought your prototype chips looked like they had Microchip logos on them. Very sweet. I wasn't saying it was a walk in the park, but my point was it was doable and many have done it, even with PICs - though an assmebler stack - now that's impressive. It was by no means fake :)

          Keep up the great work - can't wait till you guys are ready to ship - I'm into embedded design myself (and have also spent many hours in the sldering sweatshop station :) ) and would love to get my hands on one of these babies :)

        • The SliMP3 firmware is, AFAIK, the only modern IP stack to have been entirely hand-coded in assembler.

          Modern in what way?

          You are right, the other microcontroler IP stack I know of is quite old (late 80s, or at least pre-1992). Steve Holmgrin's (may be misspelled) IP stack for some random microcontroler that had 8K of OTP ROM and 4K of RAM, and I think a 6502 like instruction set. He wrote a small FORTH like language, and then a IP stack including TCP, and some of the small servers (chargen, quote). It didn't drive an ethernet, it did SLIP (I'm pretty sure it predated PPP).

          As I recall one of his proof of concepts was to replace the serial part on an ADM3A terminal, once done you could hook it up to a terminal server with SLIP, and when you turned on the terminal you got a TELNET> prompt. Too bad he didn't have enough RAM to let you switch between multiple telnet sessions.

          As I recall Hariss Semiconductor bought the implementation, and as far as I know never did anything with it.

    • That's a nice workshop, but I don't think they do much prototyping there - it looks great for small assembly runs.

      Wanna see what a real radar prototyping and development workshop looks like? Check this out [glowingplate.com].

      That looks insanely hard to solder. Wow. I'd not believe it, but look at all those chips. A good fake if it is fake.

      Without a hot air rework station, it's pretty hard to do SMT by hand... it's possible, though. I did several video buffer circuits by hand, then I contracted out the rest because it was cheaper than my time.

      I once knew a guy who could solder a surface-mount 486 into place with an ordinary soldering iron. It was terrifying to behold.

      • Hmmm. I see no static control at all, no wrist straps, no static mats, no ionizers, I hope the air conditioning is off when they build boards...

        Thus the term 'sweatshop' Although the ionic contamination of the solder pads from sweat and skin oils wont help either...

        Good luck to them...

        • Hmmm. I see no static control at all, no wrist straps, no static mats, no ionizers, I hope the air conditioning is off when they build boards...

          Yeah. It's like speaking to the head tech at a sucky little computer store somewhere. "Nah, you don't really need to worry about that." Course, he can't figure out why most of his systems come back with intermittant crashes and similar silly problems.

          I didn't notice that right away, actually. Most of my design and development has always been with analog parts, and there's little CMOS there. :)

          Thus the term 'sweatshop' Although the ionic contamination of the solder pads from sweat and skin oils wont help either...

          I wonder what the yield-rate on hand-soldered SMT ICs is, in a production environment. Even with an artist at work, I can't imagine it being all that high.

  • I'm going to venture a guess and say it isn't going to be available commercially for about another 25 years....at least if they are soldering all the surface mount stuff by hand. 5000 caps is a lot of soldering, especially if what you are soldering is about a square millimeter in size.
    • by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) on Saturday August 25, 2001 @09:58PM (#2217211) Homepage
      We'll start shipping in about two weeks. I expect our first batch to sell out rather quickly (thanks, Slashdot!) and we'll start taking pre-orders as soon as that happens.
    • Actually, it's entirely possible to do SMD soldering by hand, and at a decent rate (same or better as that of thru-hole stuff. All you need are the right tools.

      I was a bit shocked to see the primitive irons they were using... but other than that, this looks 100% legit. (as in, it reminds me of the production lab at my last job, where we definately did lots of SMD by hand)

      The pads on those capacitors, for instance, are already solder coated, and so are the pads on the PCB. You just place the component, and tap both pins with a hot iron, and it's done.. it's not as hard as you think.
  • Hopefully, they will not go as blind as bats doing the first few production runs.

    What I'd really like to know is this:

    When is the wireless version coming out?
    • Having done this kind of work---garage runs of prototypes---here's what you get:
      1. back and neck strain, along with headaches, from bending over
      2. wrist and hand cramps from holding the damn iron so long
      3. low-grade respiratory problems from the solder fumes
      4. A HUGE rush when you get the first one working, you feel like Prometheus....
  • With all these new "smart" devices, what happens if someone streams his music into his toaster-oven accidently?
  • The Rio Receiver (Score:5, Informative)

    by fuchikoma ( 144790 ) on Saturday August 25, 2001 @08:53PM (#2217086)
    Found here (http://www.riohome.com/products/receiver.htm), the Rio Receiver does basicaly the same thing, and is already available in stores.

    It also has the advantage of being able to stream over standard phone lines, for those of us who don't have cat5 strung out to the living room.
    • Re:The Rio Receiver (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EvlG ( 24576 )
      Problem with the Rio is you have to run a special Win32 app to stream to the thing. its not as flexbile as I would wish.

      That and the display is impossible to read from across the room.
      • by dschuetz ( 10924 ) <david@d a s net.org> on Saturday August 25, 2001 @09:49PM (#2217185)
        Problem with the Rio is you have to run a special Win32 app to stream to the thing. its not as flexbile as I would wish.

        Actually, that's not necessarily true. Jeff Mock (http://www.mock.com/receiver/ [mock.com]) has hacked together a linux server for it. Basically, it's a bunch of mod_perl scripts for apache, along with a real simple perl server to answer the device's initial request.

        That, and it runs linux, too (sort of). Basically, it spits out a DHCP request for an IP address, sends a broadcast request to a particular port to ask for servers (which is answered by the little perl server), and from there it learns of the IP address and TFTP directory of the server. It then NFS mounts a directory from that server, and reboots with the image it pulls from that directory. So, to upgrade it, just change the files in the server's directory. Real cool. Once running, everything (all artist, track lookups, and audio fetching) happens over HTTP on the fly.

        They've even got a cross-compiler for it, so you can write some of your own programs, and a couple kernel hacks already. I'm waiting for someone to improve the UI a little -- it's good, but not quite all there. Maybe 80% perfect.

        I got mine for, like, $150, on E-Bay. Also branded specifically by Rio, though the front panel looks much weirder.

        There's also the AudioTron, which I looked at first, but that scans your net for SMB servers, then builds its own internal database. Lose power, lose the database, and you've got to re-scan all over again.

        That and the display is impossible to read from across the room.

        That I will give you. :(

        I definitely recommend the Rio Receiver, though. I'd love to see more people hacking it, and improving it. I'm really amazed it hasn't been a bigger hit around here so far...

        • Re:The Rio Receiver (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Spoing ( 152917 )
          Since the Rio Receiver's OS can be updated, can Ogg Vorbis support be added? I'm very curious...
          • Without knowing anything about them, I'm guessing probably not. Because they were probably engineered with the CPU power to decode MP3s. (Overengineering is a huge no-no for embedded.)

            I use vorbis format myself, out of principle, but decoding vorbis takes a couple orders of magnitude more CPU than decoding MP3.

          • If it's anything like some of these other MP3-playing embedded devices, forget it: they use special MP3 decoder chips instead of software. You'll have to wait until someone makes an Ogg-Vorbis decoder chip.
    • I picked up one of these at the local Best Buy on clearance. Seems that no one really wanted to pay 300 bucks for a streaming mp3 stereo component. They are clearanced for about 150 bucks now and well worth every penny. The boys from the former Empeg group (Empeg mp3 car stereo) now work for SonicBlue/Rio and are planning on firmware upgrades to fix the little "quirks" of the box. Namely it only reads 7000 mp3s and only 250 mp3s from one artist. The true test was to watch how my non-techie fiance responded to it. She knew I had a ton of mp3s but didn't know how to find them all on my computer. She fell in love with the Rio receiver the first day.
    • Or you could use the Voyetra/Turtle Beatch Audiotron http://www.voyetra-turtle-beach.com/site/products/ audiotron/

      I've been thinking of getting this unit ... i belive that all it requires is SAMBA to be running under your favorite *nix variant to share the files & playlists.

    • It also has the advantage of being able to stream over standard phone lines, for those of us who don't have cat5 strung out to the living room.
      ...and who on /. doesn't have Cat5 into the living room? That's one of the first things I put in when I moved in where I am now...needed a run from the cable modem to the server closet, which also went back out to a computer that was parked under the TV, serving as a DVD/MP3 player. I yanked the computer out from under the TV when I got my Apex DVD player, but the second run (two RJ45 plugs on each end of one cable, actually) will get put back into action when my TiVoNET arrives next week.
    • You don't actually need Cat5 wiring in your home. You can use Cat3. Hope that helps!
  • oh man (Score:5, Funny)

    by psychalgia ( 457201 ) on Saturday August 25, 2001 @08:53PM (#2217088) Homepage
    wtf, i cant pass calculus, but these bastards can do this soldering while drinking beer? I'm going to be workign at McDonald's the rest of my frickin' life...
  • cool. The site is ./ed after 17 comments.. Thats very, very good.. :)
  • Audiotron (Score:5, Informative)

    by cs668 ( 89484 ) <cservin@cromagnon.com> on Saturday August 25, 2001 @08:59PM (#2217103)
    Turtle Beach has the Audiotron which does the same thimg works great and can be found at some best buys for $149. I love mine.
    • Mine's been working great for several months now, and there isn't a Microsoft box in the house. Turtle Beach has been wonderfully responsive to requests for new features. If you get one, be sure to keep up with the newsgroup so that you can do beta testing of updates.
      • yes, and what's really great is what they've been doing with their firmware upgrades such as streaming radio and browser control which, since they are in "beta", are all so far undocumented features.
  • I would highly doubt that they'll do all of the production runs by hand. It would literally take years.

  • Difference?? (Score:4, Informative)

    by tcc ( 140386 ) on Saturday August 25, 2001 @09:00PM (#2217110) Homepage Journal
    Hmm the site is already slashdotted with only 20 comments here ahaha, stream slashdot hits! :)

    from Google cache:

    If you already have an Ethernet LAN and a machine to use as the server, setting up the SliMP3 will take you just a few minutes, and all you will need is this quick start guide - each step is boldfaced, followed by a brief explanation. If this is your first time setting up Ethernet and IP addresses, then you may wish to visit the additional documentation links, on the left.
    Setting up the player

    Connect the Ethernet port to your hub using a standard RJ45 patch cord

    Connect the player your Ethernet hub or switch using a standard CAT3 or CAT5 patch cord. If you are connecting it directly to the Ethernet card in your server machine, use a crossover cable.

    Connect the players RCA outputs to the inputs on your receiver

    The player has a pair of standard, line level, RCA audio output jacks - connect these to the inputs on your amplifier, receiver, or powered speakers.

    Configure the IR remote: press "S, DVD, 0, 0, 7, ENT"

    A Sony RM-V301 universal remote is supplied with the SliMP3. In addition to controlling the SliMP3, this remote may be used to operate the volume controls on your receiver, or any other equipment you may have.

    The SliMP3 uses the IR codes for a JVC brand DVD player - we chose to use the JVC codes because we wanted to use an off-the-shelf universal remote, and so we chose a brand of DVD player that was standard enough to be supported by the remote, but not so common that it would be likely to conflict with your existing stereo equipment.

    See the instruction manual that comes with the remote for more information on its additional features.

    Connect the power supply

    The SliMP3 comes with a 5V, 1000ma regulated power supply. Please be careful to use ONLY this power supply - connecting a different power supply may damage the player, and such damage is not covered by warranty.

    The player is intended you be left plugged in at all times. When not in use, it enters a "standby" mode, powering down the display and drawing only a few milliamps.

    Enter the IP address information

    When the player is first powered up, it asks you if you want to configure it. Pressing "OK" will take you through a series of four screens - server's IP address, player's IP address, subnet mask, and gateway address. To enter the IP addresses, use the UP/DOWN buttons to edit each digit, and LEFT/RIGHT to go to the next digit, then press OK to complete each entry. Zero out the beginning of each number to make it three digits - eg "" would be entered as ""

    Testing your LAN setup

    ping the player from your server

    On your server, type:

    ping your.players.ip.address

    If your IP addresses are set up correctly, the player will respond to the pings, and display a message indicating where it received the ping from.

    Installing the server

    Download and extract the tarball

    Download the latest version of the server here. To extract the tarball, type:

    tar xvfz slimp3_server.tgz
    cd slimp3_server

    Run the server

    You need to tell the server where your mp3files are stored. You can specify this on the command line as:

    ./server.pl /path-to-your-mp3-files &

    Or, you can leave the path blank, and the server will look for your mp3 files in a directory called "mp3files", in the same directory as the server:

    ./server.pl &

    The '&' tells it to run in the background, so that the server continues running after you log out.

    That's it!

    Just use the cursor keys to browse around, and enjoy your music collection
  • It seems this only alows you to stream from your computer with their software, and not from Shoutcast-style [liquidstreamer.com] streaming servers. if it could do that...I'd buy/make one. you dont know how much i hate it when my streams stop because my computer froze/kernel paniced/bsod'ed/caught fire.
    too bad the site seems to have been /.'ed now...
  • Ethernet stereos? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nougatmachine ( 445974 ) <johndagen&netscape,net> on Saturday August 25, 2001 @09:17PM (#2217129) Homepage
    If you already have ethernet cable strung through your house, wouldn't it just make more sense to connect your computer to the network, and then just listen to the mp3 files by connecting a stereo to that computer? Works fine for me, and it only costs $0.
    • Re:Ethernet stereos? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ksheff ( 2406 ) on Saturday August 25, 2001 @09:31PM (#2217157) Homepage

      Given the environment inside your computer, you may get some interference included in your audio signal. Stereo-Link [stereo-link.com] manufactures a USB device that will allow the computer generated audio to be piped into a stereo w/o any of the included noise picked up from a sound card. It is available from this [studio-stuff.com] site too for $159. I would like to see how the ethernet device stacks up against this product.

      • First, I like to admit I know nothing about transmition of sound. Nada. Zip. Nothing.

        However, I do think. I also look at things. Combined, this leads to some interesting conclusions.

        My stereo mini-plugs extension cable (20', Radio Shack special) that connect my VCR to my computer are presumably two signal wires (left and right stereo channel) encased in a ground. The old phono jack cords and stereo mini-jack to Y-phono jack adapter also uses the shield cable. AHA! So shielding is inportant, you think. Even my cheap $10 computer speakers have shielded cords. But not so fast. My connection between my stereo and my speakers are unshielded cable, ya know, the cheap cable with two wires side-by-side that you can find at Walmart. Now I've run this sort of cable 50' without a problem, and I've known of people with farther runs. Now the only difference between the speaker connection and the other connections is that the speaker connection only carries one channel (not 2) and is amplified. So maybe the amplified signal is strong enough to resist interference but the unamplified is not. However, the amplified cable is bundled in a rats-nest behind the stereo, and the amplified signals in each cable seem not to be interfering with each other.

        So, I can only conclude that interference may or may not be a problem. However, if I want to run a Cat5 cable and, say, transmit unamplified stereo signals to the radio, I can deduct several things. Ring voltage in telephone lines seem to be higher then the sound signal voltage, so the data connections that can happily coexist with voice lines without getting interference should coexist with sound. Ethernet is also twisted to limit cross-talk in the wire. Probably not as good as shielded cables, but good ne'er-the-less. So, could I take an old ethernet line I had laying around and transmit the stereo signal on two wires (one for left and one for right channel) and then ground the paired wire without degrading the signal quality? I haven't tried it, but for a reasonable distance, I would guess yes. The wires are not think enough to carry the higher strength speaker out signal, but for just base audio in, I don't see a problem.

        Just my $.02

    • I live with my parents. I have run a 10/100mbit Cat5e network switched by a Linksys 8 port Cable router that routes my cable modem connection. All this is in the laundry room with the file/web/ftp/mail server. I ran two network connections to the Den, where my Yamaha receiver is. I don't spend all my time on my computer and this little device would allow me to play my music in the Den without having to run audio cable from my computer room up stairs down to the receiver. I could also control the music in the Den without having to build a playlist upstairs before I went down.

      Man, the more I think about it, the better this thing sounds (:

    • If you already have ethernet cable strung through your house, wouldn't it just make more sense to connect your computer to the network, and then just listen to the mp3 files by connecting a stereo to that computer?

      Because not all of us have Panasonic Toughbooks and that's pretty much the only sort of computer I'd want in the kitchen or the crapper. I want these sort of little gadgets all over the house in all sorts of places where it makes no sense to try to place a laptop or monitor.

      As Joe Bob Briggs said: I'm surprised I have to explain these things!

  • Someone please add an optical digital output to this thing... I don't want any analog signals entering my amplifier. No ground loops or any of that shit with fiber either.
    • I'll second that. I have a lot of time, money, and effort invested in DACs, and I don't let other people's crappy DACs anywhere near my audio gear. This would be a great little device with coax or optical digital output, and it shouldn't be overly hard to hack in. There must be a serial digital input on that Crystal SAC somewhere.
    • Don't be silly. You're also talking about an MP3 player, not a cd player. It has inherently inferior audio quality.

      Adding optical out is a waste of money for 90% of the people out there who don't have optical in, and a waste for the remaining 10% who do because you wouldn't hear any difference anyway. Beating your chest about your audio gear aside, it's silly to think optical out off an MP3 box is worthwhile.
  • by burtonator ( 70115 ) on Saturday August 25, 2001 @09:23PM (#2217143)
    Sorry... but with the patent restrictions on MP3 I will skip it. Not unless they support Ogg.

  • Slashdotted! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) on Saturday August 25, 2001 @09:32PM (#2217161) Homepage
    So I'm sitting here looking at my MRTG graphs [seanadams.com] and saying WTF - my server's trying to push out 2.5MBps onto my T1. Oops.

    Thanks everyone for you interest in the SliMP3. Yes, we *are* building these by hand, at least the first 100, and we plan to ship in about two weeks. No we're not planning to build our next batch this way.

    I'll do my best to answer everyone's questions. Again, thanks for the traffic, and sorry my server can't keep up!

    Sean Adams
    Slim Devices, Inc.
    • Hey--since I can't seem to get to your site, just how much do these bad boys run for consumers? The Rio Receiver runs about $300, although it would clash with my black components, and that's just uncool in my rack. ;)

    • Any plans on doing this as a kit? (yes, I know - it is surface mount blah blah blah, but some of us like soldering this stuff!)
      • Re:SMD kit? (Score:2, Informative)

        I considered selling them as kits. The main problems for me would be
        shipping and packaging all the individual components, and providing
        documentation and support. For the customer, the problem would be the need
        for a number of tools (microcontroller programmer, JTAG programmer,
        oscilloscope, in-circuit emulator for testing, rework station, etc). The other issue is
        that with some of the surface mount components, you only get one shot at
        installing it correctly. If you make a mistake, the whole board might be
        hosed! So I don't think it would be feasible to sell bare boards.

        I probably will sell just assembled boards, without the display, power
        supply, and remote, for people who want to build their own case or use a
        different kind of display (eg if you were doing a car installation or
        something exotic...)
      • I can say from experience that providing mp3 player kits can turn into some frustrating tech support. Most of the people we've sold kits to never emailed or called for support. I suppose no news is good news and they got them to work. But for those who did have trouble, it was rare that I could figure out what was wrong. That's frustrating. When the board was assembled and tested before shipping, there's a much smaller set of things that tend to go wrong.

        When we ran out of kits, we didn't make any more. It takes a similar amount of time to sort the parts into nicely labeled bags as it does to stuff parts into a bare board. We've had several people who _really_ want kits to assemble, so we're going to do one more round of kits.

        Also, our little player was designed to be mostly easy-to-solder through hole components. The MP3 decoder and DAC are surface mount, but they're the 1.27 mm low density pitch that's reasonable to solder by hand. I've played with the Cirrus 8900 ethernet chip a bit, and it is a 0.5 mm pitch high density surface mount part. Very few people can solder this by hand, and I am in that group, despite 15 years of occasional soldering. You certainly wouldn't want a kit with such fine pitch surface mount parts. Saddly, there don't seem to be any ethernet controller chips (that aren't obsolete) in lower density packages.

        I think Sean's going to sell some pretty cool players. I know I've had a number of people ask me for ethernet streaming added to my little project... but that just isn't very feasible. The VFD also looks damn nice.

        I noticed the were some links to blank pages that may someday be open-source firmware? Is this just wishful thinking?

    • I'd love to get one of these, but I have no way (or desire) to string ethernet from my room to the living room. How about a version that accepts an 802.11b PC card? Pretty please?
  • Turtle beach makes (or just distributes?) a similar device. More details are available at TG [thinkgeek.com]. This one officially supports windows only, but linux support is available (through samba, if I remember correctly). Uses ethernet or regular phone lines..

    One of these with an 802.11 wireless ethernet card would be perfect...
    • they don't support linux but i've spoken with their developers and testers and i found out they're actually running 70 audiotrons off of a celeron 400 running linux with two ethernet cards. they don't want to "support" linux because of all the possible varieties of .conf files to deal with. i guess they figure anyone running linux should be able to figure it out themselves.

      it works with samba BTW.
  • Imagine enjoying your MP3 collection on those big speakers in your living room, away from the distractions of fans, hard drives, and the occasional blue screen of death!

    um, if i get the BSOD, how the h am i supposed to be listening to MP3s, i hate poorly thought out marketing propaganda :P

    • Because the server currently runs on a Unix operating system, and the audio is pumped strait into an amplifier/receiver.

      Maybe you should of thought out your post.

  • The idea isn't very new or radical as it use to be. If you go here [evozine.com], then you can see some stuff that is already capable of doing what was mentioned in the article.
    • Not to mention the fact that I like my Klipsch ProMedia System for my computer a whole lot, I am not sure why I would want this.
    • If you actually read the product's specs, you'd know that's not the case.

      None of those products listed on that web site you mentioned do any sort of streaming. The one that does have ethernet appears to use it for data acquisition, not real time streaming. Those limitations make them nothing more than limited local caches of your music collection. Lame.

      Heck, my 1.5 year old Apex dvd player can play mp3 discs, but it's totally inconvenient. MP3 cds are only good for backups and car mp3 players.

  • www.mp3newswire.net has a short review of the unit at http://www.mp3newswire.net/stories/2001/slimp3.htm l
    Basicly it's just a summary of the info on the official pages, but it's good since the official page is ./'d (but still accessable, just VERY slowly).
  • That's what I do. I've been listening to MP3's through my stereo for years. No need to buy anything fancy.
  • While this is cool, I'd love it if it did wavelan. Heck, I'd love a wavelan mp3 player. Something I can carry around the house or office and stream mp3's off an NFS directory, web site or samba share. I know, I could go get an iPaq but it's just a little too much.

    Any ideas?
    • NFS? No, what you want is something that will work through HTTP, and has a big buffer and the ability to restart HTTP transfers - then you can just roam around wherever there happen to be wireless networks with firewalls that let you get out through port 80... :)
  • Picked up a set of these [thinkgeek.com] from thinkgeek. They stream analog from a 1/8" stereo jack to RCA jacks. Works fine. At $69 it's hard to beat.

    Since I have wireless ethernet too, I can control the output on the server from my laptop anywhere in the house (or outside).

  • so what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Saturday August 25, 2001 @10:09PM (#2217230) Homepage Journal
    Dell and Gateway have both sold ethernet-enabled MP3 players for about a year now. They're component-based, designed to plug right into your stereo.

    Search around on their sites for them.

    - A.P.
    • let's hope slashdot doesn't cut off this URL... [dell.com]

      If you've got a Samba server in your house (and who doesn'?) this thing looks like a really kickass box.
      • >If you've got a Samba server in your house

        Wonder then what this little disclaimer is about?

        Please note: The Dell Digital Audio Receiver will only work with Windows 98SE, Windows 2000, and Windows ME***

        This thing just mounts smb fileshares, no? Why wouldn't it work with NT, 95, 98 or anything else that uses smb? (the link for 'learn more' on the dell site is dead, btw).

      • That's the same box as the Rio Reciever. They have a special server software that feeds it music, it's not just pulled from shares. Windows only out of the box, but there's another comment on this article pointing to sources for an Apache/Perl based solution for feeding music to it.
  • One that has been tested and works is the MP3Elf [mp3elf.net], based on the cool Java-based TINI board from Dallas Semi. Another TINI-based MP3 player is here [greenend.org.uk],
    although it's still in the planning stages. The nifty thing about the MP3Elf is that it's open source _and_ hardware so you can build your own. They've sold some bare boards so you can assemble your own, although I'm not sure what they're planning for the future.
    • Another TINI-based MP3 player is
      here [greenend.org.uk] [greenend.org.uk], although it's still in the planning stages.
      I'm unlikely to have enough time to finish this until at least June 2002. Anyone else is welcome to finish the design off - it just needs the PCB layout to be finished. (Most of the data lines are routed already, it just needs power connecting and decoupling capacitors adding.)
  • Why is it that all these companies are now making advances in MP3 technology while the music itself is being destroyed? Let's face it, how many people use MP3s for legal purposes (like listening to their own band). Even cell phones have MP3 players now, but what's the use? If the crackdown on pirated MP3s continues, these companies will lose their money to consumers no longer interested in free music.

    scars are souveniers you never lose.
    • crackdown on pirated MP3s?? HAH. yeah, that'll happen. "mp3" has quickly become a standard, and rightly so....variable quality, small filesize, whats not to like? the "crackdown on pirated MP3s" that you speak of wont happen, as far as i can see. just like us humans figured out a way to get around DVD encryption and so many other attempts to stop piracy, we will continue to use MP3s and MP3 devices, regardless of what the record companies and their lawyers do.

      additionally, its not like MP3 collections will disappear...the record companies cant possibly hunt down everyone with the .mp3 file extension on their computer, so MP3s will always be out there as a buzzword and a market.
  • Gateway has had a product like this availible for quite some time now. It has an ethernet port to connect to the server, a display, and connectors for the home audio system.

    Why did this story make it? Was it a slow news day?
  • I use my laptop with 802.11 wireless to play MP3s. I hit a web page on a server on my office, which plays MP3s through the server's soundcard. I have RCA jacks running in the crawlspace under my house from the server soundcard to an input on my receiver. The web page can also serve up the MP3s over http if I want to listen through headphones on the laptop itself.

    I use MSDE [microsoft.com] to store the album info and playlists. I am looking at moving the database to MySQL.

    I originally started this project using LiRC [lirc.org], but then I realized how much cooler a web interface would be.

    I used to open the http port through the firewall, but yahoos were hitting my page and cranking up my stereo while I was at work, and freaking out my dog.
    • ok, so I read through your post and thought is was kinda interesting.

      then I got to the last paragraph, about people hacking the server, and I just had to stop in wonder and think: it's a mighty strange world where "yahoos" can remotely freak out your dog via http. strange, man.

  • yeah, i already play my mp3's through my stereo. i plug the aux out of my sound card into the aux in of my stereo. and there is 0 latency! and i only had to spend $2 or so at Radio Shack to get a headphone-jack-to-rca-jack converter.
    • i agree.. maybe i'm not understanding the device correctly, but, why would you want to stream music to your stereo system constantly..
      won't that kill your network in your home? I would think it'd chug up a ton of bandwidth on my little 8 port hub..

      and whats the audio-out specs on the device? i believe my soundcard is 20hz-20khz...that rio's specs is like 34hz-20khz or something like that..

      I dunno, i think I'd rather run rca jacks from my pc to stereo..being that i'd have to leave my computer on in order to stream to another $300 box and run same type of wires there. i could see running cat-5, if it was going to check cddb for my cd player or something.

      my onscreen pioneer cdplayer is missing cdtext, along with cddb via cat-5 :)

  • Sean? Is it possible to add this?


  • Let's see, soldering them together on a polished
    wood table with no ESD protection in sight?

    What are these people thinking?

    Clearly, not much.

  • I think I'd like it a bit more if it was USB or 802.11.

  • I think I'd buy one of these things if they supported IPv6 with anycast.
    This is exactly the kind of thing IPv6 was designed for, and since I'm going
    to start converting my home network to primarily use IPv6, this would be a
    perfect addition to my setup.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!