Author Topic: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?  (Read 10324 times)

jkn

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I've had XM radio for several years and this year the signal dropped to unusable and their customer support leaves something to be desired.   

So... what next? 

I do not have a computer in the living room.   I noticed that some blu-ray players can stream Pandora radio which seems like a cool service in the limited amount of time I've listened.   But not many blu-ray players actually do Pandora (Samsung and Panasonic appear to be only ones).

Advantage for me is I don't have a blu-ray player - and that would be 'nifty', but not needed.   (I have a huge DVD collection -and my wife and I tend towards older tv shows and movies so blu-ray isn't really a huge deal - but I can't wait to see Planet Earth on blu-ray!)

I always thought if I went blu-ray it would be through a ps3.

How else can I get internet radio into the living room?   Any magic boxes or easy routes I'm not thinking of?    It can't be too "ugly" - it's a living room and while I don't care much about electronic gadgets and wires cluttering up thing... my wife doesn't like it at all!    Grin!  ;-)

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 09:14:37 AM »
Tigerdirect.com just sent me an email this morning with a Samsung blu-ray player with Pandora streaming capability for $99 (refurbished).  Given that it's also a high-quality up-sampling DVD player and plays Blu-ray discs, I'd say that's a cheap and versatile solution.  It looks as though it's "wi-fi ready" but requires an add-on wi-fi adapter, though it does have ethernet if you're within reach of a router/hub.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

jblock

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 09:44:14 AM »
We recently switched from cable to satellite (directTV) and they have a bunch of SiriusXM stations that we can pipe through the house now.
Jonathan Block
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jkn

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 09:44:52 AM »
Another option was to just buy an iPod dock for my AVR... but that's $100 - and it seems that money could be better spent on the blu-ray/pandora option or some other gadget.

I looped at the Apple TV thing - but it didn't excite me.  
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 09:55:47 AM »
Even Apple fanboys find the Apple TV pretty unexciting.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

jkn

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2009, 10:03:42 AM »
I "looped" at the Apple TV.   Now there's a funny typo for an ambient forum.  ;-)

I was just browsing Apple's website - and saw the Apple Express ($100) could be plugged in next to my receiver and stream iTunes.   Now if I could stream internet radio from Pandora, StillStream, Soma.fm... I'd be a happy camper.

Any other thoughts?   

It doesn't have to be a blu-ray player... or Apple fanboy product...

Heidi wants to have good radio in the house again - our XM's been broke for far too long and we miss it.    We used to have digital cable with music - but dropped digital cable and got XM. 

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

jkn

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2009, 10:31:49 AM »
Oh my... doubling my cost - but wow this is cool...    A Mac Mini in the living room with the tv as a 46" monitor... connected to the receiver for audio and a wireless keyboard.

$599 for the smaller mini - or $799 for the beefier one.   

And I can sneak that computer into audio service when needed... :-)

Although I did promise Heidi that our next computer would be a Macbook Pro for her to replace our breaking HP laptop... 

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2009, 10:34:50 AM »
I just bought a Mac Mini as a media server.  It comes with wi-fi built in and you can get a DVI-HDMI cable (assuming your TV has an HDMI input), and connect the audio output to the receiver if you get a 1/8" to dual-RCA adapter cable.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

jkn

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2009, 12:12:55 PM »
I'm a little more excited to spend $600 on a mac to stream radio and then have it available for whatever else.   Nothing like dreaming big!   (or dreaming mini!)
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2009, 12:17:05 PM »
If you go with a Mac Mini as a media server, there's this really cool bluetooth keyboard you can use that has a sort of trackpad in the corner to take the place of a mouse.  It's called the Logitech DiNovo Edge keyboard and there's a Mac-specific version (slightly different control-command-option keys).  I just bought one but haven't set it up yet. 

[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

ech3

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2009, 02:43:23 PM »
A few months ago I bought a gadget called the Squeezebox Boom.

It's a standalone internet streaming radio.  It doesn't need a computer to work, just a wi-fi connection.

The Boom has built-in stereo speakers.  The build and sound quality are fantastic.  Mine sits on a side table next to my bed and I listen to Stillstream or Drone Zone (SomaFM) all night long.

Squeezebox makes several models.  The Duet might be the one you're looking for.  It's designed to be connected to a stereo system.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 02:45:12 PM by ech3 »

darkenedsoul

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2009, 09:10:42 PM »
I can't stand radio these days and do not stream any radio from the net. Not sure what the PS3 would buy you other than streaming audio/video from a windows home server (with Mac support). I don't know if there are any add-ins for it for radio streaming. Check out the wegotserved forum (don't have url handy atm).

Mike

jkn

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2009, 06:46:32 AM »
Looked at the Squeezebox Boom - for that price - I'd be happier with the Mac Mini...

I'm pretty "sold" on the Mac Mini at this point.   Yes - could go windows for a heck of a lot less (the Dell Zino's are cute as a button) - but I've sworn off buying window's pc's.   

The Mini is about double the cost of my other options... but well more than double the possibilities. 

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

jblock

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2009, 06:54:48 AM »
Here's an article from Macworld about using the Mini as a media server. I just got the latest issue of Macworld in the mail yesterday and it also has an article about other media streaming server options but that content hasn't made the website yet.

http://www.macworld.com/article/140216/2009/04/mwvodcast105.html
Jonathan Block
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mgriffin

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2009, 07:24:11 AM »
The Plex Media Center application isn't' quite ready for prime time yet but looks very promising.

http://www.plexapp.com/

If you're using a Mac Mini there's always Front Row -- though the Mini no longer comes with the cool little bluetooth remote, so you have to buy one for $30 or $40.  Front Row is basically a super-simplified interface for controlling the Mini's iTunes and DVD player functions with the little remote.  The problem is, it doesn't support any media not supported by those 2 applications, so you can't it to play back DIVX format rips of TV shows you've downloaded on bittorrent or anything like that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_Row_%28software%29

[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

jblock

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2009, 07:35:33 AM »
I think the remote that used to come with Mac's was RF not bluetooth, at least the ones I got with my laptops. The new issue of Macworld also talks about this and how you can use apps on an iphone or ipod touch to get even a better remote.
Jonathan Block
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LNerell

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2009, 11:54:19 AM »
I was just browsing Apple's website - and saw the Apple Express ($100) could be plugged in next to my receiver and stream iTunes.   Now if I could stream internet radio from Pandora, StillStream, Soma.fm... I'd be a happy camper

We just got an Apple TV here at work. I'll report back more once its set up and working, but my feeling is its probably over kill if all you want to do is stream internet radio. We are going to use it to stream video content to a conference room and its sort of our pilot project for our future classroom media. I think its an interesting concept if you were interested in ripping some of your DVDs to a hard drive and then played them back from there. Otherwise the Aple Express should do the trick, I listen to Soma.fm on iTunes all the time.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

mgriffin

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2009, 04:23:54 PM »
A pretty good demonstration of the Plex Media Center application for Mac:

[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

jkn

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2009, 06:39:51 AM »
Still pondering, but I really like the Mac Mini idea and will likely go that route. 

If I was smart - I'd just buy and Airport Express and stream from the iMac in my studio... ;-)   
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

zzzone.net

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Re: Getting "radio" in the living room... Blu-ray/Pandora? Something similar?
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2009, 05:41:00 AM »
Squeezebox is the framework of my home music server.

http://www.logitechsqueezebox.com/

I have an energy efficient Atom-based desktop in a closet upstairs, hardwired by Ethernet to my home network via my router.   Connected to it is a single "green" 2TB external hard drive with about 1.8 TB of FLAC and MP3 files (72,000+).  The Squeezebox software is installed which indexes and streams the music.   Squeezebox will also serve up any internet radio stream including Live365, Pandora, last.fm, BBC, NPR, etc.

On the player side of things, I have a Boom by my bed, a Radio by the guest bed, a Duet in the living room attached to the main stereo, and another Boom in my office.  Each player is connected to my home wi-fi network and each has a remote control (even the Radio can be controlled by the Duet remote control).  In fact the entire system can be controlled from the Duet's remote control from anywhere in the house.  I have mentioned before that a home music server has revolutionized the experience of music for me, releasing me from having to change CDs, and allowing me to have music on at all times.  This last aspect is hard to appreciate until it happens: it's incredible.

Squeezebox is just about to release the Touch which will have a bright touchscreen and a higher fidelity chip, likely it will replace the Duet's receiver.

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-930-000074-Squeezebox-Touch/dp/B002LARRDA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1260621535&sr=8-1

Each Squeezebox player can play something different or you can sync them up.  You can also control the whole shebang from any computer that connects to your home wireless or wired network.

Sonos has a similar system that is very sleek and a bit easier to set up but it's about twice as expensive and limited to 65,000 files unless you install Windows Home Server.   If you like the Mac aesthetic, you will like Sonos.

http://www.sonos.com/

Other major players are getting into the home music server game, but Squeezebox and Sonos are more developed at this point.

http://www.hometheatermag.com/convergence/multiroom_magic_with_sonos/

The other options are mentioned at the end of this article.

I hope you guys have a musical and wonderful holiday.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2009, 06:47:07 AM by jimzzzak »