I love to listen to music. Music allows me to escape from the day to day grind.
Most of my listening happens in my home office. Serious listening occurs in my home theater. Donna likes to listen to music in our bedroom and we’ll also turn on music in our family room. I’ve converted all our CD’s into digital format. About half the new music I purchase is on CD with the other half is digital downloads.
Having our music stored digitally allows me to stream it to anywhere in my house. I use MediaMonkey, which runs on my laptop, in my home office. In my theater, I stream using my PS3. In our bedroom and family room we use a device from Hauupauge called the Media MVP.
All of the music is stored on a computer in our basement. I installed Ethernet when our house was being built and all the devices above, along with the afore mentioned computer, are Ethernet connected. MediaMonkey sees the music files as a shared drive. PS3 streams via DLNA from software on the computer called PS3 Media Server. The Media MVP’s use software on the computer called SageTV. Simple huh
Digital music files can be stored in many formats and many levels of quality. I won’t go into details but you can find more information about digital music here. For the sake of this discussion, there are two types of digital audio. medium quality and high quality. For those in the know, that means lossy and lossless. and MP3 and FLAC ( or WMA loseless). My home office and theater stream high quality while my family room and bedroom stream medium quality. That’s because the technology I’m using supports those levels of quality. What this means is I need to store my music twice, in medium quality format and high quality format.
The computer where the files are stored is an old emachines computer with both internal disks and USB disks. It runs Windows XP. The computer is big, noisy and consumes a lot of power. It also needs attention as it’s Windows and needs security patches, fixes, updates etc. Recently I’ve become aware of something new in computer technology, called plug computing. I won’t go into the details of that either as the link provided will tell you more then you wanted to know. One of the big draws is both the simplicity of the implementation and very lower power consumption of the devices, ~5 watts, which is practically nothing and many times less then my current computer. While doing research I’ve uncovered two main players in the plug computing market. Pogoplug and Tonido. The have very similar functions and are based on the exact same hardware technology so my decision came down to a combination of cost and features.
Turns out that cost isn’t that much of a difference. The Pogoplug costs $129 while the Tonido costs $99. However, if I order the Tonido while they are currently out stock is $89. Both devices use USB hard drives as storage. The Tonido has one USB port while the Pogoplug as four. Since I will need more then on USB port I would need to purchase a USB hub for the Tonido which means it will end up costing about as much as the Pogoplug. So my decision really comes down to features. The feature I really need is music streaming. Both can serve as shared drives, but only the Tonido (today) has DLNA. Pogoplug says the next version will support DLNA but so far they haven’t announced an availability date. That makes my decision easy, I am buying the Tonido.
In Part 2 I will talk about my experiences firing up the Tonido and getting streaming working. Tonido says they will ship in less then two weeks. We will see. Until next time then….