Networked Receiver (Onkyo NR708), Windows 8 and Streaming Music - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-21-2013, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings All,

I'm just starting to explore this whole home networking/streaming thing and I'm asking for some help from the experts.

I've set up a HomeGroup network (wired) with my computer and receiver and I'm able to stream my MP3s from my computer and play them thru the Onkyo receiver. The problem is the Onkyo interface. It's extremely klunky; it's painful to use to select music.

My dream option would be to be able to use my iphone (5) as the interface to select and play the MP3s stored on the Win 8 box.

I've explored some options such as using iPhone apps FileBrowser and FileExplorer but cannot get them to work; for some reason they don't let me log onto my computer.

Has anyone out there solved this problem or one similar?

Thanks,
Bill
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-21-2013, 09:42 AM
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I have been fighting the Onkyo//Home Network thing for 4 years. (FIrst with a now defunct 807, and now the 818). While the 818 is FAR better at network media than the 807 ever thought of being...it is still a bit of a pain to bounce around the menus, especially if you don't want a TV or Projector in the mix for the OSD.
O-Remote by a member here, rworne, is the least expensive option. Use it on your iPhone to navigate all menus, and then some. Far better than the Onkyo app.
Better yet, and will probably play everything you throw at it, is a network media player...WD, ROKU, Squeezebox, or the like. I am stubborn as hell, and have never broken down to purchase another device. My feeling is; for the money I plunked down for my receiver, I want it to work as advertised.
I am starting to play with WHS 2011, in a dedicated server, for that I have tried Serviio, and PLEX. Both have issues, and PLEX won't play all my lossless WMA encoded files , but it will play ripped movies, and I have decided to stick with it.
Good Luck!

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post #3 of 7 Old 09-21-2013, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billv1 View Post

I've set up a HomeGroup network (wired) with my computer and receiver and I'm able to stream my MP3s from my computer and play them thru the Onkyo receiver. The problem is the Onkyo interface. It's extremely klunky; it's painful to use to select music.

My dream option would be to be able to use my iphone (5) as the interface to select and play the MP3s stored on the Win 8 box.

I've explored some options such as using iPhone apps FileBrowser and FileExplorer but cannot get them to work; for some reason they don't let me log onto my computer.

Has anyone out there solved this problem or one similar?
First thing, your Onkyo does not support the playback of files DIRECTLY from shared network folders, so don't even bother with standard network file browser type software. The Onkyo supports UPnP/DLNA, which means it requires a UPnP/DLNA server to access the physical folders containing the files and provide it with the files indirectly, instead. The UPnP/DLNA server also automatically builds and maintains the music file category indexes, that the user sees as music category 'folders'. The server gets this category information from data embeded in the music file itself, usually known as tag data. MP3, AAC & FLAC are examples of music file types that have these tags.The better UPnP/DLNA servers allow you to configure these music categories and tag editor software exists to modify the tag data in your music files.

As you have not mentioned a UPnP/DLNA server, I'm assuming you are using the default Windows provided one, You can easily identify it, as it's (confusingly) given the exact same network name as the computer it's running on (which is why some people wrongly think they are directly accesing their files from networked shared folders when using it). It is not considered ideal for music files, since it does not support some file types & resolutions, is unreliable and is virtually unconfigurable. There are some good free UPnP/DLNA music servers that you could run on your computer instead, such as MinimServer, Foobar2000 with the foo_UPnP plugin and Serviio (which is an all media server, rather than just for music). Just install one and use the default configuration for now, making sure you've set it up with the folder(s) locatiing your music files (can be network shared folders for any device on the network, as well as the standard file system folders on the computer's own storage device(s)).

There are third party applications to use, if your Onkyo provided app and/or playback via remote control is not up to the task. Your Onkyo AVR is supposed to be able to support music playback using the UPnP/DLNA 'play to' feature (aka UPnP/DLNA rendering), which means you should be able to use ANY standard UPnP/DLNA controller (aka control point) application to select your music file from the UPnP/DLNA server and push them to your Onkyo for playback. These are available as apps for iOS (eg Kinsky, Plugplayer, etc) & Android (eg BubbleUPnP, Skifta, Kinsky, etc) devices as well as applications for computers (the foo_UPnP plugin for Foobar2000 comes with one, for example).
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-21-2013, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Kevin, thanks for the response.

One question if you don't mind. Regarding O-Remote, you say, "Use it on your iPhone to navigate all menus..." Does that mean the O-Remote app just provides iPhone access to the same (klunky) Onkyo menus? Or does it provide direct access to the MP3 files on the computer? or something else??

Have a great day,
Bill
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-21-2013, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Cebolla. Very informative post for this newb.

Yes, I had no clue about how the receiver was accessing the files; I assumed (based on the Onkyo interface) that the receiver was taking the mp3s off my computer and decoding and playing them. I think what you're saying is that the receiver is taking the MP3s off the UPnP/DLNA server, which is doing the decoding, and the UPnP/DLNA server is sending the music to the receiver, correct?

I am using the "Play to" feature in Windows (8) Explorer. And that works better than choosing the music files via the Onkyo interface. However, my computer is downstairs and my receiver w/ the good speakers is upstairs and I want to avoid having to run downstairs to select music files. Which is why I was looking for some kind of way to (possibly) access my Win8 box and music files using my iPhone.

Does replacing the UPnP/DLNA server embedded in Win8 (you suggested MinimServer for example) still require me to select the music files via the computer? That's my main goal right now...just easier access to the files.

Or should I be looking at the iOS apps you mentioned; eg Kinsky, etc?

Once again thanks.

Bill
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post #6 of 7 Old 09-21-2013, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billv1 View Post

Kevin, thanks for the response.

One question if you don't mind. Regarding O-Remote, you say, "Use it on your iPhone to navigate all menus..." Does that mean the O-Remote app just provides iPhone access to the same (klunky) Onkyo menus? Or does it provide direct access to the MP3 files on the computer? or something else??

Have a great day,
Bill

Same menus, easier to navigate....

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post #7 of 7 Old 09-22-2013, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billv1 View Post

Yes, I had no clue about how the receiver was accessing the files; I assumed (based on the Onkyo interface) that the receiver was taking the mp3s off my computer and decoding and playing them. I think what you're saying is that the receiver is taking the MP3s off the UPnP/DLNA server, which is doing the decoding, and the UPnP/DLNA server is sending the music to the receiver, correct?

I am using the "Play to" feature in Windows (8) Explorer. And that works better than choosing the music files via the Onkyo interface. However, my computer is downstairs and my receiver w/ the good speakers is upstairs and I want to avoid having to run downstairs to select music files. Which is why I was looking for some kind of way to (possibly) access my Win8 box and music files using my iPhone.

Does replacing the UPnP/DLNA server embedded in Win8 (you suggested MinimServer for example) still require me to select the music files via the computer? That's my main goal right now...just easier access to the files.
,
Or should I be looking at the iOS apps you mentioned; eg Kinsky, etc?
Bill, the Onkyo is decoding & playing the mp3 files as you first thought, but instead of taking them directly from the computer, it is taking them from the UPnP/DLNA server, which in turn is taking them from your computer's storage filing system. The main reason for UPnP/DLNA server acting as a sort of broker is so that it can provide you with an simpler & hopefully quicker way of finding the music tracks you require. It does this by providing the music category 'folder' structure that you can see from the Onkyo interface and any UPnP/DLNA control point application, rather than the 'flat' not necessarily musically organised computer filing system folder structure that the files are actually stored in. This allows for one particular music file track to be found in more than one music category 'folder', for example, which the same is not possible in Windows file folders, unless you physically have a copy of the same file in different folders!

The 'Play to' feature in Windows 8 explorer is actually Microsoft's own embedded UPnP/DLNA control point. You should still be able to use it or any other UPnP/DLNA control point application running on any device and not just on your computer (such as the iOS apps mentioned), to select the music files from any UPnP/DLNA server. Of course, this also means that an iOS UPnP/DLNA control point app such as Kinsky, Plugplayer, etc, should be able to access the existing embedded UPnP/DLNA server on your Windows machine and not just any proposed new one!

The point about using a UPnP/DLNA server other than the Windows embedded one is that it may improve your experience, especially when using the Onkyo's slow own interface & app. This is because a good UPnP/DLNA server can be more efficient (ie faster) and you can also make your own setup for displayed music category 'folders' to speed the selection process. Also, installing another UPnP/DLNA server on your computer, such as MinimServer, need not necessarily replace the existing one, but run along side it (the UPnP/DLNA spec allows this). Remember some UPnP/DLNA servers only handle music files, for example, and you may still need the existing one to handle video & images under UPnP/DLNA. So there's no need to investigate how to switch the Windows embedded one off (well at least not until you're happy with the any new one).
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