|Originally posted by jaredhanson
I'm just wondering why you put such a high priority on no streaming software on the computer. If a device is mounting shares, it is streaming the data as it reads the share accross the network. Sure, this comes built into Windows and samba runs on Macs and UNIX, but it is still a "server" on the computer.
the server serves is the big difference. SMB, et al, are protocols which serve data on filesystems to devices which mount shares. The software doesn't care what the data is, and treats all data the same. It doesn't matter what operating system is running the server, or what version, and if I have media files spread out across a number of computers on my home network which I want to be able to access, I don't have to worry about having to install anything on all of those computers or having to keep them all up to date.
In fact, you can set up an AT to play files from shares on your computer without installing any new software on your PC. If you have a number of networked computers in your home, you can configure the AT to play music files located on any and all of them--just create protected shares using the software already provided with the operating system and give the AT a list of paths to those shares and the passwords required to access them, through its embedded web server.
In a recent thread, we were discussing the pros and cons of using networked-attached storage devices with an AT. No such discussion necessary with streaming-server based systems--they can't
use standalone networked-attached storage.
The main reason why proprietary streaming-PC-software-coupled devices bother me is that I am a software engineer, with 12 years experience writing embedded software in large-scale networking devices (primarily distributed management agents in optical switches, routers, etc--all behind me now, thank providence :)). I find the AT's no-software-installation-required approach admirably elegant. I hope that they manage to hold on to it, at least for music files. Reliably playing video files over a home network, particularly over wireless B links, might actually require a true media streaming protocol, which the standard file-sharing protocols are most definitely not
for an example of a media streaming protocol--a believe that one, RTSP, is used by Real). Support of DRM-protected music will probably also require some special server software--I still feel that this should be kept separate from requirements for playing open music files. A device might require a server co-located with the files for these purposes, but if you don't use any of that, you shouldn't need to run any server at all.