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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, looking for some advice on media streamers. The market for these boxes seems to be growing every day, and there are so many options out there now I want to make sure I'm looking at the right ones without missing any important considerations for future use. (I'm not looking for others to do my research for me, just to point me in the right direction and make sure I'm not missing anything important... that would be quite typical of me!!!)


OK, here we go, sorry for the length of the post:

AUDIO: Without a doubt audio is my main concern; I need to get audio content from my HD to my Arcam AVP300 without any downsampling or lossy compression. The signal path would be digital, unless the streamer includes a DAC that is better than that of the Arcam (which I do not anticipate to be the case). An external DAC may be a future consideration.

HIGH-RES AUDIO: The device must be able to natively handle high-res files (Apple Lossless or FLAC, I don't really care which); most of my collection is 16/44, but I do have an ever-growing roster of higher-res music and I plan to focus on more high-res moving forward.


I'm currently storing all of my 2-ch. music in Apple Lossless format on a 1TB USB drive connected to my Mac and streaming using iTunes and an Airport Express. I would prefer to leave the USB drive connected to the Mac for backup purposes (and also to use the Airport Express to stream out to my brewery/workshop after I get the streamer for the main system), but I would consider connecting the HD directly to the streamer if necessary or advantageous.

MULTICHANNEL AUDIO: It would be very convenient if the device could read DVD-A .iso files or Audio_TS/Video_TS folders from the HD as I'd really like to play Quad and 5.1 music from the HD rather than from DVDs. My small collection of multichannel music is stored as .iso files on the same harddrive for backup purposes, but I don't currently stream any of it as it doesn't seem to work with iTunes/Airport Express no matter what format I convert to.

VIDEO: I would like HD video streaming as well, but I'm guessing more for internet-sourced streaming than local content. I really don't have any experience with video streaming (Netflix, etc.) so I'm not sure what options I should be looking for, or which features/protocols I want to make sure are included in anything I buy. This is where I'm most out of my league... I suspect the more I experience with HD video streaming the more I'm going to love it, but right now I simply just don't know much about it.

CONNECTIONS: The device would have to have digital audio out (obviously), and both component and HDMI video out -- my current HDTV is an older CRT-based Samsung, which looks fantastic but doesn't have HDMI or DVI. I have no plans to upgrade the HDTV anytime soon so any streamer that doesn't have a component output is probably not going to make the cut.

NETWORK: I already have CAT5 running to the system for my OPPO BDP-83 player, so I can wire the streamer rather than using wireless.

BUDGET: Ahhh, the money. I haven't firmly decide on this yet, but I doubt I'd be looking at boxes over $400 or so, and I'm really hoping to find something that works for me in the sub-$200 range.


I think about sums it up (again, sorry for the long post)... I'd love some pointers for boxes to research, and also any guidance as to features or protocols or whathaveyou that I'm not anticipating (but I should).


Thanks in advance!

Brian
 

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If you plan on buying any devices with a Sigma Designs 8642/43 based chip keep in mind they will be releasing their newest chip to manufacturers in Q1-2011.


Some companies such as HDI with their Dune players will be offering customers an upgrade path when the new chip releases.


Just a heads up, good luck on your journey!
 

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The Dune line is your best bet. I run hi-def audio bitstreamed out through my HDMI to a processor with a very high quality dac. I have converted my DVD-Audio disks from mlp to .wav files that output at either 96khz 24 bit or 192khz 24 bit and all channels are supported. I have no need to keep the video portion of these disks, so I chose to lose my .iso functionality so that I can stream at the highest res audio.


Video streaming is great on the Dunes also. The only functionality you will lose from your oppo is SACD (DSD). I do have several of those disks around, so will keep my physical disk player for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply...

Quote:
The Dune line is your best bet.

The Dune HD Lite is one that I want to look more into... it seems to cover all of my audio and connectivity needs, my only concern is that it wouldn't provide any access to Internet video services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.). I don't think that's a deal-breaker to me, but it is a consideration.



Quote:
I run hi-def audio bitstreamed out through my HDMI to a processor with a very high quality dac.

Is there an advantage to running audio via HDMI vs. optical?




Quote:
Video streaming is great on the Dunes also. The only functionality you will lose from your oppo is SACD (DSD). I do have several of those disks around, so will keep my physical disk player for a while.

I definitely have no plans to get rid of the Oppo; I don't plan to rip any of my video discs (DVD or BluRay), plus SACD. And I doubt I'll end up ripping my entire CD collection, I have far too many... and quite a few that I don't listen to as regularly as my "core" collection.
 

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I am also trying to wade through the myriad of options available and am having a hard time figuring out which one is best for streaming content (both SD and HD) from my PC. Internet apps or channels would be a bonus, but not necessary. I need a box that will work as expected as my family members won't accept something that is flaky and doesn't work as one would expect.


I had purchased a Popbox, but canceled the order due to all the negative reviews I found.


Any help would be appreciated. DVD streaming, Blu-Ray streaming, and audio streaming are my primary concern. Quality is a must. I am copying all my DVD's and Blu-Ray (in the future) into TS folders with no compression.
 

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well I keep hearing that the DUNE is the supreme player.

What I don't understand is when I see someone in here that says I have a dune and I just got an X....X IS BETTER


if dune is the best why are they saying things like this?

Does the Dune have big problems we just don't know about or poor support or ???
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewDrinkRepeat
Thanks for the reply...




The Dune HD Lite is one that I want to look more into... it seems to cover all of my audio and connectivity needs, my only concern is that it wouldn't provide any access to Internet video services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.). I don't think that's a deal-breaker to me, but it is a consideration.






Is there an advantage to running audio via HDMI vs. optical?







I definitely have no plans to get rid of the Oppo; I don't plan to rip any of my video discs (DVD or BluRay), plus SACD. And I doubt I'll end up ripping my entire CD collection, I have far too many... and quite a few that I don't listen to as regularly as my "core" collection.
you can use playon on a pc and your dune will surf the sites that you are talking about through the play on software. HDMI is better than spdif as it supports higher bandwidth. SPDIF will not support multi-channel 24bit 96khz (dvd audio or hi-def audio) but HDMI does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez /forum/post/19568230


you can use playon on a pc and your dune will surf the sites that you are talking about through the play on software.

Is there a similar product for the Mac? (Speaking of which, another thing I'm considering is picking up a Mac Mini and setting up a full media center instead of just adding a streamer -- a much more expensive option for sure, but a more flexible one as well. I'm just not sure I want to spend that much right now... my existing Mac is too old to use this way, but for everything else it's fine and doesn't need upgrading yet.)


Quote:
HDMI is better than spdif as it supports higher bandwidth. SPDIF will not support multi-channel 24bit 96khz (dvd audio or hi-def audio) but HDMI does.

Ahhh, I didn't realize that. I have been able to play certain multichannel audio files via the Airport Express (which is connected via optical) but not others... still haven't figured out why. I can't check right now, but perhaps those files were 16/44 or 24/48...?


My Arcam does have HDMI inputs (not sure which version), it's only my TV that doesn't. So in a weird sort of reverse priority I could feed audio via HDMI, and leave my video as component (for now).


Quote:
I had purchased a Popbox, but canceled the order due to all the negative reviews I found.

Reading about the Popbox was what got me thinking about streaming my music in the first place, I hadn't really thought about all of this until that got my gears turning (which in turn led to my firs purchase, a used Airport Express)... after seeing how the Popbox turned out I'm glad I've stayed far away!



Back to the Dune: it looks to me like the Lite isn't out yet, and I'm not sure my needs justify any of the other models. Plus the Dune line seems to focus on locally stored video...


The other device that always comes up when I filter features on iboum is the WDTV Live Plus, and I've read some things about the digital audio on the original model not being bit perfect which has me worried... anyone know if the newer models have resolved this issue?


I'd really like to consolidate audio and internet video streaming into one unit, but as I mentioned in my first post audio is definitely my primary concern. Whatever I purchase has to excel for my audio needs first and foremost. I actually love many things about the Airport Express (not the least of which is being able to use the Remote app on my iPhone to wirelessly control iTunes), the giant caveat being that it downsamples to 16/44 -- if I wasn't moving towards high-res audio this wouldn't be a concern.
 
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