DIY streaming media thingy

Since moving house I have decided to get rid of my hi-fi. It’s a separates system. It’s old, ugly and takes up lots of space.

However, I would still like a way to play my music in the living room.

Having been bitten by the wireless bug I thought it might be nice to stream my music over the wireless network to a silent PC that sits under the TV.

Such things already exist, the Streamium SL50i is one.

It’s a pretty cool bit of kit, but has certain restrictions.

It only plays MP3s (I use Ogg Vorbis myself) and you need to install Windows software on the PC that holds the audio files (I use linux myself).

Saying that, it’s a lovely looking bit of kit.

I have looked around and have not found one that will play Ogg files and talk to a Linux box.

My plan then, is to build my own.

I figure I will need the following:

  • A small silent PC.

  • An LCD front panel.

  • A remote control sensor.

  • A stripped down Linux distro that can run straight from memory (it will not have a hard drive).

  • Enough RAM for the above.

  • Some flash memory to store the OS.

  • A wireless network card.

  • A sound card with phono (or even digital!) out.

  • Software to control it all.

    Obviously it won’t look as slick as the Streamium, but one of the requirements is that it must not look out of place amongst the other A/V equipment (well, not completely out of place anyway).

    My plan will be to build the software first, then buy and build the box last. That way if I do hit a brick wall and can the project I won’t have wasted too much money.

    Of course, I will need to buy an LCD panel and some remote control gubbins, but that’s pretty cheap stuff.

    One of the benefits of going down this route is that I will have a fully functional Linux box sat under my TV, so I can always add more features as time goes on.

    Ideas are:

  • TV out for viewing more info on the music currently playing.

  • Web interface as an alternative to the remote control.

  • TV in to stream TV signal to other computers in the house (network bandwidth permitting).

  • Tivo-like functionality.

  • DVD Recorder for recording the TV (case size permitting).

    I’m sure more ideas will come as I build it.

    Development language wise I’m undecided, I normally use Java for all my home projects, but this might be an opportunity to dabble in something new. I’ll decide once I see what support there is for talking to LCD panels and remote control systems I expect.

    I will also need to come up with a name for it.

    I shall of course blog the development of this system.

  • 3 thoughts on “DIY streaming media thingy”

    1. 1, MythTV looks very polished, mine is never gonna look that good.
      I think initially I will concentrate on the audio side. If I do decide to do video also I may look at MythTV.

      2, My separates system was almost never being used and now I have moved I don’t even see the point in unpacking it all.
      I will at some point need an amp and speakers though, but doubt whether I will use the current stuff (Mission Cyrus 2 and PSX, Atacama SE24s and some small Mission speakers whose model number escapes me).

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