Brendan’s Brilliant Idea #247225 – Do it yourself DLNA
While I was apparently one of three people in the world who liked Vista... I absolutely love Windows 7 and one of it’s killer features from where I sit is the Play To feature in Windows Media Player 12... which allows you (as an extreme) to request that one device in your home (PC, Xbox 360, other DLNA supporting media renderer) to play content that exists on a second device (say a Windows Home Server running TwonkeyMedia Server)... all while being controlled from a third (another PC, laptop or even cell phone).
So lets say you want to have a dedicated device in your living room, bedroom, office or other place where you want to stream audio to via this mechanism... your options are not cheap.
Building a standalone, barebones networked PC is one option. Spending $1200 on a premium receiver is another.
What about lower priced consumer level devices?
Both though are still too expensive… in fact my maximum price for such a device would be <$100... which shouldn’t be too difficult considering Apple has been selling their AirPort Express product for the last 5 years for just $99 and can often be had on eBay for under $50.
But it doesn’t support DLNA does it?
There’s the brilliant idea... why not make it?!?!
Rather than try to hack the firmware... why not write a wrapper service that speaks the (sadly) proprietary (but reverse engineered) Remote Audio Access Protocol (RAOP) to the device and pretends to be a DLNA Digital Media Player to the rest of the home and other devices.
No doubt the AirPort Express isn’t the only device that could be used by such a system.
Take older Roku devices which were controllable from either a front panel or from custom software running on the PC... a similar wrapper could be built for it utilizing the Roku Control Protocol (PDF warning).
Remember Linksys? They have a far less expensive network audio player (the WMB54G retails for ~$90 and requires custom software to control)... though as far as I can tell the way it is controlled is as yet unknown.
The AudioTron is another possible target.
So in the end... a need exists for a bit of software that pretends to be a DLNA media renderer to the controller/user... and passes along control requests via device specific add-ins to the various kinds of proprietary devices in the home. Simply run and configure this bridging service on a device like a Windows Home Server (where most of the media should already be) and you have an always available setup for streaming your music throughout the home and from any DLNA compatible device to far less expensive ones.
Labels: Brendan's Brilliant Idea