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I Hate Linux

Sunday, August 02, 2009

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?

Sonos will sell you a device for ~$350. For ~$250, Linksys would love to talk to you.

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.

Brilliant, eh?

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5 Comments:

  • Has anyone come up with a solution for this yet? I too am thrilled with Windows 7, but I find the lack of affordable DLNA compliant media renderers frustrating. I want to be able to play music off of a DLNS compliant NAS, sending it to several synchronized devices throughout my home. Using Airports Express for this would be ideal....if they were just DLNA compliant.

    By Blogger LymanSS, at 2:51 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:58 AM  

  • http://www.cidero.com/index.html

    I think this might do it

    gandalf

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:18 AM  

  • Well... Illustrate has written the wrappers for Airport Express exist now... works great.

    http://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php?t=19645

    For some strange reason they are not supporting it... but works well for me on Win XP.

    Streaming media from NetGear ReadyNAS DNLA server to Airport Express without Airfoil! I'm using dbpoweramp's new DNLA control point - "Asset Control" http://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php?t=20897. Still a beta product - but works well (UI still needs work).

    Also I note my Roku Soundbridge M1001 shows up as a DNLA renderer in Asset Control...so I think in the last software upgrade before they canned the product the added DNLA compatibility which is cool.

    You can also control Soundbridge using this software http://sbcommander.sourceforge.net/ - which adds ability to use it as an alarm clock (functionality which isn't available from the IR remote control)

    Not as seamless as you'd want it ... but I think your brilliant idea is coming to be reality!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:14 PM  

  • Oh...of course... if you just want to stream any sound source to airport express Rogue Amoeba have the airport express for Mac and Windows... which also works great. http://www.rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:15 PM  

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