Home audio streaming leads to last iTunes Purchase?

One "problem" I'd like to find a solution for in the next year is that of streaming my digital audio to any and every room in the house.  Ideally I would be able to have every speaker playing off of the same playlist at the same time (and or) have each station playing it's own list.  "What does this have to do with iTunes?" you might ask. 

Well, just about every solution I can find seems to support wma (including DRM'd files), but only the Apple "airport express" solution supports DRM'd AAC files.  Unfortunately the airport has a crippling limitation for my scenario because it only allows one airport express to be actively streaming music at any one time and it has absolutely no support for any type of WMA file. When it comes to the portable players Apple may have the edge, but there is a clear advantage in the hardware selection when it comes to home devices if you are purchasing from a WMA store. 

Players that support WMA (DRM) Home Streaming

Roku Soundbridge & PhotoBridge

Xbox360 (I could wait until the 22nd of November)


Omnifi Digital Media Streamer

Netgear Wireless Digital Music Player

Players that support AAC (DRM) Home Streaming

Airport Express

Players that don't support any DRM...Likely out of the running but...


Creative Wireless Music   

If anyone has any experience/opinions on any of these options I'd love to hear it. I'd also be interested in hearing about any unique or custom solutions to the home audio sharing problem.  Of course I could always go old school and run wires for speakers all over the house.  🙂

Comments (10)

  1. Joku says:

    Well get something that does what you like and supports wav/flac or mp3, then build your own program that transforms the audio either for wav/flac streaming or very high bitrate mp3 streaming (to keep atleast some quality).

    If you are streaming the music in your house, why it has to be DRM’d while "on the air"? If you want to keep your neighbours from sniffing your music from the air (how likely scenario is that??) then maybe one of those products uses TLS/WPA or whatever to encrypt the wireless traffic.

  2. Jes says:

    I didn’t see the Squeezebox2 (www.slimdevices.com) on your list; I bought one a couple of months ago, and I really like it. It just works.

    Although it doesn’t support files with DRM (sigh), I just reencode them. If you’re really fussy, you can reencode them to FLAC so that you don’t introduce another round of encoding loss.

    I don’t buy that much music from online services (I still buy those shiny round things most of the time), so it’s not a big deal for me. If your online-purchased collection is larger, it might be a good afternoon coding project.

  3. MSDNArchive says:

    Yup, i guess my list is not very complete if you count all the non-DRM file supporting DAPs out there. I guess I’ll have to re-encode some of my files to get an ideal solution, but I don’t think the record company people like that solution.

  4. Jake says:

    Keep in mind that it’s actually pretty difficult to keep things perfectly in sync– and when they’re not it’s easy to tell. Sonos apparently does this pretty well, but is really expensive. We’ve tried the roll-your-own solution, but network latency, the speed at which individual workstations decoded the mp3 stream, buffering time, etc. all made the project difficult. I wish someone could find a solution for this in time for my christmas party!

  5. Sam says:

    Are you saying only one Airport Express can only transmit or receive one-at-a-time? This directly impacts my plans for world wifi audio domination…

  6. MSDNArchive says:

    Sam: It may be that you can send seperate audio to different Airport express devices, but you can’t send the same audio to all of the devices at once… that’s what I’ve found frustrating.

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