There’s an exploding market for home media centers. I can’t cover all the new equipment, but maybe this will help.
I have a huge digital music library on my computers, which I maintain scrupulously – all sorted into folders, with ID3 tags for artist and album and genre, all carefully groomed. But it was frustrating not to be able to play those songs on the home stereo.
I got the Turtle Beach Audiotron and set up wireless equipment to talk to it. (Drop me a note, I’ll tell you the details.) It plays songs from where they live on the computers. All navigation is done thru the LCD display on the front of the Audiotron. It’s a wonderful piece of equipment, and I use it constantly. It’s easy to choose the music to listen to, the sound is high quality, and there’s no confusing frills. There were a couple of minor stumbles during setup, and it’s a little clumsy to keep it up to date as my music library changes – but those are quibbles. I love my Audiotron.
Hewlett Packard is getting ready to roll out its Digital Media Receiver, which sounds very appealing on paper. It has wireless capability built in, and it displays photos and videos on your TV as well as playing mp3 files.
I passed on it because it doesn’t have a display on its front panel; instead, all navigation is done on a TV screen. I don’t want to turn on my TV to listen to a song. I found that to be a huge obstacle.
But more important – here’s a Washington Post columnist reporting that it doesn’t work very well. The TV display was difficult to use. Occasionally nothing would play; or a song played, but it skipped; or songs played at the wrong tempo. I’m glad I stayed away.