It just occurred to me that I had forgotten one of the major players in the field of digital media – Apple. Last year they canonballed their Apple TV into the arena and it really does deserve a mention.
The device is, as the name so subtly implies, primarily a video streamer. It can stream from internet services such as YouTube or movie rental services, as well as from an iTunes equipped computer. More interestingly, at least within this blog’s scope, is its audio support. While it doesn’t do Flac or Ogg-Vorbis, it does support Apple Lossless, which is just as good, if somewhat proprietary. In fact, B&W Music Club offer their recordings in Apple Lossless as well as Flac. Otherwise you will have to convert from other formats which can be excruciatingly tedious.
An obvious short coming, is that it requires an iTunes service to stream from. That means that it cannot stream from your average NAS disk, if any at all, but requires a computer be turned on somewhere. Making up for that it sports a 40GB or 160GB harddisk to hold tracks locally.
QNAP servers will stream as iTunes and therefore works fine as storage for the AppleTV