The kickbutt streamer of tomorrow

…or my definition, anyway.

I ask myself, if I could call one of these fine companies tomorrow morning or perhaps just after the weekend, and have them build a streamer perfectly fitting my needs – what would it look like? The streamer, that is. Well, here is a list of the features that really are ridiculously cool:

  • First of all it should be able to rip from CDs, store them in a lossless format, preferably Flac, replay them an stream them to other clients.
  • It must be able to use off-device storage, such as a NAS.
  • It must recognize uPNP devices on the network and itself be one.
  • Tracks and playlists should be manageable from a web browser.
  • Analogue input, like the Arcam or the Colorado vNet.
  • A nice sized display and not relying on a TV or computer monitor; not saying that it shouldn’t support one. The display equipped remotes like that of the Sonos are wonderful.
  • Digital output. The thought of putting a Benchmark or Bel Canto on the end of it is almost making me weep.

There are a couple of things, I haven’t seen yet. One thing that springs to mind, is realtime conversion. Consider this: You have a neat little MP3 player and you have a whopping music server, serving Flac right and left. See the problem? You want to go for a jog around the neighbourhood with the latest Brett Anderson recording from B&W Music Club soothing your ears, only the server persists on shoving Flac down the throat of your measly Zune. If you could connect your MP3 player to the server and have it save a playlist as downsampled MP3 to a USB device – there wouldn’t be a dry eye in our household.

I would like to see statistics. Which files were played when. I would like to see it scrobble to last.fm. I would like to see it stream from last.fm. I would like to see support for private streams – streams that require a user to log in.

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