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The Net Takeaway: Home MP3 Streaming


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Home MP3 Streaming · 04/01/2005 02:49 PM, Tech

I’ve been looking for a way to stream my MP3s from my home box to, well, wherever I am in the world. So, no, this post will not even begin to talk about home media appliances or other home networks. I basically want access to my tunes at work without having to schlep them there.

Thanks to the crackdown on anything which might begin to resemble sharing, its become harder and harder to find an MP3 “server” app these days.

I’ve got some typical requirements: I want it to run on my home windows XP box, no php, no database requirements, low impact, should use its own server (i.e., no IIS or apache/php required). I also worry about how many holes I have to punch in my firewall, so I would prefer custom port selection, though that’s not a requirement. I don’t want to put PHP or Apache (or IIS, for that matter) on my home box, though I’ve considered used xampp or other WAMP type installs is I get desperate enough.

Best New Offering

The best winner right now is MyOrb from Orb Networks, which basically does all of the above. It allows sharing of music, photos, movies, whatever. Free for a single user to access your single machine, but each additional user is $3.99 a month or $30 a year actually, as Ted Shelton of Orb Networks commented below, free for everyone. So, if you want an easy way to have your home media with you at any time, this is a great solution. Give it a shot.

Missing, of course, is remote control ala GoToMyPC or VNC or other solutions… but since VNC is open source and free (I recommmend TightVNC myself), run VNC on your machine along with Orb and you are all set (well, given that you know how to configure your firewall to let VNC play nicely).

Good to Try

There are certainly other options I’ve found as well. The leading runner up was AjooBlast which is an all in one client/server. Its pretty simple to run, and works pretty well. Not open source, windows only.

SlimServer also looks like a winnner, see below in Open Source section. Finally, Streamsicle (also in the Open Source section) looks worth checking out.

Open Source

Open Source solutions include:
* Streamsicle which looks as powerful as Ajooblast, if a bit harder to setup and use.
* Edna in python, haven’t tried it
* Jinzora is very popular, but requires that your media be on the same server that its running on, so if you rent hosting, that could be a problem (as is true for any php solution mentioned here). The screenshots look pretty good, but my host wouldn’t want hundreds of megs of MP3s on his systems.
* NetJuke is also pretty good, php, same issues (for me) as Jinzora. Note that both Jinzora and Netjuke can be embedded in various CMS systems, including Nukes and in some cases, Zope and Mambo.
* MP3-Server in coded in javascript and Perl
* Zina, see below…
* Okay, I said this post wasn’t about home appliances like Squeezebox, but those nice folks at Slim Devices have open sourced their SlimServer tool to provide streaming. Runs as a service under windows, looks pretty nice.

There are many “Shoutcast” type servers, but those aren’t the same thing. These stream a radio broadcast of mp3s, and don’t give playlist control. Lots of these out there, though, if that’s what you are looking for.

Others to look at:

The amazing AnalogX has lots of great things in every category, but here in the Network category, try SimpleServer and Shout.

OneWeb is an .ASP solution which is going well, free but donations accepted. ASP requires IIS, if you weren’t aware of that.

If you are willing to pay ($35), Andromeda has a nice ASP or PHP version which handles the usual. Zina is a well done attempt to duplicate it in open source, req. PHP and Apache.

The Exit66 jukebox (formerly BlueVade Jukebox) requires Java and is basically a control panel for your mp3 collection. Right now, its best just as a shared jukebox on speakers, but they are considering adding streaming, and if they do, could be a nice option. Their streaming would be like Icecast and other Shoutcast type streams.

* * *


  1. You may have missed our announcement — ORB is now FREE. So you can stream all of your music using Orb at zero cost. Best, Ted Shelton (Orb)
    Ted Shelton    Apr 1, 11:25 AM    #

  2. Ted, thanks for the note. Yes, it is free for A SINGLE USER (and since it was announced at $9.95 a month originally, that’s a rockin’ good deal). But according to your feature list, you still charge for additional users, so not everything is free.

    Still, a great deal. Oh, and your blog is a fun read as well.
    Michael Wexler    Apr 1, 12:30 PM    #

  3. Ok, scratch that. In talking with Ted, it appears that yep, no charges FOR ANYONE! Yeah!
    Michael Wexler    Apr 1, 02:46 PM    #

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