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Basement A/V: DLNA or Airplay?

December 14, 2011

A little rant against DLNA.

Turns out I sold my 5.1 receiver in a garage sale a couple of years ago — we weren’t using it, and the world (and I) had moved on to HDMI, which my receiver didn’t support.  So, I’m planning on buying a new receiver as part of my basement remodel. 

The big question is, how best to take advantage of my (digital) media library?  I definitely want to be able to stream music.  I can do this today using my Blu-ray player and my Windows PC (I’ve toyed with both Windows Media Player and the third-party Serviio DNLA server) but neither is a “complete” package in my mind — my Blu-ray can’t handle the vast majority of my video if served untranscoded from Media Player, and Serviio, while offering video (and audio) transcoding for maximum compatibility, doesn’t offer playlists — making my music library unmanageable.  On top of all that, I am having a hard time finding even a decent DLNA remote control for my iOS devices.  You’d think that if the A/V industry (other than Apple) were really behind DLNA, they could put a little effort in actually making it usable.

On the other side, I can purchase either an Airport Express or Apple TV ($99 each) and get audio or audio/video streaming, respectively.  I hate the idea of having an extra component to do what my other components can do (just not well) but I have to say that Apple’s “Remote” app is not only free but elegant.  I’m not a huge fan of iTunes, but with five iOS devices in my household it’s a fact of life.

Should I embrace iTunes and an Apple renderer (Airport Express or Apple TV) or should I save $99, avoid a little clutter,  and live with a subpar user experience?   Or add Airplay compatibility to my list of requirements in an A/V receiver?

For what it’s worth, I’d jump on the Apple TV, but in all likelihood I’ll get the internet streaming I’m likely to use (i.e., Netflix) from another component (move my  Blu-ray downstairs or buy a Playstation).  And I don’t plan on buying videos from iTunes (I’d buy/rent from Amazon or other sources as I have in the past).

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From → Audio/Visual

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