Best device/devices to stream music from a HD to surround sound receiver and read e-books?
August 1, 2012 10:24 PM   Subscribe

I need advice choosing electronic device/s to perform 2 different tasks (e-books and streaming music from an external HD to Surround sound receiver)

I have a large amount of e-books in PDF format (although I have Calibre and could convert) and an external hard drive with lots of music that I want to stream (on shuffle) through a surround sound receiver/TV.

Would an e-book reader and something like a sling box be best? or can I find a notebook/Ipad/Microsoft surface etc type device that could perform both functions?

I do not mind paying for quality but I do not need top end by any means.I prefer to directly connect to the receiver as opposed to wireless.
posted by plumberonkarst to Technology (7 answers total)
Are the books image reliant or just text?

Is the external hard drive hooked up to a computer (Mac/Windows/Linux?) that can/will be left on?
posted by ODiV at 11:20 PM on August 1, 2012

A smartphone might just satisfy your requirements as long as the screen size is alright for reading for you. There are a few different streaming options, Subsonic being among them.
posted by ODiV at 11:24 PM on August 1, 2012

Ack, sorry for posting three times in a row, but if you're set on not going wireless then couldn't you just plug the audio from the computer right into the receiver? If you have a network cable going over anyway and are reluctant to run audio cable then a Slingbox still seems like overkill, but it's an option. If the hard drive is plugged into a router or you don't want to run the software on the computer, then a media set top unit (like WD Live or Boxee) might be the better option, though I have no experience with them and initial Googling suggests that they're geared more towards video than audio.
posted by ODiV at 11:39 PM on August 1, 2012

If the hard drive is hooked up to a Mac or Windows computer running iTunes, you can use an AirPort Express to wirelessly stream music to your receiver.

If you get an iPad, you can take care of your e-reader app needs, as well as remotely control iTunes and what you play through your stereo, using the Remote app.

Note, too, that you can also stream music copied to your iPad directly to the Express, the same way that music can be streamed via iTunes running on a dedicated "jukebox" computer.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:52 PM on August 1, 2012

The external hard drive is a stand alone in a case-connect via USB.There is no computer currently connected to it-I usually just plug it in where ever I want to use the music.

The surround sound receiver and TV are not close to my computer otherwise I would connect it to the stereo.

In my attempts-Itunes does not handle 600 GB very well-perhaps i am doing something wrong?

The PDF's about 12 GB are all books with pictures EG war and history books - cook books-Project paperclip/MK Ultra-Musician or band biographies/Best sellers etc etc

Re Ipad- Do you have to buy a plan? I live in a VERY rural place (Algonquin South) so cell phone etc not needed
posted by plumberonkarst at 12:29 AM on August 3, 2012

No, you don't need a plan, unless you want the iPad to have network access away from home, like a cell phone. Otherwise, you could just get the wifi version.

I've been playing with Usher as a drop-in replacement for management and playback of music and movies through our iTunes 'jukebox'. Seems to scale pretty well, but I only have 65 GB of music.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:08 AM on August 4, 2012

Thank you Blazecock and ODiV-for taking the time.

I am going to get an Ipad 2 as I do not need anything "Caddilac" so to speak-it should be awesome for e-books.

I am going to try this for streaming from the external HD to the surround sound receiver-it has good reviews so hopefully that is my experience.

Asus HDP-R1 O!Play Digital Media Player

Plumberon -the- Canadian -shield -now
posted by plumberonkarst at 1:55 AM on August 5, 2012

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