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The WD player comes in two forms: the TV HD 1080P, and the less expensive TV HD Mini 1080i. The more expensive version is aimed at playing high-definition video from an attached hard-drive, and has HDMI and composite video plus stereo audio, the less expensive one no HDMI, and a choice of component video or composite video/stereo audio.
Either will suit your needs, Harnedy, but I'd suggest the less expensive Mini is really all you need. Both units come with a composite video/audio cable in the box: this connects to a mini-jack socket on the rear of the unit, and has red and white stereo audio out plugs, plus a yellow composite video plug, on the other end.
You can thus run the stereo audio to your existing amplifier, and the yellow one, perhaps using an extension cable if required, to your TV to give a display via which you can access the content on the USB drive plugged into the unit.
Hope that helps.
Audio Editor, Gramophone
That's really helpful Andrew thanks very much indeed.
Firstly, apologies for the time it's taken me to get back to thank everybody for the replies to my original query - they're much appreciated. I now realise that the best solution for me is not, in fact, the 'wireless' route, but simply the WD Media Player suggested by Macsporran and Andrew. This really would seem to offer everything I need, with a simple method of getting the various recordings I have stored on my external hard disc played through my main system. Thanks again!
There is a tangential query I have around file formats - I don't know whether it's more appropriate to a new thread, but I'm somewhat confused with the plethora of formats around and the differences between them all. Again, is there a simple (?) guide to these anywhere?
Firstly, on the file format issue, see the forum topic regarding the FLAC audiofile format.
The original enquiry has probably run to a conclusion but, here is my experience in case of interest:
The key issues seem to be:
The means of transporting the digital signal, and
Conversion of said digital signal to analogue to enable it to be conditioned and reproduced by the HiFi amp.
Many years ago I bought a Logitech Wireless music device. This is sadly no longer available but this link should provide the reference: http://www.logitech.com/en-us/439/5726?WT.z_sp=Image
This essentially provides replaces a cabled link by a bluetooth wireless connection from computer to HiFi.
The quality and robust nature of this device is impressive and my 55 year old ears can hear no difference in audio quality between the ripped audiofile and the CD original. The later Squeezebox devices commercialised by Logitech are hopefully designed to provide a further enhanced listening experience, in relation to the higher financial investment.
An alternative is to consider using an ethernet powerline link. These give excellent results with higher transmission speeds (good for video but not necessary for audio) and these do avoid the risk of signal loss when compared to wireless.
D/A signal conversion
Go for the best quality components available for a given budget.
Finally I think that one should avoid devices that lock one into specific audio formats.
Following further research I found this link to a 2006 document that makes interesting reading. http://www.ip-extreme.com/downloads/whitepaper_coolblue.pdf
Of the best hifi solution would be to locate the laptop next to the hifi and connect thm by a cable link.
Over a year ago, I started this thread and received much helpful advice. On Andrew Everard's recommendation, I used the WD HD mini for some time, but recently saw a Squeezebox Duet on sale for virtually half-price and so took the plunge.
It was easily the best audio move I've made for many many years - in my opinion it's a sensational piece of kit. For ease of use and set-up I can't imagine its being bettered. Using dBPoweramp to rip CDs to FLAC files (my knowledge of formats has expanded somewhat in the past year!) is a piece of cake and it has actually significantly changed the way I listen to music, both in terms of the sheer amount of music I'm now listening to and exploring those 'played only once' CDs which I'm sure we all have in our collections. The only (comparative) downside is the time it's going to take to rip a 2,000+ collection, but that's something I can easily live with.
All of this would have been of no use to me whatever without the audio quality being of a high enough standard, and I have to say that this, for me, is probably the most impressive aspect of the Squeezebox. The reproduction of CDs ripped to FLAC is superb, and in very many cases sounds better than the original CD - there is a definite increase in the 'airiness' and space on many recordings and the solidity of piano is extremely impressive indeed.
I also have a fairly large libarry of home recordings of opera and concerts which I've been unable to access for some time, and the Squeezebox seems to cope with any file format one throws at it.
The quality of reproduction on internet radio from the BBC 320kps feed (even, very surprisingly, on some stations with an apparently low-fi bit rate) is again something of an eye-opener.
I would not have bought the Squeezebox had it not been for Gramophone, both in the form of Andrew Everard's various articles on music storage and streaming and from information gleaned from the conributors to this forum, so I'd like to give a general thank you to all concerned.
If you have a laptop top with the latest generation n type wireless modem, there is a far less expensive method to streaming to your hifi system than Squeezebox.
I recently purchased a very nice Samsung Blue Ray DVD player for $114.95 from Target.
It has an optional wireless receiver you can purchase for approximately $30 from Target.
In one of the more recent Microsoft Windows Media Players there is a streaming capability you can use to stream the content from your laptop including the internet to other electrical digital appliances in your home.
What is less expensive still and provides excellent quality is if you have an HDMI output on your laptop. My laptop is a wonderful HP Pavilion DV7.
With one of the five 15-foot HDMI cables I bought for $1.99 a piece from Amazon, I recently had my own music festival through my Home Theater System.
With 20 gigs of music of all genres on my laptop, I now in inexpensive musical nirvana!
Using the Beats Audio sound tailoring software included with this laptop, I am able to make my Acoustic Research M5 and M3 speakers sing in any way on any source, including the digital copies of blue ray movies I stored on my harddrive.
Thank you for your kind words, JKH: lots more on linking computer to audio, and all kinds of other digital jiggery and – if you will – pokery, in our Listening Wirelessly section, with more reviews and features to be added when we have time.
EDIT: We had time – lots more reviews added.
The Sitecom has a analogue audio outputs, so no, you don't need a DAC.
Much appreciated Andrew, thanks.
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