Streaming audio player

When I started this list in 2008, it was short and populated by young companies.
Beside an early adaptors like Linn, no typical audio brand had a streamer.
Today a lot of audio brands do have one or more offerings.
Obvious streaming audio is becoming mainstream.

 

A streaming audio player is a device with a user interface allowing you to select music sources (servers), to browse their content and select songs to play.

The source could be internet radio stations or your own music collection on a server in your home network.

They are playback only. Maintaining your audio collection (ripping, tagging, etc.) is done on the PC.

 

In general they are quit as there are no moving parts inside like disk drives or cpu-coolers.

They rely on the (home) network to access the audio.
Some allow for local playback from a SD card or a USB thumb drive.

 

A manufacturer might decide to develop his own hardware/software solution.
Often this is based on Linux as this allows gluing all kind of existing modules together.
An alternative is a of the shelf solution like the Stream by Streamunlimited

 


To browse and play the content on a server, both player and server must talk the same protocol.

In general UPnP / DLNA are used. If not, you are locked into a proprietary protocol.

From 2012 on, a lot of models feature Airplay, a proprietary protocol  by Apple.
If you have a iPhone, iPad or any other iSomething, this is a great way to remotely control de media player.

Likewise today media players often come with an app for remote control for Android phones and tablets.

 

Check if the player supports gapless playback.
Nothing as annoying as some white space in a live album or in case of classical between two movements played as one.