Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
mjburke
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:09 am

Newbie setup questions & wishlist

Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:50 am

Hello.

I’m a newbie, who has been reading about the Roku 1001 and now have enough info to be dangerous. Found this forum and was hoping someone might be willing to take a stab at my following setup questions:

I have computer with Windows XP Pro, which has my digital music files.

I (read? assume?) the Roku could be connected to the computer wirelessly and, therefore, be located in any area of the house so long as still in wireless range of the computer – but I understand that to use the Roku to play/listen to my digital files over my stereo speakers, the Roku would have to be connected to the stereo receiver which in turn is connected (by wires) to speakers. Do I have that right?

If so, and assuming my stereo receiver is in the living room, what if I wanted to be in the kitchen and listen to my digital music on (to be purchased) speakers in the kitchen using my Roku and Roku’s remote control. Could it be done? What type of stereo receiver and/or speakers would I need? Would I need more than one stereo receiver? i.e., stereo receiver in both living room and kitchen? More than one Roku 1001? Do wireless speakers exist that would work with the Roku 1001 such that I could carry the Roku 1001 to any room of the house that had wireless speakers - and it would work in that room?

Thoughts/comments welcome. Thank you.
mjburke
Linksys wrt54gx2 Soundbridge 1001 iTunes 6.0.2.23 Windows XP Pro w/sp2
 
mr rusty
Posts: 114
Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 6:09 am
Location: chorley, lancashire UK

Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:06 pm

Hi

yes, you are fairly close in your assumptions. The whole thing starts with your music library that can be on your PC/Mac in just about any format. Watch out for any DRM'd music though as this may not play.

Your PC/Mac has to be connected to a network for Roku to work. This means that you must have a router capable of dishing out dynamic IP addresses (you can use a router with fixed IP addresses but this is not the easy route) If you don't already have a router you will need to get one - the PC/Mac on its own won't connect wirelessly. Don't buy unknown brands. There can be a few wrinkles with routers and if you stick to the ones that are tried and tested by others here you won't go wrong. I use a 3com. Other common brands include linksys and netgear.

You then need a bit of software on your PC to "serve" the music. This could be iTunes up to v6 for Roku branded units. 9Not at present iT7 though) iTunes doesn't work directly at all with UK Pinnacle branded units. Many people use the firefly server which integrates very closely with iTunes 6 and 7 and detects the music library and playlists and serves them to the network. If you are already an iTunes user then Firefly is the way to go (IMHO the best way to go anyway) Other servers include Windows media player 10 +WMC or WMP 11, slimserver, twonky. Many folks use WMP no problem. Personally I found it problematic and never bothered to work out why cos iTunes/Firefly works well for me.

Your Roku connects to your network wirelessly using the 802.11b protocol so make sure your router is set to both 802.11b and 802.11g, not g only. There are a few wrinkles with firewalls you may encounter but this board will usually sort you out.

Once you have your Roku connected to your network and receiving your music, it has to play it. The roku has standard audio outputs - both analogue and digital that can be connected to any line level input on any audio device. This includes any sound system with an aux/line in, powered
speakers, the "red/white" connecters on your TV/DVD/Video aux-inputs, or infact the transmitter to some of the wireless speakers you can buy. There are several wireless devices that are designed to just transfer an audio/video signal from one place to another. I think in the long run, if you want music in more than one place, I would buy more than one Roku rather than trying to re-transmit the audio output wirelessly. The only downside to that set-up is that I believe that 2 Roku's won't necessarily play in sync with each other due to the dynamic buffereing taking place over the network.

Options on the set-up include using a wired network connection between router and Roku - very stable, but you have the cable, and using things like plug-in network adapters that plug in to your electrical circuits, although these seem to be somewhat tricky to set-up.
 
mjburke
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:09 am

Is there a "How To Setup" manual for newbies?

Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:17 am

Thank you, Mr. Rusty, for the reply to my questions about initial setup and wishlist.

And some follow-up questions to whom it may concern:

Is there a place/website (post?) that I can go to that has some step-by-step setup instructions for a newbie who is getting dizzy trying to understand the process I need to follow to set everything up? I’m afraid I’ll just be taking up too much of everyone’s time/bandwith (I see I already double posted my first question – sorry, I meant to cancel it before it went out) for the bunches of questions I have.

For instance, where’s good place to learn the type of wireless router it appears I’ll need? I’ve read about the need for security when going wireless, is security a concern using a Roku (and a router?) to transmit music from my computer to the speakers? What about a wireless card instead of a router – can that work? Do I need both wireless card and router?

iTunes and Firefly. It appears many like Firefly, and I’m willing to try it but I don’t know exactly what it does, or if it would be right for my purposes. My plan is to transfer my vinyl albums to digital wav or mp3 files in my computer, and tag the files using a tagging method that would work best with a Roku (i.e. for searching, displaying info, etc).

And iTunes. Is iTunes needed in addition to Firefly? or only as an option? But why have both? ( I’ve read one does not want iTunes v. 7 as it currently doesn’t “play” well with the Roku Soundbridge - or with Firefly?). But if iTunes, v. 6, for instance, will do the needful for me, what would Firefly add? I’ve been to the Firefly homepage, but couldn’t find a “how to” manual, and don’t have enough knowledge to follow a lot of the info from the Firefly forum posts.

Anyway, if there’s a place I can read about this “stuff” (an “Idiots guide to setting up a Roku 1001”, for instance), I’d be happy to go there first before I continue to barrage the list with unending questions.

Thanks for listening,
mjburke

Linksys wrt54gx2 Soundbridge 1001 iTunes 6.0.2.23 Windows XP Pro w/sp2
 
mr rusty
Posts: 114
Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 6:09 am
Location: chorley, lancashire UK

Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:53 am

s there a place/website (post?) that I can go to that has some step-by-step setup instructions for a newbie who is getting dizzy trying to understand the process I need to follow to set everything up? I’m afraid I’ll just be taking up too much of everyone’s time/bandwith (I see I already double posted my first question – sorry, I meant to cancel it before it went out) for the bunches of questions I have.


Most things set-up out of the box. The forum is here for any problems.

For instance, where’s good place to learn the type of wireless router it appears I’ll need? I’ve read about the need for security when going wireless, is security a concern using a Roku (and a router?) to transmit music from my computer to the speakers? What about a wireless card instead of a router – can that work? Do I need both wireless card and router?


You are obviously a newbie to networks as well! Basically, you get a wireless router and this becomes the "hub" of your network. It may also connect to your broadband as a broadband/cable modem if you buy a combined unit. For music serving purposes the router should be connected to the PC via cable. Your PC will require a network port. If it is reasonably recent there should be one, if not you will need a network card for the PC- very cheap. If you wanted to make this link wireless, then the PC would need a wireless card instead. This is not recommended for this setup where the Roku will also be connected wirelessly. The router is your "host" and allocates IP addresses dynamically. For example, the router itself might be 192.168.1.1 When you plug in a PC it might become 192.168.1.2 and when you connect the Roku it might be 192.168.1.3 You don't need to worry too much about this as it should happen automatically, but it is good to know how it works. Roku works with WEP security, which unless you are obsessive is probably good enough. You enter a WEP key into every device on the network and unless you know the code, you can't get in. In theory WEP can be broken fairly easily by someone with the means, knowledge and time to monitor your network. If you have things on your PC you consider hgigh security then there are ways around the problem of Roku being WEP only. At the moment WPA security, which is better, cannot be used directly with Roku, but this may change in the future.

iTunes and Firefly. It appears many like Firefly, and I’m willing to try it but I don’t know exactly what it does, or if it would be right for my purposes. My plan is to transfer my vinyl albums to digital wav or mp3 files in my computer, and tag the files using a tagging method that would work best with a Roku (i.e. for searching, displaying info, etc).

And iTunes. Is iTunes needed in addition to Firefly? or only as an option? But why have both? ( I’ve read one does not want iTunes v. 7 as it currently doesn’t “play” well with the Roku Soundbridge - or with Firefly?). But if iTunes, v. 6, for instance, will do the needful for me, what would Firefly add? I’ve been to the Firefly homepage, but couldn’t find a “how to” manual, and don’t have enough knowledge to follow a lot of the info from the Firefly forum posts.


iTunes is a music manager amongst other things. Even without an ipod, it is quite a good way of organising your music library. Within iTunes 6 and 7 there is an option to "share my music". At the moment this feature works with Roku for iT6 but not iT7. What Firefly does, in effect, is replace this little bit of iTunes with a different server. So yes, you need both. iT to manage the music and FF to serve it. Download iTunes if you haven't already and then just fdollow the Firefly instructions to install first "bonjour" which is an apple service and then FF. It really should install just using default settings. Any probs just ask here. You could just use iT 6 without FF, but I don't think you can any longer get this older version directly from the apple website.

Anyway, if there’s a place I can read about this “stuff” (an “Idiots guide to setting up a Roku 1001”, for instance), I’d be happy to go there first before I continue to barrage the list with unending questions.


Although the process of setting up a network and configuring Roku might seem daunting, it is really pretty straight forward. I suggest that you take advice in your store about what router you want for your home set-up. Just stick with the big names. Get your roku and follow the instructions. There is a strong possibility it will all work first time. The reason there isn't a definitive "idiots guide" is that there are a few wrinkles that can crop up and everybody's set-up is slightly different. In theory the process is RTM and follow the instructions, and then ask about any specific problems as/if/when they occur

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