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What is a "Music Server"?
SoundBridge is a networked music player. That is, it doesn't store any music, but plays music files that you have stored on a computer connected to your home network. (It can also play Internet radio without connecting to your computer, using a direct connection to the Internet.) To play the music files stored on your computer, SoundBridge needs to receive data from software installed on your computer that "serves" the music. This "music server" is responsible for streaming the music to the SoundBridge, for sending the list of music that you have available to the SoundBridge (when asked), and for performing searches of the music library at SoundBridge's Request.

You probably already have a "music server" but perhaps didn't realize it. For example, iTunes acts as a music server when it shares music to another iTunes user on the network. Microsoft recently released its own music server called "Windows Media Connect", which runs in the background of your computer's desktop.

There is no standard for Music Servers; they are almost all different. One of the benefits of SoundBridge is that it supports all of the common servers with an easy-to-use interface.

The most common music servers are iTunes, Windows Media Connect, and Rhapsody. But there are others.

If you want to use a PlaysForSure music service, you must use Windows Media Connect. If you want to play AAC files, you must use iTunes. If you want to use the Rhapsody music service, you must use the Rhapsody music server.

Note: For playing back Internet radio using SoundBridge's "Radio Favorites" library, you don't need a music server, because SoundBridge receives the radio stream directly from the Internet. (See the "Internet Radio" chapter of the SoundBridge User Guide for more information.)

SoundBridge has Two UI Modes
Each music server has different capabilities. To experience the full SoundBridge user interface, which includes searching and robust browse modes, you must use iTunes or Windows Media Connect. Other servers don't have the functionality needed to deliver the full SoundBridge feature set. For example, you won't be able to search, and the browse modes will vary by server.


Comparison of SoundBridge-Compatible Music Servers
  Windows Media Connect iTunes Rhapsody Roku's Firefly Media Server
Ideal for: Users who play WMA on Windows XP or iTunes users who do not use AAC. Roku-branded SoundBridge users who play AAC and iTunes on PC or Mac computers Users who subscribe to the Rhapsody service iTunes users who own a Pinnacle or other non-Roku-branded SoundBridge.
Description: Microsoft's new music server - includes WMA DRM 10 support Jukebox, music service and music server. Internet radio tuner is compatible with SoundBridge Server for Rhapsody music service subscribers This server offers iTunes integration for users of the Pinnacle SoundBridge as well as all other SoundBridge products.
Platform: Windows® XP with SP2 Windows / Mac OSX Windows 98 or later Windows, Mac OSX,Linux
Formats supported: WMA (incl. Lossless), DRM WMA, MP3, WAV AAC, MP3, WAV, AIFF (No DRM AAC) Rhapsody-encoded files only WMA, MP3, AAC, FLAC, Ogg-Vorbis, Apple Lossless
Playlist playback on SoundBridge: Playlists created in Windows Media Player 10, other jukebox software Playlists and smart playlists created in iTunes Rhapsody Playlists iTunes Playlists (including Smart Playlists) as well as M3U files.
Software running while using SoundBridge: Windows Media Connect (runs in background as a service) iTunes needs to be running with music sharing option enabled Rhapsody Client program needs to be running Firefly server only (runs as background service)
Browse/search features: Full-featured, browse, keyword search. Windows Media Player playlists supported in SoundBridge Full-featured, browse, keyword search. iTunes playlists and smart playlists supported in SoundBridge Browse, but not keyword search. Browsing and Searching.
Song Info: Full song info Full song info Full song info (except duration) Full song info
Internet Radio features: SoundBridge's built-in "Radio Favorites" library including customizable station presets Built-in Internet radio tuner; drag and drop stations into iTunes playlist, then play from SoundBridge, or add to "Radio Favorites" library. Supports Rhapsody radio stations TBD
Music Services Supported: Napster, Musicmatch, MusicNow, FYE, WalMart, MSN Music None Rhapsody None
Notes: Works with any music jukebox, but optimized for Windows Media Player v.10. Does not include support for playing Internet Radio streams in SoundBridge. iTunes includes proprietary music server licensed by Roku for use with Roku-branded products only.   Please see this page for the latest information regarding the Roku Music Server.
Download at: Microsoft www.itunes.com www.rhapsody.com Firefly


  On2Share Twonkyvision Musicmatch Jukebox 10.0
Ideal for: Users of Windows Media Player or WinAmp Users of Windows or any other supported devices. Users who play WMA who are not running Windows XP
Description: UPnP music server; Windows Meida Player plugin UPnP music server; Supports Internet radio. Parses Winamp and iTunes library files. Also available for a variety of Network-Attached Storage (NAS) devices. Jukebox, music service and UPnP music server. (Can also be used with Windows Media Connect music server for a fuller feature set.)
Platform: Windows® 98 SE, Me, NT, XP, 2000 (requires .NET framework version 1.1) Windows® 98, 2000, Me, XP, Linux, Mac OSX , others Windows® 98 SE, Me, XP, 2000 (SP3 or above)
Formats supported: WMA, MP3, WAV (supports Windows Media Player and WinAmp files) WMA, MP3, WAV. (Ogg Vorbis and FLAC available via the server's Transcoding mechanism) WMA, MP3, WAV (No DRM WMA)
Playlist playback on SoundBridge: Playlists created in Windows Media Player or Winamp (M3U, WPL) Playlists from WinAmp and iTunes as well as M3U and PLS No playlist support (unless using Windows Media Connect as music server)
Software running while using SoundBridge: On2Share Media Server only. (Windows Media Player for broadcast features) Twonkyvision Server only. Musicmatch server (runs as a background process)
Browse/search features: Browse, bot no keyword search. Browsing and Searching. Browse, but no keyword search. Musicmatch playlists not supported in SoundBridge
Song Info: Full song info Full song info Song title only; no artist, album or song duration
Internet Radio features: SoundBridge's built-in "Radio Favorites" library including customizable station presets. Supports Internet radio. Allows access to both ShoutCast and vTuner directories. SoundBridge's built-in "Radio Favorites" library including customizable station presets.
Music Services Supported: None None None
Notes: UPnP AV server allows sharing of music files from Windows Media Player, WinAmp, or directly from a folder. Broadcast feature allows you to select the music to play on the SoundBridge directly from the computer.   Built-in UPnP AV server limits the search and display features available in SoundBridge. Use Windows Media Connect with Musicmatch to take advantage of SoundBridge's full feature set. Musicmatch OnDemand is not supported.
Download at: On2Share www.twonkyvision.com www.musicmatch.com


Notes:
  • The Slimserver music server is compatible with SoundBridge but is not supported by Roku. The latest version of SlimServer that is currently supported is version 5.4.0.
  • For Linux users and users of the Linksys NSLU2 to host their music files, there are a couple of servers which are reported to work on this device: mt-daap (http://www.pedde.com/mt-daapd/) and TwonkyVision (http://www.twonkyvision.com).