Media servers are a rapidly growing niche, and this is one of the earlier designs. Unfortunately, it requires a TV or computer monitor for display, and does not support streaming FLAC files. For those with higher-end aspirations, the Slimdevices Squeezebox (new version 3 just released), has become the darling of the audiophile community, in it's native design, or modded. Roku also offers a similar product (though not as active a user community), and there are a number of COMPLETE Media Server devices, including CD transports (Yamaha MusicCAST, Escient/Macintosh Media servers, others) at a much higher price point. IMHO, the Squeezebox is the best of the bunch currently, with an unbelievably supportive developer/user community (http://forums.slimdevices.com/). Other active discussions can be found at audiocircle.com or audioasylum.com
Thanks for the reply. I checked out the link and couldn't find the answers to these dumb questions. Maybe you can answer them. Can I find a simple to run device that would play the music on my hard drive at a reasonable price. I would want the same quality as playing the cd in my dvd player. Would it be best to buy a dedicated computer for this or tap off the one in my home office? I like jumping from artist to artist and changing cd's every 3 or 4 min is a pain.
Here's the unit that I've been comtemplating for...Xmas. A hard-disk music server, acting like a hi-fi equipment in the sense that you don't have to have your computer up and running to serve music streams, nor do you need to turn on your TV to navigate. Everything can be accomplished through a remote control. Give Olive Symphony a look.
The Olive device is impressive, but at a fairly high price point, and still lacks a bright large display visible from across the room. The Squeezebox has a very bright, fully configurable display, with simple but functional remote. It does require their Slimserver software running on a computer somewhere (not necessarily in your listening room). Some folks have configured Slimserver to run directly off a network storage device, and there are a couple of network attached storage devices that are now shipping *WITH* Slimserver pre-loaded! (sorry, don't have the link at work). Check out the Audiophile section of the Slimdevices Forums.
Here's a link to the Qnap TS-101, which comes as a 200, 300, 400, or 500 GB Networked Attached Storage device, which natively includes Slimserver software, thus allowing you to stream audio from a Squeezebox *without* your PC running!