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Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2011-01-23, 15:55

AirPlay is as cool as it is expensive. The cheapest option appears to be to get either an AirPort Express or Apple TV (both $99) and attach it to your own speaker. Speakers with built-in AirPlay apparently start at $299. Ugh. My dream would be to have a little kitchen speaker, and a set of bigger living room speakers (and perhaps another for the bedroom? and… bathroom? endless possibilities…*).

But, the technology is no big secret, and there's been third-party streaming clients like Airfoil for quite a while.** So, how hard would it be to built a tiny little device that sits atop (or behind) a speaker? An AirPort Express without the base station functionality, if you will.

I know very little about building hardware. I know about platforms like Arduino, but I don't know how hard it is to add, say, a WiFi chipset and line-out audio, and/or how to program it to act as an AirPlay receiver.

*) Hey, it's not like Bluetooth shower speakers don't exist.
**) Yes, I'm conflating AirTunes and AirPlay here. AIUI, for video, the protocol is quite different, using Apple's HTTP live streaming protocol. For audio, AirTunes is used, which is an encrypted Apple Lossless audio stream.

Last edited by chucker : 2011-01-23 at 17:03.
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