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View Full Version : Why should I return my Roku Soundbridge?



Ben Galanti
2005-03-16, 19:43
A few weeks back, I came across a Roku Soundbridge M1000 for a good
price at Best Buy. I then ordered a wired Squeezebox1 for comparison.
From various reviews and things I've read, I was really expecting to
prefer the Squeezebox, but that hasn't been the case...

My setup is an 800 Mhz G4 Mac with 1.25 GB of RAM as the serving
machine. I had both boxes wired to a bridged 802.11g router. I don't
have any 802.11b hardware, so the network should be getting 15-20
megabits per second, or so. Which should be plenty of bandwidth. I have
a relatively small music library (1000 songs or so) in iTunes, mostly
as 160 kbs AAC files.

The Soundbridge connected up to the iTunes share without problem, and
played the AAC files great. No skipping or anything. I suspect it's a
combination of the client side AAC decoding and the deeper buffer, but
it just worked like it was supposed to. The Squeezebox, on the other
hand, has one or two dropouts per song. It will pretty much always drop
when the playlist half of the slimserver webpage refreshes. That's
even using the default skin. I've tried the 5.4.0, 5.4.1 nightlies, and
6.0 nightlies and none of them helped. The 6.0 ones were horrible, lots
of dropouts, and accessing the slimserver webpages was very slow and
caused frequent dropouts.

I think all of this is due to server load, but I'm not about to get a
new computer just for a Squeezebox. iTunes manages to stream using 2-3%
CPU, while the Perl process grabs about 15-20% CPU (with 3-4% more for
mov123) whie streaming to the Squeezebox. The CPU usage spikes even
more when the webpages refresh. Even with the player stopped, if there
is a song with a long title showing, Perl uses 10% of the CPU. Is
Slimserver really just that much more of a resource hog?

I like the Squeezebox interface better in general, but one thing that
bugs me is that I can't seem to get a progress bar and large text at
the same time. The Soundbridge puts the progress info to the right of
the text, so it's always there, regardless of text size.

I know the general low opinion of Roku around here, and I'd like to
support SlimDevices, but I'm not going to by a product that doesn't
work as well for me. Honestly, I doubt I'd use Slimserver with the Roko
anyway, since all I'm really interested in is AAC and MP3 playback.

I'm hoping this may be all user error, but I'm coming to the end of my
30 day return period for both boxes, and need to decide here soon. Any
suggestions? Thanks!

Ben Galanti
ben (AT) galanti (DOT) org

Ben Sandee
2005-03-16, 19:57
My opinion -- return them both and wait for a SB2. If SB2 doesn't
work for you can return it and go for the Roku since it seems to work
better for you than SB1.

Before you do that though, try the recent nightlies for slimserver 6.0
(beta 2 if it's out by then) -- they've improved dramatically even in
the past few days. My server is less powerful than yours and it's
hovering at 1-2% cpu usage with two slimp3's going (no sb but SB2 on
the way). SB2 has a much larger buffer too so I can't imagine you'd
get dropouts with it.

Ben

Sally Shears
2005-03-19, 06:54
Ben, there's somethign wrong here... It's not the machine capacity...
I have SlimServer 5.4.x running just fine on much less hardware (G3
300 Mhz with 384k RAM and 802.11b wireless). My music is all MP3. No
problems. For me, these old machines are JUST servers. SlimServer is
usually the only thing running (i.e., I'm not running a browser or
other user application on the server machine).

-- Sally

On Wed, 16 Mar 2005 21:43:20 -0500, Ben Galanti <ben (AT) galanti (DOT) org> wrote:
> My setup is an 800 Mhz G4 Mac with 1.25 GB of RAM as the serving
> machine. I had both boxes wired to a bridged 802.11g router. I don't
> have any 802.11b hardware, so the network should be getting 15-20
> megabits per second, or so. ...
>
> ... The Squeezebox, on the other
> hand, has one or two dropouts per song. It will pretty much always drop
> when the playlist half of the slimserver webpage refreshes. That's
> even using the default skin. I've tried the 5.4.0, 5.4.1 nightlies, and
> 6.0 nightlies and none of them helped.

--
Sally Shears (a.k.a. "Molly")
SallyShears (AT) gmail (DOT) com -or- Sally (AT) Shears (DOT) org
(was sshears (AT) theWorld (DOT) com)