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View Full Version : Wanted: New Hardware - Squeezebox Portable



d_anders
2006-09-13, 21:31
Ok,

The transporter is cool.

But for those of us, "keep the place running" and "help you grow, so you can also work on other things", like the "transporter", folks...throw us a new bone.

Squeezebox Portable

Minimum Feature Set:

1. Same functionality as Squeezebox 3
with mini-usb (instead of ethernet)
with Wifi (same as Squeezebox 3)

2. Lithium Ion Battery

3. LCD Screen (it's time; needed to support battery and wifi)

4. Updated User Input/Buttons to support portable version (you guys can figure it out).

5. Mini or Micro SD Flashrom Slot
Note: For additional buffering.
Note: For inline storage, yes, I'm going there, get over it.

POINT: Squeezebox needs to become a full portable media player with it's own storage. I love the interface. It should also work on it's own internal storage without having to stream from PC, NAS, or Squeezenetwork.

Nice to have:

1. Some built-In Flashrom (same as 5)

2. Can't get over internal storage? Then support Online Storage lockers...you've been looking into this anyway....

Can't do it??:

The squeezebox 4 should have a least support a lithium ion battery to suppport some amount of portable usage.

Time to partner...zune and other devices are going to extend media center environments...

seafoxx
2006-09-13, 22:31
great idea.

im moving my squeezebox twice a day from living room to bathroom and back. already thinking about buying a second a/c adaptor so i only have to move the box. btw: have to walk back at least 2 times a week because of forgetting the remote control. a "power" ans "play" button would be the minimum features...

Paul_B
2006-09-13, 23:20
Can't see any new hardware for a few months what with the launch of the Transporter. But then maybe we'll see:

- SB4
- SB Boombox
- Touchscreen (I wish)

mherger
2006-09-13, 23:46
> POINT: Squeezebox needs to become a full portable media player with
> it's own storage. I love the interface. It should also work on it's
> own internal storage without having to stream from PC, NAS, or
> Squeezenetwork.

Ahm... you want a laptop with Softsqueeze's fullscreen skin? :-)

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
SlimString Translation Helper (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

Mark Lanctot
2006-09-14, 06:04
I don't agree with the internal storage part. People knock SlimServer, but it's really the reason why the Squeezebox is so flexible and powerful. I'd be disappointed in something whose feature set is fixed from day 1 and that can't be customized. Plus in terms of storage, why not use the huge capacities offered by hard drives? Why not use the vast untapped computing power of most PCs?

And finally, I don't want to maintain yet another music library for a Squeezebox portable! All that transferring music back and forth and regularly refreshing the internal storage card as I get sick of what's on it will get old really fast.

What would be neat is if the internal storage could be synched to SlimServer over wireless. Perhaps a designated low bitrate subset of your SlimServer library could be transferred over.

I don't see why mini USB instead of Ethernet either. In fact, maybe no wired networking at all would make more sense.

It would be a shame to lose the VFD - even the Roku SoundBridge Radio uses one. However if it was to be battery powered there may be no choice.

Personally I'm looking for more of a Squeezebox boombox with its own speakers but not 100% portable. It could be that there are two potential products here - a Squeezebox boombox and a Squeezebox portable. There are different needs here - internal storage would be absolutely essential in a portable device while it would not be desirable in a boombox still within wireless range. A boombox could likely be plugged in so a VFD could be used while a portable might benefit more from an LCD.

GoCubs
2006-09-14, 07:48
It would be a shame to lose the VFD - even the Roku SoundBridge Radio uses one. However if it was to be battery powered there may be no choice.
How about OLED...

-Greg

aubuti
2006-09-14, 09:08
POINT: Squeezebox needs to become a full portable media player with it's own storage. I love the interface. It should also work on it's own internal storage without having to stream from PC, NAS, or Squeezenetwork.
Sorry if I'm being dense here, but what do you have in mind for the output? If it's portable (battery powered and all) then are you thinking headphones? If so, what's the major advantage you see over existing personal players like Sansa, Rio, or those pod things?

autopilot
2006-09-14, 10:13
d_anders, you are right in that a portable squeezebox/boombox/squeezebox radio is a great idea, and something that many of us are crying out for. Slimdevices are tied up with the Transporter, but i think its the next logical (and good business) step.

But you are soooo wrong about the internal storage issue. Thats not what Slimdevices are about and not what people who buy squeezebox's want. At the end of the day, if i wanted a portable device with onboard storage i would by an iPod. You are missing the whole point.

I dont want multiple compies of my music all of the place, i want a single central server with all my music in high quality lossless form. It's nicer to manage, allows for 'zoneing' you house and syncing players and it's potentially a much cheaper model. I think this is the way forward (along with online storage/subscription services). I would also be interested in seeing how battery life compares between running a HDD and just wifi. A non-HDD device would also be far more robust.

But a portable squeezebox is badly wanted, just look how well the soundbridge radio thing has gone down.

Just in case they are planning one, how about some sugestions for a name? I will start the ball rolling;

'Squeezio' (squeeze/radio, geddit?)
'Squeezebox Radio' (too boring?)
'Squeezebox Lite'

Of course if any of these names are used, i wont charge too much :)

d_anders
2006-09-14, 10:49
1) Ok, inline storage....

I could give up on it, but I think some additional internal memory would allow the unit to buffer a stream for period of time, so that any intermittment drops in network performance could be handled better.

2) Why not a softsqueeze link via a laptop?....laptops are too big...I want a truly portable, put in my pocket, squeezebox that I will listen to with earphones, or super easy to plug into boom boxes, etc....

3) Why not a rio or sandisk device?

Microsoft's ZUNE devices are going to have this. And they will be able to link to media centers and other services via the devices. They will be able to do both inline storage and connect to outside services.

I want Slim Devices to come out with a portable unit to do the same, which should be able to wirelessly connect to slimdevices servers, squeezenetwork, and hopefully online music lockers (via slimservers and more preferably via squeezenetwork).

Name Suggestion: Squeezepak

mrfantasy
2006-09-14, 10:55
If you can do MP3 streaming with a Zune, you could get a lot of what you want by attaching to SlimServer that way. Then if there's some way to write a web interface for it. . .

blkwrx
2006-09-14, 11:02
A portable player would be great but lets not forget that Rio had a great portable audiophile player that still couldn't compete with the iPod. If SlimDevices makes a portable play I would envision it as one that you can plug any usb hd into.

d_anders
2006-09-14, 11:11
If you can do MP3 streaming with a Zune, you could get a lot of what you want by attaching to SlimServer that way. Then if there's some way to write a web interface for it. . .

Perhaps, even with a port of softsqueeze to a pocketpc would do this too.

I'm making the suggestion to "Slim Devices" to consider as one of their next hardware products. They don't make money supporting and developing an opensource environment...they make money by making useful and more capable hardware products that take advantage of a great open source environment...

Mark Lanctot
2006-09-14, 11:26
Taking on the iPod would be corporate suicide.

Microsoft can do it - they can afford to throw $100 million at the market and then say "oh well" at the end of the day when it just doesn't catch on. They're not the type to just say "oh well" and call it quits though, they have the money to be able to enter the market by brute force.

Though I don't know the particulars of Slim Devices' financial situation, I can safely say they don't have the financial clout of Microsoft. ;-)

Everyone who wants an iPod already has one. The holdouts either just hate Apple and everything they do or they just don't want a portable player, period. Slim would only be able to go after the Apple haters. That's a niche within a niche.

bklaas
2006-09-14, 11:44
I think comparing the Squeezeboombox idea (which has been discussed dozens of times on this forum) to an iPod is apples-to-oranges.

My dream goes something like this:

wireless SB3 hardware
T-Ampish kind of thing to drive the speakers
Speakers of reasonable but affordable quality
One electrical cord to power it
Ability to run on batteries (9 Ds, I don't care, just cut the cord)
A case for it all

there'd be a headphone jack, but that's not it's primary purpose. I want it to look like a thumpin' boombox, not a wee tiny ipod.

Personally, I think inline storage would be a major misdirection, but then I want it for carrying into my backyard, still within my slimserver's LAN.

The fact that a device such as this would be largely useless outside of slimserver range probably makes it a sketchy business decision to develop such a product. But I'd buy it.

#!/ben

mrfantasy
2006-09-14, 11:51
I think I want something like this too. I could build it now with an SB3, T-Amp, and speakers (and ideally, a salvaged vintage boombox), but can't figure out how to do it for less than $400-$500. What would be the price point for such a box? I guess you could get the price down by ditching the VFD display (probably would want to for battery life too), and perhaps using some cheaper components (but Slim has a rep to uphold).

It also would work anywhere you can get a Wi-Fi signal if you have access to your SlimServer (perhaps a firmware mod to support SSH tunneling will be necessary?)


I think comparing the Squeezeboombox idea (which has been discussed dozens of times on this forum) to an iPod is apples-to-oranges.

My dream goes something like this:

wireless SB3 hardware
T-Ampish kind of thing to drive the speakers
Speakers of reasonable but affordable quality
One electrical cord to power it
Ability to run on batteries (9 Ds, I don't care, just cut the cord)
A case for it all

there'd be a headphone jack, but that's not it's primary purpose. I want it to look like a thumpin' boombox, not a wee tiny ipod.

Personally, I think inline storage would be a major misdirection, but then I want it for carrying into my backyard, still within my slimserver's LAN.

The fact that a device such as this would be largely useless outside of slimserver range probably makes it a sketchy business decision to develop such a product. But I'd buy it.

#!/ben

bklaas
2006-09-14, 12:15
Boy, I like where you are going with that idea, esp. the built-in tunnelling option via firmware.

Do you know how to deal with the AC-DC thing? Forgive me, I'm an electrical idiot, but isn't providing power with batteries vs. AC a non-trivial issue? Has this been componentized (that a word?) to the point where you can just buy the necessary hardware to be able to switch between the two power sources seamlessly?

I know there's some upstart companies that are now doing fully custom fabrication of cases and the like, so I think it would be possible for someone that wanted to hack a solution together to do it in a reasonably polished manner.

Making something like this is WAY out of my league, but fun to bounce around ideas once in a while.

#!/ben

Mark Lanctot
2006-09-14, 12:30
Do you know how to deal with the AC-DC thing? Forgive me, I'm an electrical idiot, but isn't providing power with batteries vs. AC a non-trivial issue? Has this been componentized (that a word?) to the point where you can just buy the necessary hardware to be able to switch between the two power sources seamlessly?

Yes, this is trivial. Such units are designed internally to run on DC. You merely have to provide an adapter that converts 120 VAC to the required DC voltage.

That's why wall-wart adapters for battery-powered devices usually come in 1.5 V steps for output voltage.

Marc Sherman
2006-09-14, 12:41
bklaas wrote:
>
> My dream goes something like this:
>
> wireless SB3 hardware
> T-Ampish kind of thing to drive the speakers
> Speakers of reasonable but affordable quality
> One electrical cord to power it
> Ability to run on batteries (9 Ds, I don't care, just cut the cord)
> A case for it all
>
> there'd be a headphone jack, but that's not it's primary purpose. I
> want it to look like a thumpin' boombox, not a wee tiny ipod.

Yes. YES!

One final thing I'd like to add to this wishlist is some buttons. It
doesn't necessarily need the full suite of buttons from the remote
(perhaps you could drop the number keys, if buttons onboard raise the
cost), but at least some of the buttons to allow control without the
remote. This would fit the boom-box market well, and also allow this
device to serve well as a clock-radio, too.

- Marc

bklaas
2006-09-14, 12:53
Such units are designed internally to run on DC. You merely have to provide an adapter that converts 120 VAC to the required DC voltage.


But is the existing squeezebox hardware designed to run on DC? If not, could it be converted to run on DC easily? I guess I was thinking in terms of leveraging existing hardware (either by Slim or by an enterprising modder).

#!/ben

blkwrx
2006-09-14, 12:56
But is the existing squeezebox hardware designed to run on DC? If not, could it be converted to run on DC easily? I guess I was thinking in terms of leveraging existing hardware (either by Slim or by an enterprising modder).

#!/ben

Yes, 5vdc.

bklaas
2006-09-14, 12:56
One final thing I'd like to add to this wishlist is some buttons. It
doesn't necessarily need the full suite of buttons from the remote
(perhaps you could drop the number keys, if buttons onboard raise the
cost), but at least some of the buttons to allow control without the
remote. This would fit the boom-box market well, and also allow this
device to serve well as a clock-radio, too.

- Marc

What if there was just a slot in the case to put the remote? I know that doesn't look as polished as having onboard buttons, but I'm keen on not reinventing things (you can tell I come from the Linux school of thought). Of course, now with the transporter there is the possibility of squeezeboom box not only having on-board controls but a BIG HONKIN' KNOB as well.

love knobs. love 'em.
#!/ben

kdf
2006-09-14, 13:03
Quoting bklaas <bklaas.2e54dn1158263701 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> Mark Lanctot;136222 Wrote:
>> Such units are designed internally to run on DC. You merely have to
>> provide an adapter that converts 120 VAC to the required DC voltage.
>>
>
> But is the existing squeezebox hardware designed to run on DC? If not,
> could it be converted to run on DC easily?

it runs on 5V DC already. It's the current draw that makes it
impractical for batteries. You could mod up a series stack of 3 or 4
D cells (depends on if it will run at 4.5 and/or accept as high as 6V
in) and see how long it lasts. I expect the power hungry VFD would
have to go.
-k

Mark Lanctot
2006-09-14, 13:09
But is the existing squeezebox hardware designed to run on DC? If not, could it be converted to run on DC easily? I guess I was thinking in terms of leveraging existing hardware (either by Slim or by an enterprising modder).

#!/ben

As blkwrx said, 5 V DC. Note you couldn't do this with standard A-C-D batteries, the closest you could come is 4.5 V.

BTW the device is not entirely DC, I believe the VFD requires AC so there's an inverter.

The power supply is 2 A. At first I was going to say that's a fairly heavy demand for a battery but look here:

http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/WilliamCruz.shtml

A single D cell has a capacity of 15 A*h. That means it could power a Squeezebox for 7 hours, and a Squeezebox doesn't draw a full 2 A. Not bad, provided it was rechargeable. Use 4 of them as in a typical boombox and you might have enough power to spare for speakers.

On second thought, my electrical theory is a bit rusty, but when you connect batteries in series to increase the voltage I seem to recall that the current rating is only as high as any one battery in that series. To increase the current capacity you have to connect them in parallel which does not increase the voltage.

kdf
2006-09-14, 13:14
Quoting Mark Lanctot
<Mark.Lanctot.2e552n1158264601 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:


> A single D cell has a capacity of 15 A*h. That means it could power a
> Squeezebox for 7 hours, and a Squeezebox doesn't draw a full 2 A. Not
> bad!

Also highly theoretical. Battery life isn't linear. Draw a
consistently higher current you may find that it lasts less than the
stated Ah. There can sometimes be sweet-spots, plus the voltage drops
over time. This can mean the device drops off before the battery is
used up, or the device draws more than the usual curent and runs the
battery down even faster.
-kdf

Marc Sherman
2006-09-14, 13:17
bklaas wrote:
>
> What if there was just a slot in the case to put the remote? I know
> that doesn't look as polished as having onboard buttons, but I'm keen
> on not reinventing things (you can tell I come from the Linux school of
> thought).

Then they'd need two IR receivers -- one in the recessed slot, and a
second out in the open for regular remote usage. If that's workable, and
makes things easier/cheaper to build, it's fine by me.

> Of course, now with the transporter there is the possibility
> of squeezeboom box not only having on-board controls but a BIG HONKIN'
> KNOB as well.
>
> love knobs. love 'em.
> #!/ben

Well, yeah, I'd love the transporter knob on a squeezeboombox, too, but
I was assuming that the knob was one of the things that differentiated
the transporter. Is the transporter knob clickable? If so, I'd love it
on the squeezeboombox even more, because for the clock-radio
application, it'd make the perfect snooze button.

- Marc

Mark Lanctot
2006-09-14, 13:20
Also highly theoretical. Battery life isn't linear. Draw a
consistently higher current you may find that it lasts less than the
stated Ah. There can sometimes be sweet-spots, plus the voltage drops
over time. This can mean the device drops off before the battery is
used up, or the device draws more than the usual curent and runs the
battery down even faster.

Hmm, good point. It would be nice to keep the VFD but as GoCubs Greg and wikipedia mentions, a high-intensity OLED might be in order.

The data did originally come from Duracell - I'm sure they wanted to be as optimistic as scientifically possible. ;-)

Also wireless cards suck a lot of power as well - otherwise my laptop wouldn't have so many darn settings to keep it at low power or powered down entirely.

kdf
2006-09-14, 13:21
Quoting Marc Sherman <msherman (AT) projectile (DOT) ca>:


> Is the transporter knob clickable?

yup. it serves the same function as pressing the right arrow.
-k

Marc Sherman
2006-09-14, 13:25
kdf wrote:
>
>> Is the transporter knob clickable?
>
> yup. it serves the same function as pressing the right arrow.

Oooooh. I want one. I'm no audiophile, so not $1999 worth, but I really
want one. :)

- Marc

Marc Sherman
2006-09-14, 13:29
Marc Sherman wrote:
>
> Oooooh. I want one. I'm no audiophile, so not $1999 worth, but I really
> want one. :)

Oh, um, and a pony.

- Marc

kdf
2006-09-14, 13:32
Quoting Mark Lanctot
<Mark.Lanctot.2e55rn1158265501 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:


> Hmm, good point. It would be nice to keep the VFD but as GoCubs Greg
> and wikipedia mentions, a high-intensity OLED might be in order.
>

Then again, consider that we're tlaking about wifi, so it's a case of
being movable rather than entirely wireless. In that case, one option
could be a very low power mode. Unplug it and the battery keeps the
memory, wifi, audio processor and headphone output going. Killing all
else will save battery life. Plugging back in will restore full power
without missing a beat and start recharging. You probably wouldn't
have to worry about 7 hours of life. 2 would be enough to mow the
lawn, do some dusting, etc. Other times, just plug it into one of
several power adaptors around the house.

-k

Marc Sherman
2006-09-14, 13:35
kdf wrote:
>
> Then again, consider that we're tlaking about wifi, so it's a case of
> being movable rather than entirely wireless. In that case, one option
> could be a very low power mode. Unplug it and the battery keeps the
> memory, wifi, audio processor and headphone output going. Killing all
> else will save battery life. Plugging back in will restore full power
> without missing a beat and start recharging. You probably wouldn't
> have to worry about 7 hours of life. 2 would be enough to mow the
> lawn, do some dusting, etc. Other times, just plug it into one of
> several power adaptors around the house.

Just for the record, I just spent $2500 on an electrician to provide
power to my new deck and tool shed, so I'd still buy one of these even
if it doesn't run on batteries. :)

- Marc

paltomare
2006-09-14, 13:41
My wish list items for SB 4:

1 Internal, swapable hardrive(s) w/raid
2. USB port for external hardrive
3. Direct internet audio streaming, eliminate the need for SqueezeNetwork
4. Internal CD drive for ripping, playing, maybe even writing.
5. Video port for optional on-screen display

funkstar
2006-09-14, 13:48
My wish list items for SB 4:

1 Internal, swapable hardrive(s) w/raid
2. USB port for external hardrive
3. Direct internet audio streaming, eliminate the need for SqueezeNetwork
4. Internal CD drive for ripping, playing, maybe even writing.
5. Video port for optional on-screen display

not a very Slim device that one. So it's basically a SqueezeBox and a PC in the same box? i'd be very surprised if it happens and i think it would be a mistake too. (that is just my opinion though). Perhaps teaming with a third party to produce an off the shelf SlimServer box (like they have done with Infrant with their NAS) then that is OK.

But as a replacement for the SB3? forget it.

bklaas
2006-09-14, 13:56
My wish list items for SB 4:

1 Internal, swapable hardrive(s) w/raid
2. USB port for external hardrive
3. Direct internet audio streaming, eliminate the need for SqueezeNetwork
4. Internal CD drive for ripping, playing, maybe even writing.
5. Video port for optional on-screen display

This device already exists. Buy a PC with a CD burner and a soundcard that can output to a stereo. That's what you're asking for.

d_anders
2006-09-14, 16:07
I like the other suggestions on this thread too, and I believe there is merit for them too, but I'm still going to stick to my suggestion of a portable squeezebox.

A dockable portable squeezbox could plug into a boom box.

I'm still thinking a portable squeezebox with a lcd screen with lithium ion batteries, with a headphone jack that supports wifi is a good idea. Hot Spots are popping up everywhere, and taking this on the go would be great.

If slimdevices doesn't go in the portable direction, I would like a least a good port of softsqueeze for PocketPC/Smartphone Windows Mobile 5. This would meet a lot of the same criteria, just not as elegant.

There are a number of phones out on the market, some with wifi and evdo that could connect to home based networks and squeezebox network (pandora on the go).

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile.

paltomare
2006-09-14, 21:36
Mobility would be cool, just not high on my priority list currently. The PC option mentioned above is too cumbersome, I'm looking to break the connection to my computer. In looking around for a device with the options I'm intersted in I came across the Escient and the Olive units. Anyone have an opinion about these besides the fact that they're quite expensive, but then again the Transporter is close to that price point too.

For now my little old SB1 is working just fine.

aubuti
2006-09-14, 21:44
The Olive units have been discussed in the forums before, including posts by 1 or 2 former Olive users. Do a search and you'll find them. The overall sentiment seemed to be overpriced and a system that is overly closed: it's said that you can't even make a backup of the Olive hard drive, except with some proprietary Olive format. I haven't heard anything about the Escient products.

d_anders
2006-09-19, 22:36
As of this posting, 629 views...not bad.

Hey, SlimDevices...something grabbed some attentions...I wondered what?

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile.

P.S. Yes, this was a shameless "bump".

danbrew
2006-09-20, 17:26
As a relative newcomer to the SlimDevice world, I'll add my two cents... the reason I bought the SB was to have ONE copy of my music that I could use in my bedroom. If I'm sitting in my computer room I'll just use the speakers on the PC... but I wanted the option to bring the tunes to the audio system in the bedroom. It works just fine - perfect for me. I can browse all of my local music and I'm also using Rhapsody, so it's a pretty neat solution.

I remember when SB1 came out - I recall thinking at the time how cool it was and I thought about buying then, but didn't for some reason - can't remember why at the moment, but seem to distantly recall it was a technical issue of sorts that I had a beef with. I'm glad I waited and came back - the SB3 rocks.

Anyway, my $0.02.

Michaelwagner
2006-09-21, 01:43
call me old fashioned, but I'd rather have an SB with built-in homeplug support. Take the same $50 they put into the wireless card and put it into a homeplug chip instead.

Since I have to plug the SB in anyways to the power, and again to the stereo, it's no-way-wireless, so give up on the wireless and go instead with (or at least give me the option of) homeplug.

carp
2006-09-21, 03:16
My wish is a really "slim" Squeezebox:

- small
- (W)LAN
- synchronisable (automatically) with an already running Squeezebox
- no display

This would let me hear the same music in every room I want as I already have a stereo in the workroom, bedroom and kitchen. I could simply connect this little Squeezybox to any of the stereos as an additional source of music. IMHO A display is not necessary in this case.

Of course, this could be on the lower end in price (in contrast to the Transporter which is a great product, too, but is not geared to me).